Shortly after the release of “Rapper’s Delight” in the fall of 1979, versions of the first commercially successful rap recordings began to emerge worldwide.
Two Portuguese editions, Bons Tempos and Melô Do Tagarela, were published in Brazil. While the Jamaican version was relatively faithful to the Sugarhill Gang’s original, “Hotter Reggae Music” slowed down the track and turned it into reggae. Other local language versions were “Hallo, Hallo, Hallo” from the Netherlands, “La Cotorra Criolla” from Venezuela and “Rapper’s Deutsch” from Germany.
Within a few years, Japanese artists Yellow Magic Orchestra’s 1981 ‘Rap Phenomena’, Nigerian Dizzy K. Farora’s 1982 ‘Saturday Night Laps’ and French duo Shagrin Dee’s So you can now hear the song’s DNA changing in different parts of the world. ‘amour’s 1982 ‘Chacun fait (c’qui lui plait)’. Soviet Russia also made headlines in 1984 with Chas Pik’s “Rap”.
… and endlessly
The rapid spread of “Rapper’s Delight” is a significant milestone in hip-hop’s first fifty years. This marked the beginning of the globalization of rap music and the broader hip-hop culture that incorporated rap music, such as deejays, breakdancing, and graffiti tagging.
Further milestones in hip-hop’s global reach soon followed. In 1984, “HIPHOP” hosted by DJ Sydney appeared in France, while “Yo! MTV Raps” appeared in the United States about four years ago. In the early 1990s, France’s booming rap scene spawned his star, MC Soler, who made his first international tour outside the United States and recorded platinum-selling rap. France became her second largest rap market in the world and still holds that position.
In fact, by 2000, the term “global hip-hop” had entered commercial and academic debate. Soon, new styles, partly influenced by hip-hop, emerged, like grime in London, establishing their own identities.
But there are contradictions in hip-hop’s global expansion. The urban culture of black America that gave birth to rap and hip-hop forms the very foundation. But so is the central idea of representing one’s own experiences and places. When hip-hop and rap travel abroad, do you have to give up one or the other?
For an ethnomusicologist like me, this paradox is right at the heart of identity and authenticity. How do people use, shape, and transform cultural elements from other places to reflect them in their own experiences? Is it defined?
Global hip-hop multi-tracking
When it comes to hip-hop, I believe it helps to imagine different indicators of authenticity—what it means to remain “true” to that art form.
Part of it is the synthesis of black American performance style and fashion. Some efforts may border on plagiarism or imitation.
At the other end is the potential for hip-hop to inspire global rappers to delve deep into the wells of local performance traditions. This can mean sampling music from your own country, or exploring the quirks and complexities of your own language or dialect.
Pioneering hip-hop scholar Khalif Osmaleh explored the veracity of the notion of “combinative limits” that established a blueprint for theorizing of global hip-hop. This key concept has to do with “social resonance among black expressive cultures” on the one hand and similar movements in other countries and cultures on the other.
These connections and resonances may be linked through shared cultures, or social class, historical oppression, or youth marginalization among the various regions of African diaspora.
Extending this framework a bit, most people who feel left out can turn to the spirit of hip-hop. This could include Alyonna from Ukraine, who was bullied because of her appearance, or a white supremacist from Northern Europe.
Hip-hop scholar and political activist Yvonne Bynoe offered a different take on the genre’s global reach. In 2002 she wrote: “Rap music has become globalized, but hip-hop culture has not and will never be globalized.” For Bynoe, the experience of black Americans and cultural expressions centered on local languages can represent everything. Expectations are irrational.
“While ‘rap’ as a creative tool is portable and adaptable, it disparages hip-hop culture, which continues to insist that it can be detached from its roots as a cultural entity,” she wrote. .
A 2007 documentary about Kenyan hip-hop, aptly titled ‘Hip-Hop Colony’, addresses the issue from a different perspective. “Today Kenya is engaged in a new kind of colonization,” the narrator said. Similar qualities allow us to blend in with cultures around the world. …is hip-hop [and] Colonial influences dictate choices in dress, language and lifestyle in general. Unlike settlers, their existence is welcomed and widely accepted by the majority of the population. “
In a clever twist, filmmaker Michael Wangf sets the framework for the early neocolonial era and then it by showing how Kenyans made hip-hop their own. Dismantle.
Moreover, wherever it lands, hip-hop has been seen as a catalyst for cultural introspection and revival.
“The first time I heard Grandmaster Flash rapping on a hip-hop track,” Senegalese rapper Faada Freddy of the group Darla J said in 2006. A Senegalese language art form accompanied by drumming.
“We’ve rhymed like that for a long time,” he added.
Australian Aboriginal rapper Wire MC likewise sees a connection between hip hop and traditional indigenous groups known as “corroboree” who sing, dance and tell stories. said that hip-hop is “just a modern corroboree”.
“Hip-hop is part of Aboriginal culture. I think it’s always been that way,” he added.
Native American rapper Frank Walun, who hails from the Sichang Lakota tribe, also notes the resonance of hip-hop and Aboriginal culture.
“I think there’s definitely a connection between traditional storytelling and hip-hop,” he said. “My people have been storytellers for thousands of years and this is just a new way of telling our stories.”
dig a well
Almost everywhere rap and hip-hop spread, people have pointed out that it resonates with their own country’s traditions. Some have used those traditions to make hip-hop deeply rooted in the local community. Thus, Japanese rapper Hime uses an ancient poetic form of tanka for the chorus of her song “Tateba Shakuyaku”. In this song, she raps about the Japanese concept of “kotodama,” or “spirit of language,” embedded in her 5-7-5-7-7 syllable count in the chorus.
Similarly, Ghanaian rapper Obrafor quotes esoteric proverbs in his native Tui, while Somali-Canadian rapper Keinan quotes and pays tribute to Somali oral poetry.
The historical connection between contemporary French rappers and French songs is also usefully explored. This is not surprising given that children of African immigrants living in France, like rapper Abd al-Malik, have dual identities.
The indelible link between hip-hop and black American culture has been a constant theme in how we understand its transition around the world. Take Vava, one of China’s most famous rappers, for example.
In a 2018 interview with Esquire Singapore, she said hip-hop “helps us express our deepest feelings and thoughts about how we make sense of the world we live in.” said. When she asked, “American hip-hop was born out of African-American struggles. So where did Chinese hip-hop come from?” “Chinese hip-hop was born out of rebellion in the lives of young people. …The generation before us were rockers, but now they use rap to express themselves.”
Rap as a universal art form
“The global spread of authenticity,” as linguist Alastair Pennycook called it in 2007, has been a concern in the genre ever since “Rapper’s Delight” took the world by storm.
In 1982, pioneering deejay Afrika Bambaataa advised French rappers to “rap in their own language and speak from their social consciousness.”
Jay-Z addressed the issue at the end of his 2010 memoir Decoded. Alluding to the difference between the culture of hip-hop and the art form of rap, he writes:
“Rap is essentially an art form that gives a voice to a specific experience, but like any other art, it is ultimately about the most common human experience. It’s the story of a million MCs inside…and inside them, too, comes the words they need to make sense of the world they see around them…and deciphering that torrent of words. , which means really listening with an open mind and heart, we gain a deeper understanding of their world, and so do we. It’s the same world.”
This article is republished from The Conversation, an independent, non-profit news site dedicated to sharing ideas from academic experts. If you find it interesting, please subscribe to our weekly newsletter.
Author: Eric Charlie Wesleyan University.
Eric Charlie does not work for, consult with, own shares in, or receive funding from any company or organization that would benefit from this article, and does not have any related, other than academic appointments. Affiliation not disclosed.