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Periodical article Periodical article Leiden University catalogue Leiden University catalogue WorldCat catalogue WorldCat
Title:Locating hip hop origins: popular music and tradition in Senegal
Author:Appert, Catherine M.
Periodical:Africa: Journal of the International African Institute (ISSN 0001-9720)
Geographic term:Senegal
Subjects:hip hop
cultural history
urban youth
External link:https://doi.org/10.1017/S0001972016000036
Abstract:This article complicates internationally circulating origin myths that alternately link hip hop to West African griot traditions or highlight the global resonance of its roots in the US inner city. The author argues that such generalizing narratives potentially obscure how complex understandings of traditional cultural production inform local engagements with hip hop in Africa, and advocate instead for ethnographically generated interpretive frameworks that enable alternative, locally grounded analyses of hip hop cultures. In doing so, she examines the particularity of Senegalese invocations of origin myths to ask how local and global histories are reimagined through discourse about musical practice. Based on their understandings of tradition as something that precedes, is transformed in, and remains integral to contemporary urban life in Senegal, underground hip hoppers conflate the local popular genre 'mbalax' with griot practice, contrasting it with hip hop as a modern music born from experiences of urban struggle that resonate with their own realities. She demonstrates that Senegalese hip hop practice is defined not only through political engagement or social action but also through and against local musical practices that performatively re-inscribe the political and social systems that limit and contain youth. Bibliogr., notes, ref., summary in English and French. [Journal abstract]