The Globalization of Hip-Hop

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Our first hip-hop show will look at the culture/phenominom domestically. This, our second hip-hop show, will answer a challenge posed by listener leonplays on our blog.

hip hop france

A French b-boy breakdances in downtown Paris [Hugo L’Eglise /Flickr]

I was interested in the idea of hip-hop music as a kind of cross-cultural glue for the marginalized immigrant experience…Europe, Brazil, Asia…hip hop music has been taken in by everyone, with many different interpretations but a common sense of identity. Can an Arabic 18 yr old in a French ghetto identify more with 2-Pac or Snoop Dogg than French cultural icons? Why do oppressed people all over identify with the story of Black American ideas of struggle and success? What message is mainstream hip-hop music selling to the world? I would love a future show on these kinds of questions. Are you up for it Chris?


Oh, we’re up for it alright. Calling all b-boys and b-girls from Ukraine, Toulouse, and Tokyo…

Dawn-Elissa Fischer

Hip-Hop Scholar

PhD Candidate, University of Florida

Education Outreach Coordinator, The Hip-hop Archive

Bakari Kitwana

Author of The Hip-Hop Generation and Why White Kids Like Hip-Hop

Former Executive editor of The Source

Rushay Booysen

Manager, South African hip-hop group Jbux

Writer, Africa’s Gateway, biggest online site for African hip-hop

DJ, The Present Testament on Bay FM Sundays 3-6pm South African time

Loira Limbal

Co-director, Estilo Hip-Hop, a documentary about Latin American hop-hop and social change

Hip-hop DJ (DJ Laylo)

Alain-Philippe Durand

Author, Black, Blanc, Beur: Rap Music and Hip-hop Culture in the Francophone World

Professor, University of Rhode Island

Thanks to awurrlu for recommending Prof. Durand

Update, 2/16/05, 1:35 pm

Hi all. We’re picking this show back up after letting it simmer for a bit. Some great suggestions on the blog, including from our own SamRMadden. Sam, I will try to let people experience the show for themselves. Also, I’ve given the show a slightly sexier title based on my new understanding/thinking about the subject.


The hip-hop generation seems like a walking contradiction to a lot of people because of its ability to make sense of multiple realities at the same time, as it moves into the nineties and becomes more of a commodity, and no longer a tool for resistance.

Bakari Kitwana


What makes hip-hop special is that wherever you are in the world anyone can add their voice to this equation and effectively communicate to this imagined community all over the world what their protest is, what their exploitation is.

Dawn-Elissa Fischer


The reason we heard so much R&B across the world [during the nineties] was that these artists, whether their words were radical or not, their bodies symbolized an opposition to white supremacy or american imperialism or classism. it was a coded, maybe more passive, way of playing resistance right under the nose of the imperialist powers.

Dawn-Elissa Fischer


Latin America is a huge, diverse region… there are some places where the slant is more towards entertainment, some where it’s more towards politics… this is the idea of fun even if the beat isnt all super danceable or super pop, the idea that it’s moving you. That line of entertainment as being something that’s danceable versus political is very blurry, you can’t draw it, it’s not so black and white.

Loira Limbal


Hip-hop has bridged that [large, diverse language] divide [in south africa], it has been existing between different cultures even within our country … When i started listening to hip-hop seventeen years ago (Public Enemy) a lot of people saw me as this foreign kid who can’t relate to local culture. And with this bridging between the older generation and the newer a lot of older people don’t understand hip-hop, [they’d] always think that kids are trying to be american. Within the last couple of years kids have been doing it in their native way, using tribal sounds, making it more African (or South African) so that the older generation could understand there are issues in our society and we are relaying those messages in our own languages and our own dialect.

Rushay Booysen


(The net effect of the song ‘Thank You’) The ultimate question is when are we going to wake up about what is happening in current-day South Africa?

Rushay Booysen


You find a lot a lot of kids sitting in the backyards on their PCs recording their own voices and creating hip-hop music in the community. ‘Mr Nobody’ is a track about all the homeless people and the economic divide which exists in south africa… The city [politics] have changed from being a white and black issue to a rich and poor issue. Just walking at night you see kids sleeping on the corners sniffing glue, with no hope… [Mr. Nobody–the song] is a track that reflects about that, asking when these leaders with shiny coats are going to empower these people at the bottom.

Rushay Booysen


(On hip-hop songs having prophesied the riots and the causes framing them) The French rappers have been saying it over and over, and now here we are with the result of that.

Alain-Phillippe Durand

Related Content

  • I recommend, in terms of international hip hop from immigrant communities: From France — Zebda . From Denmark — Outlandish from the Netherlands — Brain Power.

    The first two are the best.

  • esprit

    Great site and interesting topics. I would really enjoy seeing the discussion of hip-hop carry over to an international theme. Northern Africa and Turkey have sent continental Europe some very talented muscians. (I am not French but have lived here for sometime now.) I think it would be great to investigate the continental European scene and discover the political and social messages of the hip-hop greats such as AKHENATON, Stormy Bugsy,TONI-L, Kmaro. During the recent outburst of violence in the suburbs throughout all of France, the media felt puzzled and it seemed that these hip-hop artists were sollicited by every newspaper and TV channel to convey what the roots of this movement were, paradoxically their music has clearly conveyed the message for years.

  • Pingback: World Wide Wood()

  • nother

    One of the best live concerts I’ve experienced was a dancehall concert in Negril Jamaica. It was off the beach, away from the steel drums and away from the tourists. This show had all the great dancehall DJs and it went on till sunrise. As I stood there (danced there) absorbing energy from the artists and the crowd, I realized a couple of things. First, that dancehall which began in the mid-eighties, is here to stay – it is no fad. Second, I realized they were rapping up there. I could still hear the essence of roots reggae, elements of that great heartbeat rhythm and almost sentimental lyrics of consciousness. Now though, these descendents of Marley were fusing rap and turntables into the music. The black youth of Jamaica has left Roots Reggae in its dust the way the black youth of America has left Jazz in its dust – both left to be homogenized and commercialized by the white establishment.

    Some of the famous dancehall DJ’s are: Bounty Killer, Sizzla, Lady Saw, Elephantman, Beenie Man, Buju Banton, Capleton, Shabba Ranks, Sean Paul, Antony B, Luciano, Yellowman and Shaggy.

    With Chris’s Jamaican connections, I hope ROS can find a good Jamaican representative for this show.

  • nother

    To follow up, there is a good article in the Sunday NY Times about reggaetón, which they decribe as: “a Spanish-speaking hybrid of Jamaican dancehall reggae, Trinidadian soca and American hip-hop.”

    To quote from the article:

    “it is now the most distinctive and quickest-spreading sound in popular music.”

