Hip Hop Underground: The Integrity and Ethics of Racial by Anthony Kwame Harrison

By Anthony Kwame Harrison

Race & authenticity in the USA is explored in the course of the Bay Area's multiracial underground hip hop scene. Harrison exhibits how how quite a few ethnic teams have interaction hip hop in divergent methods, as a method to either declare subcultural legitimacy & determine their racial authenticity.

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Sample text

Throughout American history racial designation has been based on two factors, appearance and ancestry. ,“she looks white to me”), the latter applies specific socially constructed rules to the project of determining race; in the American case, these rules historically have been in the ser vice of safeguarding white racial purity and privilege. The option of marking more than one racial category acknowledges that racial identity is not just a matter of ascribed status; it is equally a matter of self-identification.

In underground hip hop this is true at least as far as race is concerned. Many of the foundational Bay Area underground hip hop collectives included prominent non-black members. For instance, the Living Legends featured two white emcees and a third who was Japanese; Solesides included members with recognizable Asian, Latino, and European bloodlines. In fact, with the exception of Hieroglyphics and Hobo Junction (both exclusively African American), all the Bay Area underground hip hop groups I have mentioned in this chapter have been comprised of racially mixed members.

Falling under the collective label “postmodern Experiencing the Bay 49 anthropologists,” proponents of this approach mounted an attack on ethnographic objectivity by placing the rhetorical practices of ethnographic representation at the center of their analysis (Jacobson 1991; Marcus and Cushman 1982). Much of this work was founded on critiques of both the empiricist position that claims the existence of a reality independent of consciousness (Friedman 1987; Lopate 1979) and the positivist belief that such a reality is knowable (Rabinow 1986; Rosaldo 1989; Wolf 1996).

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