Hip Hop Beats, Indigenous Rhymes: Modernity and Hip Hop in Indigenous North America

SUNY Press
Free sample

 Argues that Indigenous hip hop is the latest and newest assertion of Indigenous sovereignty throughout Indigenous North America.
Expressive culture has always been an important part of the social, political, and economic lives of Indigenous people. More recently, Indigenous people have blended expressive cultures with hip hop culture, creating new sounds, aesthetics, movements, and ways of being Indigenous. This book documents recent developments among the Indigenous hip hop generation. Meeting at the nexus of hip hop studies, Indigenous studies, and critical ethnic studies, Hip Hop Beats, Indigenous Rhymes argues that Indigenous people use hip hop culture to assert their sovereignty and challenge settler colonialism. From rapping about land and water rights from Flint to Standing Rock, to remixing “traditional” beading with hip hop aesthetics, Indigenous people are using hip hop to challenge their ongoing dispossession, disrupt racist stereotypes and images of Indigenous people, contest white supremacy and heteropatriarchy, and reconstruct ideas of a progressive masculinity. In addition, this book carefully traces the idea of authenticity; that is, the common notion that, by engaging in a Black culture, Indigenous people are losing their “traditions.” Indigenous hip hop artists navigate the muddy waters of the “politics of authenticity” by creating art that is not bound by narrow conceptions of what it means to be Indigenous; instead, they flip the notion of “tradition” and create alternative visions of what being Indigenous means today, and what that might look like going forward.

“This book is incredibly important and will change the fields of Native American, African American, gender, and sound studies. It is the first full-length monograph on the rich, diverse, and complex field of Indigenous hip hop. This is the text against which all other studies in the field will be compared.” — Michelle Raheja, University of California, Riverside
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About the author

 Kyle T. Mays is Assistant Professor in the Department of African American Studies and the American Indian Center, UCLA.

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Additional Information

Publisher
SUNY Press
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Published on
Apr 1, 2018
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Pages
194
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ISBN
9781438469478
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Language
English
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Genres
Social Science / Ethnic Studies / African American Studies
Social Science / Ethnic Studies / Native American Studies
Social Science / Popular Culture
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Content Protection
This content is DRM protected.
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Eligible for Family Library

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First Nations, Inuit, and Métis music in Canada is dynamic and diverse, reflecting continuities with earlier traditions and innovative approaches to creating new musical sounds. Aboriginal Music in Contemporary Canada narrates a story of resistance and renewal, struggle and success, as indigenous musicians in Canada negotiate who they are and who they want to be. Comprised of essays, interviews, and personal reflections by Aboriginal and non-Aboriginal musicians and scholars alike, the collection highlights themes of innovation, teaching and transmission, and cultural interaction. Individual chapters discuss musical genres ranging from popular styles including country and pop to nation-specific and intertribal practices such as powwows, as well as hybrid performances that incorporate music with theatre and dance. As a whole, this collection demonstrates how music is a powerful tool for articulating the social challenges faced by Aboriginal communities and an effective way to affirm indigenous strength and pride. Juxtaposing scholarly study with artistic practice, Aboriginal Music in Contemporary Canada celebrates and critically engages Canada's vibrant Aboriginal music scene. Contributors include Véronique Audet (Université de Montreal), Columpa C. Bobb (Tsleil Waututh and Nlaka'pamux, Manitoba Theatre for Young People), Sadie Buck (Haudenosaunee), Annette Chrétien (Métis), Marie Clements (Métis/Dene), Walter Denny Jr. (Mi'kmaw), Gabriel Desrosiers (Ojibwa, University of Minnesota, Morris), Beverley Diamond (Memorial University), Jimmy Dick (Cree), Byron Dueck (Royal Northern College of Music), Klisala Harrison (University of Helsinki), Donna Lariviere (Algonquin), Charity Marsh (University of Regina), Sophie Merasty (Dene and Cree), Garry Oker (Dane-zaa), Marcia Ostashewski (Cape Breton University), Mary Piercey (Memorial University), Amber Ridington (Memorial University), Dylan Robinson (Stó:lo, University of Toronto), Christopher Scales (Michigan State University), Gilles Sioui (Wendat), Gordon E. Smith (Queen's University), Beverly Souliere (Algonquin), Janice Esther Tulk (Memorial University), Florent Vollant (Innu) and Russell Wallace (Lil'wat).
The Hip Hop Movement offers a critical theory and alternative history of rap music and hip hop culture by examining their roots in the popular musics and popular cultures of the Civil Rights Movement and Black Power Movement. Connecting classic rhythm & blues and rock & roll to the Civil Rights Movement, and classic soul and funk to the Black Power Movement, The Hip Hop Movement explores what each of these musics and movements contributed to rap, neo-soul, hip hop culture, and the broader Hip Hop Movement. Ultimately, this book’s remixes (as opposed to chapters) reveal that black popular music and black popular culture have always been more than merely “popular music” and “popular culture” in the conventional sense and reflect a broader social, political, and cultural movement. With this in mind, sociologist and musicologist Reiland Rabaka critically reinterprets rap and neo-soul as popular expressions of the politics, social visions, and cultural values of a contemporary multi-issue movement: the Hip Hop Movement.

Rabaka argues that rap music, hip hop culture, and the Hip Hop Movement are as deserving of critical scholarly inquiry as previous black popular musics, such as the spirituals, blues, ragtime, jazz, rhythm & blues, rock & roll, soul, and funk, and previous black popular movements, such as the Black Women’s Club Movement, New Negro Movement, Harlem Renaissance, Civil Rights Movement, Black Power Movement, Black Arts Movement, and Black Women’s Liberation Movement. This volume, equal parts alternative history of hip hop and critical theory of hip hop, challenges those scholars, critics, and fans of hip hop who lopsidedly over-focus on commercial rap, pop rap, and gangsta rap while failing to acknowledge that there are more than three dozen genres of rap music and many other socially and politically progressive forms of hip hop culture beyond DJing, MCing, rapping, beat-making, break-dancing, and graffiti-writing.
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