Academic journal article Tamara Journal of Critical Organisation Inquiry

A Flow for the Social Sciences and Humanities: Storying the Struggle of High-Stakes Financialization in the Academy

Academic journal article Tamara Journal of Critical Organisation Inquiry

A Flow for the Social Sciences and Humanities: Storying the Struggle of High-Stakes Financialization in the Academy

Article excerpt

Hip Hop as Contemporary Culture, Art and Storytelling

Though often (and erroneously) branded exclusively as a form of music, hip hop is a cultural movement that originated in the 1970s among African American youths in New York City (Akom, 2009). As a culture, hip hop contains five elements: deejaying, breakdancing, graffiti, fashion, and emceeing (more conventionally known as rapping) (Akom, 2009). It plays an important role in socio-political analysis and representation of marginalized communities (Akom, 2009; Marsh, 2012). Hip hop emerged as a liberatory, arts-based culture that responds to struggle by emphasizing self-determination in oppressed African American communities. As such, participating in hip hop cultural production is a form of critical, public pedagogy as much as it is an art form (Marsh, 2012).

Emceeing or rapping is "a form of rhymed storytelling accompanied by highly rhythmic, electronically based music" (Rose, 1994, p. 2). Early DJs and emcees used what little equipment was available to them to make original music - often just two turntables for scratching, a beat box with heavy amplification, and their own voices (Martinez, 1997). The addition of affordable digital synthesizers led to sampling sounds (incorporating segments of other artists' work) to create unique content (Martinez, 1997). By the late 1980s, hip hop had transcended its New York City roots and began making its way into the mainstream American and international cultures.

Though still controversial in some circles, hip hop songs are rapidly gaining widespread acceptance as forms of poetry and storytelling that feature specific elements including content, flow and delivery (Alim, 2011 ; Bradley, 2009), and often rely on sampling. Hip hop lyrics are stories just as much as reports of the author/performer's life experience. As such, stories hold "many lessons for revolutionary scholarship" (Jeffries, 2014, p. 714). Rap's aesthetic form samples from the past while rupturing the present in a way that reconsiders narrative linearity in unconventional ways (Jeffries, 2014). In doing so, hip hop as storytelling speaks truth to power (Jeffries, 2014). For instance, 1980s and 1990s political and gangsta rap were forms of resistance and expressions of oppositional culture aimed at exposing American inner-city problems (Marinez, 1997) in narratives of self-actualization (Morrissey, 2014).

The rap genre has historically emphasized "realness" though class-based, racial and autobiographical authenticity (McLeod, 1999; Morrissey, 2014). Rap allows storytelling through dialogue about the writer/performer's lifeworld, and where they see themselves fitting in or not fitting in (Marsh, 2012).Authenticity invocations are a response to the threat of assimilation by larger mainstream culture (McLeod, 1999). Rap emcees have also repeatedly dealt with economic and financial issues in their music - especially stories of disenfranchised and urban youth, and entrepreneurship as a means of self-determination in marginalized communities (Sköld & Rehn, 2007).

Though their origins lie in marginalized, urban American communities, all aspects of hip hop have been globalized. While the authenticity of international hip hop (especially rap) is disputed (Pennycock, 2007), individuals and groups worldwide have "localized" hip hop as a socio-political movement by responding to their own circumstances through visual ait, rap, and other forms of expression (Alim, 2011; Marsh, 2012; Pennycock, 2007). Global hip hop dialogue, while diverse in content and topics, tends to encourage biographical self-expression and activism in spite of media representations that focus almost exclusively capitalist narratives of excess, hyper-masculinity, and hegemonic norms (Marsh, 2012). Marsh (2012) argues that despite "problematic, often racialized and gendered representations associated with hip hop culture," its potential lies in the ability "to illustrate and facilitate the creative, thoughtful, and artistic subjectivities" globally and locally (p. …

Search by... Author
Show... All Results Primary Sources Peer-reviewed


An unknown error has occurred. Please click the button below to reload the page. If the problem persists, please try again in a little while.