  • LeeJudt

    “Can an Arabic 18 yr old in a French ghetto identify more with 2-Pac or Snoop Dogg than French cultural icons?”

    Yes, he can. He can than go out and torch cars, schools, and daycare centers.

  • Some possible sources:

    Patrick Neate, author of “Where You’re At: Notes From the Frontline of a Hip-Hop Planet”

    Pascale Lanfranchi, producer of the compilation album “The Best of International Hip-hop” is also a hip-hop journalist.

    Vanessa Altman-Siegal, author of the article “Raw Like Sushi: Hip Hop Culture in Japan”

    Martin Edlund, author of the article “The World Is Phat: Reggaeton, grime, baile funk, and the globalization of hip-hop”

    and Abra Johnson, author of the paper “Globalization of Popular Culture: Hip-Hop culture shaping and being shaped by pop culture in New Zealand, Japan, Cuba, and the U.S.”

  • Another source, Alain-Philippe Durand, editor of “Black, blanc, beur: Rap music and hip-hop culture in the francophone world”

  • nother

    Hi Robin- Your hip-hop shows have me thinking about the genre more than ever before, so thanks. Your sincere requests for input (and this applys to all ROS topics) gives me an excuse to research and explore the connections I feel. If you feel that one of those connections could actually be relevent to a show – great, if not, no problem – I’m having fun trying!

    A connection I discoverd today as the blizzerd rages outside my window, was Toni Blackman. An excerpt from her bio: An award-winning artist whose steadfast work & commitment to hip-hop led the Dept. of State to bestow the title of U.S. Hip Hop Ambassador upon her, serving in Senegal, Ghana, Botswana, & Swaziland. Sharing the stage w/ Erykah Badu, Mos Def, The Roots, Wu, GURU, Me’Shell, Sarah McLachlan, Sheryl Crow, & Rickie Lee Jones. Her first book, Inner-Course released in 2003 (Villard/Random House). In 2006, she tours Asia w/ Jazz @ Lincoln Center as one of the first hip-hop acts to ever be invited.

    Founder of Freestyle Union, a cipher workshop that uses freestyling as a tool to encourage social responsibility, now focuses on I RHYME LIKE A GIRL–a female-centered effort. Blackman’s work holds great influence in the world of hip hop activism.

  • Kenyanpundit

    You should definitely look at African Hip-hop as well. Lots going on there. Two great resources: and

  • Check out this Reznet article on Native American hip-hop. And you have to talk to Patrick Neate, who traveled around Africa looking for hip hop for his book Where You’re At. Maybe someone at Hip Hop Blogs would want to participate.

  • Oops, someone pointed to Patrick Neate. D’oh!

  • dolma

    Michael Eric Dyson is a hip hop expert. He wrote a great book on Tupac. I saw him speak in Philly and he was incredible. He would be a great guest. I looked up his contact info and found:


  • nother

    I came across a source that speaks directly to the connection of hip-hop and that 18 year old Arabic youth that Leonplays introduced. Ted Swedenburg from the Department of Anthropology at the University of Arkansas writes about the growing atmosphere of “Islamophobia” that we have seen in England, France (and now Australia). The title of his writing is –

    Islamic hip-hop vs. Islamophobia: Aki Nawaz, Natacha Atlas, Akhenaton

    A quote from his conclusion:

    “Cultural-political interventions like those of Aki Nawaz, Natacha Atlas and Akhenaton are likely to continue to be of critical importance for young Muslims, as part of larger efforts to create new “spaces” for multi-faceted Islamic identities and as weapons in the battles against racist violence and Islamophobic discrimination.â€?

    It’s fascinating and ironic to think that the “dangerous� music of hip-hop could be a conduit for tolerance in this growing climate of religious tension around the world. It gives a space for Muslim and Christian youth to come together outside of established social constructs, in the same way white and black youth have forged common hip-hop ground in the US. It’s also easy to forget the huge Muslim influence on hip-hop in the U.S., Eric B & Rakim, Wu-Tang Clan, Nas, Mobb Deep, Mos Def, and A Tribe Called Quest, are all Muslim or have Muslim members in their group.

    There is a cathartic nature to hip-hop, through mind (liberating lyrics) and body (sexually infused dancing), that speaks directly to the inherent alienation of youth everywhere. The “grown-ups,â€? don’t like it, and that’s the just the way the youth likes it. Hip-hop has carried the baton of jazz in that respect, “By and large, jazz has always been like the kind of a man you wouldn’t want your daughter to associate with.” Duke Ellington

    One more international connection that may seem obvious but I’d like to emphasize, is Duke’s idea that “it don’t mean a thing if it ain’t got that swing.â€? Hip hop is simply the best music to dance to at the climax of a party – in any country. The genesis of hip-hop was block parties in Jamaica which then moved to block parties in Brooklyn. In the same way the genesis of jazz was the “block partiesâ€? in Congo square in New Orleans. One thing I know we can all relate to, from Senegal to San Antonio, is a good party! So that’s the metaphor I like to imagine when we discuss hip-hop, a block party where everyone is invited. Think back to the best parties you’ve attended, parties with a smorgasbord of people. You were wearing something cool, unique, you felt confident. You did a lot of dancing…at some point you had a stimulating conversation with a stranger, learned something new. You danced for an intense moment with another stranger…somebody said something off-color, someone was offended, you dance some more…someone yells “the cops are hereâ€?…your mad…why do they want to keep us from having a good time! Turn the music back up, Let’s party!

  • anhhung18901

    In response to: “Can an Arabic 18 yr old in a French ghetto identify more with 2-Pac or Snoop Dogg than French cultural icons?” (as asked by leonplays and responded to by LeeJudt), I find this an interesting question and answer. I think that a lot of the reason why Arabs in France rioted was because the French do not like to assimilate other cultures or people. Thus, not only were these Arab teens not considered French, but they were also discouraged to fully embrace their heritage. However, the gang related culture of rap music isn’t that welcoming either. Why does rap music seem more welcoming to Arab youth than French culture?

    I would like to back up nother’s assertion that “Islamophobiaâ€? has spread to Australia. I lived in Western Sydney from September 2001 to November 2002, and I met a lot of people who invited me into their homes. Many of the true blue Aussies were very paranoid of all the Arabs in Western Sydney. They thought that the Arabs would take over… I guess September 11, 2001 has something to do with that concern.

    From another perspective on how people are trying to infiltrate rap music culture, Dr. Karen Bettez Halnon ( of Penn State University studied what she called “deviance vacations” where people of higher socioeconomic status would assume lower socioeconomic identities for a short time for kicks and giggles and then return to their higher status. I am not sure what is considered a higher socioeconomic status — poor immigrant youth or poor urban African American (the core base of rap music) — but can these immigrant youth truly assume the rap lifestyle? Can they get the proper rap credentials? I think that Dr. Halnon would add an interesting point-of-view to this discussion. Please invite her to join in an “Open Source” program about this topic.

