UCLA'S ASIAN PACIFIC ISLANDER AMERICAN NEWSMAGAZINE

Home-grown Hip-Hop, China

In A&E, Monologue/Dialogue on January 24, 2009 at 7:37 pm

(image from nytimes.com, lila bubb)

I keep hip-hop separate from the rest of my stuff on my ipod. It’s the genre that I click on most often when finding something to listen to when I’m in the car, on the way to school, in the dentist’s office, walking down the street…Nas, Talib Kweli, Jay-Z, and Lupe Fiasco were always providing the soundtrack to my non-gritty LA existence.

In my globalization classes, I was fascinated by my professor’s explanation about how hip-hop became a medium of self expression of urban discontent in the ban lieus of France. French rap was born from circumstances different than American rap, but the emotions were the same. Criticism of society, of unequality, of the injustices that they were forced to accept.

I began to associate hip-hop as something more than American – it was a movement that unites the world in a commanality. It’s a sharing of culture, of art, of a medium that transcends languages and generational lines. (Ok, the last one may be a little idealistic but the hip-hop movement started in the 80s and that spans 3 decades, which means more people are exposed to it than ever!)

This piece from Friday’s New York Times is a great exploration of underground hip-hop in China. It’s not the stuff that Jay Chou shills – it’s a movement that is spreading throughout a country that has been taught to think, be, and live the same. In a place where freedom of expression is limited in ways that we take for granted, there is an undercurrent of non-state approved creativity. Don’t forget to watch the video! READ MORE.

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