World Beats

“According to Michael Eric Dyson, hip-hop culture is the most explosive, engaging, and controversial form of American pop culture to find global circulation and acclaim in the last quarter century, and is worthy of serious critique and investigation (Dyson, 2004, p. 399). ”  (Prier, 2007).

Hip hop is known for its controversial social critique and for highlighting local and global issues.  The art form began in the 70s in the Bronx and was used to articulate the majority’s feelings toward the poor economic conditions.  Since then it has grown exponentially to reach around the world allowing cultures to localise hip hop and use it as an outlet to express local issues to a broad audience.  The following is from Australian hip hop artist Urthboy and reflects the social attitudes toward local political representatives and the media in Australia.

Australian hip hop artist: Urthboy

Australian hip hop artist: Urthboy

This shows how hip hop has dispersed global borders accelerated by advances in technology, “glocalisation” and hybridisation.  Glocalisation is a term used to describe something that is intended for a global audience but is adapted to a local culture.  This is the case with many things including fast food chains, media outlets and even sports.  The combination of glocalisation and hybridisation has seen local productions of hip hop in Japan, France, Italy and Greece; hip hop as an art form is global, but the content being expressed by each artist is a reflection of their local concerns.

This is just for fun, but also shows some differences between American hip hop culture and Australian hip hop culture.  Warning: offensive content, if you are easily offended please don’t watch this.

Further Reading

Added September 15 2013:  This short video from Keuka College clearly explains the concepts in this blog post.


2 thoughts on “World Beats

  1. This is a pretty good write up, and a good brief discussion of hip hop’s inherently radical political roots, and how that freedom of expression has transcended international borders. Arguably it was a culture born out of the vicious intertwining of racism, sexism and classism aimed at African American, Latino and Chicano communities, so i think this piece hits the nail on the head. Although there is definitely room to expand on it.

    • Thank you for reading and commenting! I agree that it was a culture born from the degradation directed toward these groups of people, I guess it could be seen as something good (like the ability to voice their opinions to those who will listen) coming from something bad (such as the racism, sexism and classism). Hip hop was/is a creative way of doing so. I also agree that I could expand on it 🙂

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