  • anhhung18901


    The BBC is reporting about a play — (“The Truth About Your Father”) by the British Muslim theatre company Khayaal — that is about a mother explaining to her son about his father who was a suicide bomber.

    “There is a point in the play where she really wants to convey to her son that he is not the son of some alien monster – he is begot of a human being, who was a very real and at one time a very loving person,” she [Eleanor Martin, the actress who plays the mother] said.

    “But she absolutely condemns the act, 100%, and she’s determined to make sure her son understands how to see the warning signs in himself, and make sure he doesn’t end up taking that route.”

    This fits into the more general theme of Islam and hip-hop, but I think it could garner its own “Open Source” show. However, I felt that it was germane to this thread.

  • bdminer

    I just spent a semester in Durban, South Africa. There is a young group there called the Big Idea. They are starting to become quite well known in SA. I highly recomend checking out them. Also, a really interesting off shoot of hip hop in south africa is a style called kwaito. Young kids from the townships have combinded rapping in their own mother tounges, electric african beats, and american style hip hop. Some great groups to check out are Benda Fassie, and Bongo Mafin.

  • zzAstier

    Check out Danny Hoch. He has great insight about the globalizing hip-hop culture. He wrote/directed/produced a play call “Jails, Hospitals and Hip Hop” that is worth cheching out (now on DVD); I heard him speak recently, and he has a very exciting and positive view about hip hop as a global POLITICAL movement.

  • What makes hip hop so interesting is how people that come from difficult neighborhoods can creatively use words, fusing their background and intellect, to write stimulating and relevant poetry. It’s clear that several country’s are many times worse than the worst American ghetto. I could see how some war torn countries may be the cradle for more international hip hop talent. I’m sad to say I don’t know of any international hip hop. I hope to hear Chris and his guests drop some new names.

  • isaiah

    Please check out Wayne Marshall,, a fine performer and communicator with pertinent insights into the Jamaican connection.

  • Among Indians (Gandhi, not Sitting Bull) there are two notions of hip hop. One is the one practiced in India, which appeals only to the upper middle-class kids and is modelled on the top40 type hip-hop of the US. The other is much more interesting- it comes from the UK Indian immigrant population and is much more edgy, novel and generated from the immigrant experience.

  • samrmadden

    For your next show try not to dig so deep on hip-hop’s past and what it symbolizes, but show and tell what it is using the characteristics of it. Let the people get inside the show and expirience this themselves.

  • Gin (the alcohol so many like to indulge in) . . . . and Hip-Hop

    Why would anyone think of putting them together into the same discussion? I suggest that it is because Hip-Hop is, so far, following the same “trajectory� through our culture.

    Today when we think of Gin we associate it with “Yuppies� or “Posh� bars or especially with the sophisticated British who greatly enjoy its pleasures. But when Gin was first introduced to Britain, it was derided as the drink of poor people and the British Parliament was, at one point, even considering banning it all together because of the harm that the ruling class thought that it was doing to their culture.

    From Wikipedia “Gin became very popular in England after the government created a market for poor quality grain that was unfit to be used in brewing beer by allowing unlicensed gin production and at the same time imposing a heavy duty on all imported spirits. Thousands of gin-shops sprang up all over England. By 1740 the production of gin had increased to six times that of beer and because of its cheapness it became extremely popular with the poor. Of the 15,000 drinking establishments in London over half were gin-shops. Beer maintained a healthy reputation as it was often safer to drink the brewed ale than unclean plain water, but gin was blamed for various social and medical problems, and may have been a factor in the high death rate that caused London’s previously increasing population to remain stable. The reputation of the two drinks was illustrated by William Hogarth in his engravings Beer Street and Gin Lane (1751). This negative reputation survives today in the English language; terms such as “gin-mills” to describe disreputable bars or calling drunks “gin-soaked”. The Gin Act 1736 imposed high taxes on retailers but led to riots in the streets. The prohibitive duty was gradually reduced and finally abolished in 1742. The Gin Act 1751 however was more successful. It forced distillers to sell only to licensed retailers and brought gin-shops under the jurisdiction of local magistrates.â€?

    I propose that, in a cultural sense, Hip-Hop is the Gin of the age of Globalization – began with the poor, is spreading rapidly through-out societ(ies)y and many of those portions of societies ills are blamed upon it. But, will it ever reach the level of ubiquity / respectability that Gin has? Will a future President of the US ever proudly admit to having Hip-Hop on his iPod? Or, will it ever get to a point where Hip-Hop is so popular with a certain subset of the US culture that it will be a problem that the US President does not have Hip-Hop on his iPod?

  • Robin

    Winston – Personally, I think it’s already a problem that the US President doesn’t have hip-hop on his iPod.

  • Vanessa

    Hey guys,

    As you know breakdancing and graffiti are two components of hip-hop. I’ve got a couple recommendations for you:

    TATS CRU is a Bronx based graffiti crew. They’ve been around forever. Now they’ve parlayed their skills into spraying ads and the like. It’s really interesting. They also do murals workshops with school kids. Most of the guys in the crew are from the Bronx but two of them are from Germany. They met back in the day when American graffiti was just starting to seep over into Europe. They were at MIT as visiting artists and I met with them. They’re really smart dudes.

    They told me about this website where graffiti artists from all around the world can share their work virtually. It’s basically a virtual community of global graffiti artists:

    Also, an online game where you can spray subway trains from around the world:

    I also wanted to share a cool story from when I was volunteering at this afterschool program called Computer Clubhouse. The kids there are into breakdancing and are always practicing their moves there. I didn’t know anything about breakdancing but was really curious. Basically, one of the kids schooled me in the ways of breakdancing. He told me about the battles they have in Boston and this virtual community where breakdancers around the world upload videos of their battles. It was really cool to see how this kid had learned so much about media through participating in a breakdancing community. I was also struck by the global scale of it. He was telling me that right now the Koreans are the best breakdancers in the world. He spoke at length about why he thinks they’re the best and what it is about the flow of US culture to Asia that drives these dancers to be so utterly obsessed.

    Tommy Defrantz is a prof at MIT that’s taught a hip-hop class. He’s in Comparative Media Studies and Performance Studies. Let me know if you want his contact info….Vanessa

  • testing the italics thing

    the bold

    and the underlined

  • 2 out 3 anyway thanks Potter

  • we’ll see how I do with italics here…

    Here are some links to Irish Performance Poet Gearoid Mac Lochlainn. There is a brief mention of him in an article on Celts in the current National Geographic. His new book, Stream of Tongues, with poems in Irish Gaelic side by side with English translations includes a CD. The geographic article alludes to there being a hip-hop element to his work though it is not apparent on the NG audio link. In the interview below he talks about the political role of the poet going back to the ancient Irish Bardic tradition. He is credited with taking Irish poetry “back to the streets� those being the streets of Belfast.

