George Morgan & Andrew Warren (2011): Aboriginal youth, hip hop and the politics of identification, Ethnic and Racial Studies, 34:6, 925-947
|Winnipeg's Most, an Aboriginal Hip-hop group|
This paper explores the identity work taking place around contemporary subcultural hip hop amongst Australian indigenous youth in two disadvantaged urban locations. Previous work on Aboriginal hip hop has been attentive to the interface between tradition and modernity. However, existing scholarship has lacked a deeper ethnographic understanding of the dynamics between youth and parent cultures, and the tensions between the two generations. This article is based on research with young hip hop enthusiasts, community activists and educators. It deals with the cultural politics of identification and sees hip hop practice as associated with a process in which Aboriginality is crystallized as a principal affiliation and as offering an account for experiences of social marginalization. Far from being an outlet for expressing a prior or essential Aboriginality, hip hop as cultural practice is associated with the production of particular identifications.
What I really like about this source is the recognition that musical cultures among young people serve not (only) to articulate a previously existing culture or tradition through a new musical expression, but that identity and culture is created at the same time the music is created. A Tibetan kid rapping about Tibetan problems creates a new identity in the process of rapping, and creates new methods to deal with both the problems he or she personally and the problems the society has. Hip hop is a wonderful example of a particular set of musical styles that has assisted marginalized youth in creating identity all over the world, but other musics have also played key roles - dig the Tibetan metal musician Techung hipped me to, or the blues and rock group The Yak Band.