Wednesday, July 22, 2009

Hip-Hop Globe-trot

Rap is a distinctly American music. It incubated and developed among the African-American and Afro-Carribbean youth of New York City in the 1970s. Rap quickly spread to urban centers all over the United States blossoming into a rich variety of regional styles and scenes. It has also moved from an underground urban setting to having a strong influence on mainstream youth culture. Rap and hip hop have helped to create distinctive styles of fashion, gesture, art and video-making.

It's not surprising that such an appealing culture would have have adherents outside of the United States. The following video presents rappers from 30 countries.

While each of these rappers have absorbed aspects of rap's roots they all find ways to use this form to express their own personal and national identity.

World rap is subject that is just beginning to receive book length treatment.

Global Noise: Rap and Hip-Hop Outside the USA is a collection of essays that look at the scenes in a number of countries. This book includes articles in the Islamic world, among ethnic minorities the Basque and the Maori, and in Germany, Italy, Bulgaria, The Netherlands, Belgium, Japan, and Korea.

The Africanist Aesthetic In Global Hip-hop by Halifu Osumare is an analysis of rap in a number of countries. While not an easy read it looks at the social, political and aesthetic manifestions of rap and hip-hop in many settings.

Like Global Noise, Black, Blanc, Beur: Rap Music and Hip-hop Culture in the Francophone World is a collection of essays by many authors. This book looks at rap in France, Quebec and Gabon.

Hip-hop Japan: Rap and The Paths of Cultural Globalization by Ian Condry while focussing on one country looks at the subject from a number of angles. Condry examines the historical influence of Black culture in Japan, rap fans and their consumer culture, the Japanese language as a medium for rap, women rappers, and the economics of rap in Japan.

For those who can read other languages the library also owns Hip hop italiano: suoni, parole e scenari del posse power by Pierfrancesco Pacoda about the Italian scene and Can pi de rao she da ji hua - 參劈的饒舌大計劃 (translates as: Tri Poets’ Rapping Big Project) by the TriPoets, group of Taiwanese rappers.

For those wanting to explore this subject more deeply the Continuum Encyclopedia of Popular Music of the World has four volumes by region that frequently index the term "rap." The Music Index, an annual print index of current articles about music includes references to current articles about rap and hip hop. They are found under the subject heading Popular Music Styles and are divided geographically.

For recordings in the San Francisco Public Library's collections follow these subject links:

Rap (Music) - China - Hong Kong
Rap (Music) - Cuba
Rap (Music) - Great Britain
Rap (Music) - Israel
Rap (Music) - Jamaica
Rap (Music) - Latin America
Rap (Music) - Mexico
Rap (Music) - Puerto Rico
Rap (Music) - Russia - Federation
Rap (Music) - Vietnam

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