    Here is a brief description of Gearoid Mac Lochlainn

    A more in depth interview with Gearoid Mac Lochlainn

    They Danced a poem by Gearoid Mac Lochlainn

    “If anything, as public artists we have a moral duty to challenge the forces that would silence us and threaten our very existence and the use of our language of choice. If the system stinks, the it’s up to us to expose it.â€?

  • and I just have to try the red thing

  • oh well

  • Vanessa,

    I very much enjoyed you graffiti links. Thanks!

  • This site has profiles of Irish Hip Hop artists with pictures, bios, audio (which is an important feature for a musicical topic), and some have short video interviews. I’ve only watched a few of the interviews because on my slow connection they take a long time to download but they are great to watch. They are so cozy and intimate it is like having a chat with an Irish Hip Hop artist in a pub or his Mum’s living room.

  • Here is a link to a press release from the Smithsonian….

    “Hip-Hop Comes to the Smithsonian – Multi-year Initiative to Gather Broad Collection on Hip-Hop Culture and Culminate in Comprehensive Exhibition”

  • been reading some of the comments interesting and alot of it is a road we travelled before im from south africa got into hip hop in high school taught me alot bout everything and im still learning bout it.This is something i typed in 2004 never finished it

    Using hip hop to educate a nation: pre and post South Africa 10 years after democracy

    The pen is mightier than the sword and in my case i discovered it’s the truth, the whole truth and nothing but the truth so help me God! I am going to try and give you a outlook or should i say a personal journey into a art form that has given me an amount of knowledge that my normal school syllabus could never relay

    Unto me and those before me. Im a South African as much as i am a citizen of the globe yet i need to have visas to travel from one place to the other. When u hear South Africa the first thing that comes to mind is apartheid, oppression and other hideous crimes that was committed against people that inhabited the grounds im walking on way before these settlers that ousted the natives. I take it my input is one of the most important coming from this beautiful country as i am that pawn that is drawn from both sides of the line, yes i am that victim that you called coloured (mullato, mixed race, half caste and whatever enduring terms you bestowed upon me) My writing focus on the art of hip hop and its role it played in creating an awareness of issues that has been surfacing in our society. Born and raised in race crazy South Africa I had to go through many phases to discover who i truly am and yes hip hop has been that medium that took me on that discovery trip to discover who I truly am and I hope I can be a vessel manifesting that aspect of the art. The year is 2004 and i have seen a huge influx of hip hop but the influx has done nothing but help promote the negative aspects that is being pushed by media and other conglomerates that knows nothing about this arts beginning and it’s evolvement. I am truly disgusted by what people call hip hop today, has any of these artist ever put a thought to what brainwashing they causing to a multitude of innocent brain cells that needs to be sculptured with positive images. Hip hop for me started out as it did for any kid growing up in the Bronx, Brooklyn or any other spot around the globe the enticement was caused when i heard this rebellion that came with lyrics, lyrics that made me question ills in society, ills in my community, ills in my country, that was what strike me not the cursing but the messages. Hip hop has been that teacher for me telling me to go and find out more about my roots, fast forward the years and we enter a new realm and time frame we call now, its in it most advantageous stage its all over your billboards, your Grammy’s but im shifting your concentration away from the West taking you to the most Southern tip of the African continent, post democratic rule in South Africa politics and hip hop lesson 101.The rule has shifted but not much economic power has been obtained by the poor who is still living in shacks still uneducated due to a lack of funds, while politicians are babbling kids are rhyming in there native and not so native tongues about issues that’s a reflection of their daily lives-boys are learning to fight it out on the dance floor sometimes the dance floor have to be exchanged for hard gravel roads. African hip hop indaba organized yearly by Black noise leader Emile Jansen is such an event created by this former high school teacher to create and awareness of hip hop and its powerful educational manifestation through events like this, kids are motivated to stay away from gangsterism and other crime plagued communities such as the Cape flats, Soweto and countless apartheid projects around the country. I would like to take you on an escorted tour around the Cape flats but for now this publication will have to be that telescope taking you to the forefront of the battlegrounds where flairs and windmills, graffitti and mceein is used in such a manner that it is more progressive than these talks that’s been taking place in parliament for ages. My memory banks seems to flourish with positive pictures drooped against negative lightening the outcome Rapping for democracy pre-democratic voter education featuring Capetonians Prophets of the city that was a revelation for me for millions of other black x’s that could never be placed on a ballot before because of the colour of my skin there skin our skin. I don’t think people have realized the impact that was created globally by this art form we call hip-hop. Have any of those artist that’s exposed so massively through visual media such as Bet, TV thought how they corrupting young kids minds with dreams of Bentley’s, gold plated chains, the only vision they have is to obtain that platinum plated plaques and stand at the Grammy’s to make a mockery of our culture,cos after all it was a culture that was stolen from Africa. I guess the parallels will be drawn between hip hop coming from here and of those coming from America but where do we stop drawing parallel lines when it has been that tool that voiced the disgruntled, oppressed voice of people that was barely literate enough to read between the lines of freedom and enslavement? This is the days of my life riding past corrugated houses, riding past aids, riding past crime trying not to make a dollar but five rand trying to put bread on the table for your family. I am a product of division birthed in a year when the fight for freedom was at its height when people lost their lives trying to stand up against injustice, our voices can so easily be promoted via this art it seems we forgot how much our people had to pay for this free expression. Deciphering lyrics is so more powerful than learning about a foreigner named Jan Van Riebeeck who landed in the Cape of Good hope and brought about an establishment that included the labour of slaves from Malaysia and the natives. I can imagine the distress when people got killed in Soweto that was the year of 76 i wasn’t even conceived into this terrible state of living being forced to speak a language, which happens to be my first language called Afrikaans, today we proudly can announce we have 11 official languages which are all being incorporated into mceeing. Life is a memory u live in it the one moment and the next instance its a dream take P.O.C for instance i can still remember so clearly hearing a rap group rhyming in Afrikaans on national t.v telling us there story of being raised on the cape flats with its drug issues, boldly said this is reality! Im writing this with a smile on my face and a tear in my one eye cos we went from being outkasted in district 6 to being the frontrunners in “the white house”

    “to tell you the truth i went back to my senses i remember when i use to act senseless i felt worthless cos i was programmed made to believe i am no man couldn’t understand until it all clicked and everything came together i saw the lie”-Prophets of the city (roots resurrected)

    Imagine the pain the writer had to endure thinking about going back to his iron coated home after spending time in a plush studio that seems like heaven compare to his resting place? This is the beauty of hip hop don’t u think so? Being able to express yourself and not giving a shit about the politics of the business cos our words are the politics straight from the horses mouth. We just entered the year 2000 not so long ago the computer world was suppose to crash the apocalypse being spoke in your Bible has not happened yet and we still have our “democracy”, a democracy Steve Biko died for Nelson Mandela spent 27 years in prison for. Im in question how we shall use this free speech that we created out of boredom when we decided the singing in the cotton fields was not complexed enough for us to hide the pain through a musical form!

