What is folk music, if not a community-centered art form that talks about social and political issues facing an ilk of everyday people, particularly their work conditions?
I'm not trying to say that 50 Cent is a folksinger, I'm just suggesting that these two seemingly different genres have a lot more in common than we tend to think.
Depending on who you ask, Hip Hop shot up in the 1970s or it started back in Africa ... but at any rate, since it's inception, hip hop artists have covered every cultural topic from dealing with life on the block to Racism nationwide and worldwide politics. Hip Hop artists like Run DMC, Public Enemy, and LL Cool J rapped about political and social issues.
Even the Bling culture of today refers to aspects of life in the African-American community.
Where folksingers like Woody Guthrie wrote songs about workers struggling in labor camps, and labor union strikes gone wrong, Rappers like Talib Kweli talk about life in the ghetto, racism, and trying to rise above it all. These topics are stories of struggles faced by the modern worker, be he a dealer or a superstar.
Hip Hop is full of songs protesting racism, the goverment, the cops, and other institutions. Now with a resurgence of political and social rap, hip hop groups like The Blue Scholars and rappers like Kanye West are bringing Folk elements into the forefront of the Rap world.
Hip Hop has its own language, its own styles of dance, its own look, flavor, and feel. Its artists range from slam poets to gangster rappers, but no matter the style, it's always about the community. Which makes it one of the most succesful forms of folk music around.