    At times my European blood tries to drown the ideas of a liberated Africa where we would stand together as one not just on the basis of our mother tongue or of the same tribal decent but that we share one common denominator and that is that we have the same African blood flowing through us,thats why we love hip hop.

  • rushay: Thank you very much for your post and your thoughtful view into hip hop in South Africa.

    I am trying to educate myself about world-wide hip hop and have been looking on the internet at hip hop in Ireland and in China. The question I am asking myself is this, If the medium is the message, that is, if the art form itself is basic to the expression, what is global hip hop telling us? What I am seeing is that it is young, it is active and it is rebellious.

    You said “Hip hop has been that teacher for me telling me to go and find out more about my roots� I wonder if you could say more about how hip hop tells you to find your own roots because from what little I know about hip hop it seems like this is happening with artists around the world.

    I just read about a Chinese hip hop artist who calls his style “chinked out� taking the word “chink� which was used as an insult to Chinese people in the west and turning it upside down using it to mean his style incorporates elements of traditional Chinese culture like Chinese Opera. Another Chinese artist uses ancient Chinese poetry in his lyrics (he says they have great rhyme). Chinese dancers mix up break dancing with Kung Fu moves. In Ireland I found hip-hop artists incorporating some elements of traditional Irish poetry, drum rhythms going back to their own Irish tribal roots and their own Irish brand of rebellion.

    In both of these places there has been a history of cultural repression.

    In closing you say, “we share one common denominator and that is that we have the same African blood flowing through us, that’s why we love hip hopâ€?. Hip hop began with African Americans in Bronx and carries an African heritage influence. It also seems to me that it was influenced by the state of cultural repression that African Americans have suffered. I’m wondering if that is why it is so appealing to other people, the Irish & Chinese for example, who have also suffered cultural repression. So I wonder what you think about Irish or Chinese hip hop?

  • Graffiti on the Great Wall of China…

  • Schumolberry

    Was gonna thank Chris for show with Scott Armstrong, but today’s message will have to be on this topic. After reading Rushay, I see I know little re what may be good sounding in hip hop. There’s little I like so far that I’ve heard. There was something in the What the Bleep#!? flick I liked that was kind of low key. I go for subtlety rather than loudness. Someone recommended Outkasts (store only had old CD), but I found not much to the lyrics though the female vocalist interludes were very nice sounding. Tried & Tested by Bruce Cockburn I like. Is there a few-popups site, clearly legible, that goes over a whole lot of hip hop lyrics?

  • rushay: I went to your web page and am listening to your great lyrics right now. Thank You!

  • Free download Scottish Hip Hop, All Time High’s Highland Bling.

  • Here are a few exerpts regarding the dynamic between the Chinese graffiti artists and Corporate sponsors (from the above article about tagging the Great Wall of China).

    From Urban, China’s first free street culture magazine…

    “Eager to capture the imaginations, and pocketbooks, of wealthy urban youth, mega-corporations like Nike, Reebok, and Adidas sponsor Urban. Last year, Nike branded several basketball courts around Shanghai with its ubiquitous swoosh, christening them Nike Parks. Graffiti crews were hired to deck the walls�.

    (this made me cringe. As I explore the world of global hip hop, being a middle age white woman, I sometimes feel like I’m somebody’s Mom checking up on them and I better not let on that I’m interested or the Mom stamp of approval will kill the youthful art form. From what he says, see quote below, street artist Yan is holding his own with the Corporations. But I wonder how popular hip hop can get without losing its edge, Or has it lost its edge? – Corporate interests in the music industry have been shaping the “image” of hip hop for years. Are the underground artists maintaining the Hip Hop spirit? )

    Asian street culture guru and mentor MC Yan…designed a McDonald’s add campaign that will cover ten entire subway trains with graffiti art…

    “I do my own work and I do commercial stuff to support myself,” says Yan. “I always let the corporations know that it’s a package. If they want the image, they have to take the art.”

  • and again from China in celebration of Mao’s 110th birthday….

    ( …”But if you’ve been inside a CD store recently, you may have noticed an unlikely revolutionary gem among the new releases. It’s a hip-hop tribute to the late leader and founder of the Communist Party of China, Chairman Mao, and it features the words of the revolutionary leader as lyrics. “In our struggle there will be sacrifices, fatal incidents will be common but when we think of the people and their pain, then dying for them means dying for the right cause…” Backed by break and dance beats, these and other political slogans make up the album’s content, featuring 20-something hip-hop stars and one rap singer doing his rendition of The Two Musts”.

    (now I don’t feel so bad about being a middle aged white woman intertested in hip hop)

  • hey peggy sue send me a e-mail at can mail u some tracks tracks and u can break it down and hear what we got to say

  • Hip Hop is a force to be reckoned with all right. In China the Youth movement, corporate capitalists and the communist party embrace it simultaneously. Over here, just last night “It’s Hard Out Here For a Pimpâ€? won the academy award for best song. Hip Hop has an obvious influence on the mainstream. What I am wondering is how is the embrace of the mainstream influencing Hip Hop? What’s keeping it real?

    rushay: Thanks! I will

  • there is two hip hop worlds hip hop and hip pop its happening out here in south africa aswell a pop format thats being pushed by media,i think in the end keepin it real is applicable to yourself as a individual cos if u dont respect yourself as a human how will you respect those around you.there some days when i just get so depressed at what hip hop has become but thats life ying vs yang..peggysue i mailed u check ya e-mail

  • what is hip hop role in educating these days?as a african residing in africa we were always bombarded with alot of american television and music lets just say we grew up with an abundance of western influence.what has made america so huge i think i wil have to say media cos they have more media pushing there agenda.hip hop is a powerful medium in the last couple of years i have seen alot of growth in the local hip hop scene and more people taking notice of “african” hip hop i can still remember when i was the weird kid who listened to hip hop and everyone was asking me what shit is this im listening to,last year i had Megan Kennedy ( dont ask her bout her relation to JFK please) anyway i had her over how did we link via the net and referalls she won a watson fellowship and basically travelled seven countries round the world doing a story on hip hop and its influence on the youth,she busy editing the dvd with her travells i think everybody taking it serious now since its going to varcities its all over your television but i think we gotta divorce the business culture from the street culture.Today im 29 years old i grew in hip hop i basically grew alongside it.2006 dammit time has forwarded fast we growing old now soon we will be asking the kids what crap they listening to. just read this dope lyric by Jbux peep it out


  • serious lee

    Well now, I wonder if there even would be rap “music” if they couldn’t use the “b” word. I think these children are misguided, angry and need therapy. I doubt that break dancing or rapping will ever end up on anyones resume. I suggest they all seek to find better ways to express themselves before this hip hop ruins their minds. That’s all I have to say.

  • serious lee its obvious from your statement that u never tried to understand these kids anger the only hip hop u exposed yourself was the TV edition of it.american media are only concerned about money thats why the only hip hp u will ever see on TV will be about B and H’s let me take you u on a journey through south africa and show u the arts effects

  • Rushay: Thanks, it took me awhile but I did download the radio program. It sounds like the boys were having a good time putting out some music. What is the name of the film that is going to be shown in Seattle? People reading this blog might be able to see it.

  • More on Hip Hop in India:

    The big news this year is the recent Indian CD soundtrack called “Bluffmaster.” Many of the (rap) vocals are done by Abhishek Bachchan, the son of the greatest Indian actor of the past 30 years (Amitabh Bachchan). It’s the best-selling film soundtrack CD of the past year in India, a “super-hit”: all over Indian radio and Indian MTV equivalents.

    Bluffmaster is the first true Hip Hop soundtrack to a Bollywood film. Hip hop beats have been used in Bollywood music for a long time, with sounds from UK based producers like Bally Sagoo and Richi Rich — but rap (and a sense of hip hop culture and style) has until now not been very influential. My theory is that hip hop won’t be dominant in India in particular unless it comes in through Bollywood. And it’s unlikely that this mainstream Hip Hop (which I think is going to blow up soon, following the success of Bluffmaster) will be anything other than pop — glamorizing wealth, status, and masculinity just as mainstream American hip hop does.

    That’s not to say that political or underground hip hop isn’t being made by Indians. There is a lot of that material coming out of the UK in particular, as one of the commentors above stated. The group “Tigerstyle” is particularly interesting in this regard.

    If you’re curious to hear songs from ‘Bluffmaster’, you can listen to

    them via streaming audio here.

    And here’s something I wrote a little while ago about Indian hip hop,

    Bhangra, and film music.

  • acuman

    I had heard this sociologist speaking of the many different indigenous tribes he had visited with his guitar and other instruments comparing their music with that of the imperialist culture. The dominating cultures most often kept their emphasis ON the beat while those who were subverted emPHAsized the off beat. Classical and rock vs. HipHop, blues and jazz in this country. Hip Hop and Rap are filling the void for many cultures now where Arlo Guthrie and others left off?

    Convergence point for the oppressed.

  • yeah im just loving whats happening on the global hip hop scene most kids grew up on hip hop from america alot of the artist there never realised how there music was spreading and how it found a voice all over.alot of american commercialism is travelling and also corrupting alot of kids ala ya 50 cents and his G Unit brand who is giving kids false hope and dreams.Amar thanks for the note bout india funny i been checking out some bollywood flicks and also learning about indian culture,reason being im seing this indian sista and her mum dont wanna hear nothing bout me cos im not indian.I do also think if there is a hip hop explosion in india it would have a commercial appeal but within that commercialism there will be local kids who will start pushing there own agenda.check out these two tracks by my friend Jbux the one is called mr nobody and basically reflects on all those MR Nobodies roaming round our location


    Khoi san 2005 here.

  • oh i forgot for those oldish folks thats not as Net savvy right click and save where it says here to download the two mp3s above

  • acuman: Gosh, are you saying rock ‘n roll is the music of imperialism? maybe so in that where there is money there is imperialism (same thing being true with hip-hop) but in the day my friend, in the day, rock was the music of the youth rebellion of the 60s which reached its zenith at Woodstock. (I wonder what your sociologist thinks of Woodstock). Being one of the oldish folks I remember it well.

    Not that I was actually at Woodstock but that was the thing about Woodstock, you didn’t actually have to be there to be there because Woodstock was everywhere.

  • acuman: Hip Hop and Rap are filling the void for many cultures now where Arlo Guthrie and others left off?

    I think so because Arlo and maybe even more so his dad Woody Guthrie gave voice to the people on the street and spread shrewed political comentary in great songs.

    If Woody Guthrie were a young man today would he hip-hop? I think so.

  • I think the notion that Arlo Guthrie left a void that needed to be filled is a naive way to think about music. Hiphop did not come from the folk tradition. In it’s form as a street culture it has always been primarily a dance music, having much more in common with pre-1950’s jazz, soul, disco, and house. While there have been some good rappers with an explicitly political theme to their lyrics, most rappers of this ilk are marketing ideas dreamt up by record label guys who are 20 steps removed from what’s actually happening with young people making music.

    Please note that when I’m talking about hiphop here I’m talking about a very particular style of music. Hiphop has been around for 30 years now, so to even talk about it as this monolithic thing that can be clearly defined is a little difficult. A lot of the good music happening around the world is related to hiphop, but vastly different, just like hip hop was related to a lot of the music that came before it, but vastly different. I think there is a lot of good explicitly political music is being made right now, I just don’t think much of it is in hiphop lyrics particularly. The politics in hiphop at this point are coming through in the form rather than the content, e.g.: The Diplomats, SwishaHouse, San Fran Bay Area Hyphy, etc.

  • What makes the globalization of hiphop interesting is the related styles that have popped up around the globe. Baile funk in Brazil, grime in Britain, reggaeton in Puerto Rico, etc.

  • Also, re: the Arlo Guthrie comparison. I don’t know that much about the Guthries, but from what I do know “touch the coke/ touch the pot/ add the soda/ what you got?… I be who I be/ and that you will see I am crack” is not political commentary in the vein of the Guthries. Hiphop is for the most part intensely capitalist, and correct me if I’m wrong but I don’t think that’s the case with that old folk stuff.

  • To clarify, that lyric was from “I am Crack”, a song about selling crack rock.

  • Sorry for posting a gazillion comments, but I have a lot of thoughts on this topic. “Can an Arabic 18 yr old in a French ghetto identify more with 2-Pac or Snoop Dogg than French cultural icons?” The answer seems obvious: They probably can’t relate too closely with 2-Pac, Snoop Dogg, or French cultural icons. I think this sort of misses the point of what hiphop has exported to the rest of the world:

    1. an attitude. Just like western movies, rock and roll, and jazz, hiphop has exported a style of dress, talk, and general attitude more than anything else. Did Miles Davis’s many French fans in the 50s and 60s relate to him? Probably not, since most of them were effete intellectuals, but they liked his style.

    2. formal attributes of musical style. Sampling, rapping, playing turntables like an instrument, extensive use of drum machines: in the 70s and early 80s these were new sounds, now they’re commonplace in all pop music you hear around the world.

    As a matter of fact, the French 18 year old in question could probably relate closest to the many French rappers out there.

  • “touch the coke/ touch the pot/ add the soda/ what you got?

    …. “and don’t touch my bags if you please Mr. Customs man.”

    Arlo G.

  • yeah, but Juelz Santana is talking about making crack (coke in pot over the stove, add baking soda) to get as much money as possible, whereas ol’ Arlo is just acknowladging that he likes to do drugs. perhaps “put the coke in the pots/ whip it over the rocks/ ship it over the blocks/ it’s movin movin” from the song “Clockwork”, i.e. “I’m a damn good crack dealer.”

  • Oops, bad incomlete sentance there. Just saying perhaps that’s a better example. Examples are abundant, and people want to say that it’s only mainstream rap, but that’s just not the facts. Hiphop at every level is mainly obsessed with money, status symbols, and ways of getting more money. There is this concept of underground hiphop that folks like to talk about, but “underground” just illustrates that it’s presence is small compared to all the other artists that love to talk about cash, cars, and clothes.

  • JITNEYsound: I’m sure you have a very valid point. I tend to use the overly broad definition of “folk music” that I heard from someone who was announcing a punk rock group at the Vancouver Folk Music Festival. He said “folk” just means “people” so any music people make is folk music. I’m just here (on this thread) to learn about hip hop starting from zero. I appreciate your input. And in case I left you with the impression that Arlo is a drug fiend … well he was but then he went back to Jesus and cleaned up his act. I’ve heard similar stories about some hip hoppers… still, I’m sure it is quite a stretch of a comparison.

    P.S. I think you are being pretty hard on French Miles Davis fans.

  • You’re right about what I said about Miles Davis, but I’m exaggerating the facts to make the point that just because someone likes a kind of music doesn’t mean that they have something in common with the person that makes it. That’s one of the strange and wonderful things about music, it trancends cultural boundaries in ways other art forms can’t. Some of my favorite songs are in languages that I can’t begin to understand.

  • JITNEYsound:

    Are there hip hop artists in other countries that you really like?

    I just got a CDHeros of the Earth by Chinese artist Leehom. Some small parts are in English but it is mostly in Chinese. I was interested to hear it because he is influenced by hip hop and by Classical Chinese poetry & music. I do kind of wish I had a translation of the lyrics in English because I do not understand Chinese. I read an interview with him where he said that the classical Chinese poetry was great to mix in with hip hop because of the rhymes – I guess that might get lost in translating.

  • yeah im def feeling that alot of the later genres that has popped up like raggeaton and grime comes from hip hop same with kwaito in south africa the roots of hip hop is mos def there,but alot of the latter music has become more concerned with partying.imma touch base later on the discussion

  • it’s true that a lot of the music is all about partying, but that’s what hip hop has been about from the beginning. before hip hop artists were even putting out records it was just an MC over a DJ at a party, telling people to throw their hands in the air and say “hey” and scream. so really those new genres are true to the original spirit of hip hop in a lot of ways.

  • peggysue:

    as far as foreign hiphop sounds, you should check out the following:

    an NPR story about Funk Carioca, a style of hiphop influenced music from Brazil:

    an article from the BBC about Grime, a British offshoot of hiphop, where you can listen to some grime songs:

    an article about Reggaeton from the Village Voice, with links to Reggaeton tracks and videos. Reggaeton is hiphop influenced music that’s mostly made in Puerto Rico, although there are many US based artists as well.

  • oops, forgot to post that last link. here it is:,cepeda,62467,22.html

  • JITNEYsound:

    Hey Thanks! for those great links. Very informative and fun to read. And I especially like having an audio feature if I’m reading something about music. I’m liking the Reggaeton.

  • mos def hip hop started from parties but it also had a serious undertone behind that partying lyrics was also messages lately hip hop has become more concerned bout the bling about what u have on ya wrist and if u see the effects of that on kids right here in south africa u would go this shit is massive.i was just tellin my friend if he noticed the amount of brothers round the way thats been gettin gold fronts who do we have to thank for that mr hip hop himself.its just crazy how the similiar sort of commercialism is influenced by american conglomorates all round the world it all evolves from economics man music has become more politicks then actuall musical art

  • amen rushay. the politics of early hip hop were basically, party, wild out, be yourself and have fun while at it. now you don’t even get to go into the party if you don’t have the right clothes, the fronts, and the nicest shoes.

  • rterp

    Hey Robin,

    Have you been looking at hip hop online forums for material? I don’t know what kind of responses you’re going to get from the ones I give you. If you post, be prepared to get ignored or unleash a torrent of disdain. You may also get a good conversation going. That’s just how these things work – it’s up in the air as to how people with respond. But it’s def worth reading some of the posts and responses to find for material for the show.

    “The Reason” is the main all hip hip forum, but there should be a forum about international hip hop on there called the “Foreign Exchange.”

    Also, you can look at, though I don’t know that much about it.

    As for my report, I’ve lived in both Argentina and Uruguay over the last year and a half. From what I can tell, rap and reggaeton are more popular in Uruguay. When you go to clubs they play a lot more of it, AND when they play it people dance like they know what they’re doing (as opposed to a general awkwardness towards letting loose to certain kinds of music that I saw in the clubs in BsAs). But to be honest, I don’t know too much about the hip hop scene in either place.


  • i think that would be more a commercialised form of rap for me hip hop is the art its more then just rap,hip hop is now the mainstraim art once it was the blacksheep its become more accepted.There is a clear distinction between rap and hip hop and alot of it that you would find in the clubs are mostly music made for partying not touching on alot of social issues. download our radio show and check what we about

  • serious lee

    Can’t resist. Listen you screw heads, rap isn’t music it’s pure crap. None of you have anything but the most rudimentary grasp of rhyme. There wouldn’t even be rap music if it weren’t for all the misguided white children filled with self hatred out there. All this gangsta crap is nothing more than a bunch of pussy loosers shooting their moths off about how bad they are. I’ve known some badass men who didn’t have to speak to scare the crap out of you weenie boys. Rap on you losers.

  • “Rap on you losers.”

    a. congrats on getting the spelling of losers right on the second try in that post.

    b. can we please hear more from serious lee? specifically, tell me more about these “badass men”. they sound hot!


    weenie boy

  • looks like yall are giving hip hop a bad rap!ignorance is a bliss if u havent grown up with the same oppression same struggles as those rappers u would never get it.who defines what is music adam or eve?

  • Rushay,

    Don’t let serious lee get you down. Some people are just rude and ignorant. serious lee takes a special pride in being rude and ignorant. It is often best to just ignore.

    This thread has been in warm up mode for so long I almost forgot it was here. Glad to see you are still posting.

  • deadforever

    Google Maps directions to Graceland from I-55

    1. Take the US-51 exit 5B to Elvis Presley Blvd South – go 0.2 mi

    2. Bear left onto the Elvis Presley Blvd ramp – go 133 ft

    3. Bear right at Elvis Presley Blvd – go 1.2 mi

    4. Turn left at Dolan Dr – go 0.1 mi

    This comment broke the rules and has been Gracelanded.

  • Nikos

    Yo, deadguy — there’s a post awaiting you in the Alley.

  • nother

    So, “Serious Lee” logs in under a different identity and now we have to read this hatred?

    Peggy Sue, I hope you will take your own advice and just ignore this crap.

  • Yo yo yo yo yo yo!

  • This topic got me thinking about my relationship with hip-hop since arriving from Nigeria. When I immigrated to the USA hip-hop was one of the first forms of American music I experienced. I listened to it on the radio so I did not get a sense of the whole spectrum of it. The Notorious Big drew me in at eight years old (and still at nearly 20). I thought his voice was cool. When I began to middle school age, I migrated to Korn and the Deftones. In high school, I started getting into A Tribe Called Quest when one of the main members Q-Tip tried his hand at a solo career. My interest faded again upon college as I got exposure to more kinds of music. Kanye West picked up my interest again in the music. I have started to listen to more of the semi-mainstream hip-hop. It seems I will never be able to shake it. I recently began an obsession with modern folk music, but I know eventually I will move back and find new hip-hop.

    It seems to have found my home too. Last summer when I went home, I noticed that rap music was everywhere. That was the only form of North American music I noticed other than Celine Dion. Nigeria seems to have a strange affinity for her. I was in the village with my grandparents they had a TV with only four channels. One of the local stations was playing a Celine Dion concert. I was in one of the more remote places and I still could not get away from her. That was way off topic. I look forward to this show.

  • check this out its a 7 min tv feature on our hip hopscene in our city all the people are my friends in the feature

  • MarcMcElroy

    I am a Mainer, currently in Moscow. I am a hip-hop fan who speaks Russian and I would have to say that Russian hip-hop is rather bad. Their language doesn’t seem to fit it, and the Russian accent, and tamber of the Russian voice, especially the male voice, is not suited to it. It’s sounds a bit silly with it’s rolled R’s and L’s and sounds from the back of the throat, and the overabundance of Russian words that end in vowels make the actaual rhymes rather pedestrian. Even worse, it constantly misses the mark of the best hip-hop which mixes messages of social and political ideas along with the atmosphere of celibration. Russian hip-hop seems like some bizzar “cargo cult” that has taken then look sound and bravado of hip hop, but doesn’t seem get it at all.

  • i believe there will always be someone that will manifest issues maybe u just been exposed to alot of bad russian hip hop cos most stuff thats massive in the selected areas is stuff that the media pushing and lets face the facts they know nothing bout hip hop culture!

  • chrisb

    There’s some Indian hip-hop that’s pretty good. Punjabi MC is probably the best case out there right now.

    Then there’s the whole Japanese hip-hop grouping, such as Rip Slyme, the Teriyaki Boyz (signed to def jam), and Rhymester.

    There’s a few videos available on You Tube that gives a sample of what’s out there.

  • iiicalypso

    It seems to me that the initial questions–

    “Can an Arabic 18 yr old in a French ghetto identify more with 2-Pac or Snoop Dogg than French cultural icons? Why do oppressed people all over identify with the story of Black American ideas of struggle and success? What message is mainstream hip-hop music selling to the world?”

    pose two contradictory and irreconcilable issues. To me, it seems that the idea that something can at once be mainstream and revolutionary is a bit absurd. Like all forms of art, revolutionary and mainstream may share a common ancestor, but they evolve in very seperate directions. While certainly there are exceptions, it seems more often than not that the MC5 devolves into Bon Jovi and Marvin Gaye begets Usher. Whether this is good or bad, I cannot say.

    To me, the more interesting part of the question is the globalization issue. I have spent the past three years in Korea and Taiwan, and have watched with the eyes of an outsider the effect of hip hop. My thinking about it has evolved as my understanding of the cultures did. Without the language ability to listen to the lyrics, I spend a lot of time simply seeing how Asian hip-hop has adopted certain elements of the greater hip-hop culture (shiny cars, dancing girls) and modified others (less overtly sexual references, greater emphasis on dancing prowess).

    As for the globalization aspect, there are two points that stand out especially strongly. The first is with hip hop fashion, which filters down through the mainstream all the way to elementary school students. The second, and more interesting to me, sign that hip hop has become truly globalized, is the fact that my rural county has taken to airing televison commercials extolling the virtues of recycling. The vehicle? A rap song.

  • There’s some amazing music and movements out there!

    Great to see so much interest on this subject from all over the world. Having been recording and researching African and Global Hip-Hop for many years now I must say I’m still completely inspired on a regular basis by the innovation, brilliance and sheer determination of young people the world over who use hip-hop in ways to better their lives and communities.

    Peace and Respect to all the panelists and presenters. Looking forward to the broadcast..

    Ben Herson

  • RaggedRobin

    Sure, there’s something oppositional about a lot of Japanese hip hop, but if that’s all we say about it, we ignore some major social differences about who makes and listens to rap music, whose reality sets the standard for a local hip-hop authenticity. Middle class, majority-community kids, rapping about the lack of graduate jobs in a depressed economy are doing something quite different from members of an ethnic minority (whether desi, maori or inuit) building a space to speak to each other, and for the community, or an urban, multi-ethnic community mixing languages and crossing boundaries, as seems to be happening in Kenya.

  • I haven’t had time to read through this post…been listening to hip-hop for years, have sought out the most politically radical content that still brings lyricism and beats…

    I live near Seattle now. The independent hip-hop scene is blowing up. I URGE everyone who hasn’t to check out Blue Scholars, Common Market, and Macklemore. Their honesty, politics, emceeing capabilities and amazing, complex beats will enthrall anyone who cares about social change/revolution.

  • jordon

    re: jitney’s comments and links about grime, i was dissapointed to hear NO mention of british hip-hop on last night’s show. artists like dizzee rascal and the streets are part of the most internationally popular hip-hop movement outside of the US.

  • for anybody that want to see bout the hip hop movement in south africa watch BET


    11:30 AM Sunday and 8 PM Wednesday THATS EASTERN TIME ON BET

  • Robin

    Thanks everyone for the great level of debate on this show.

  • open source did a great job whitewashing hip hop, promoting one particular vision of it and marginalising and maligning anything that didn’t fit into their idea of what hip hop should be. congrats!

  • thank you robin hopefully we can keep this dialogue open if anybody interested they can check out our radio show u can download from the link if you can listen live on sundays

  • Yo La La!

    For more on French hip-hop, check out my monthly educational podcast for English-speakers: