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The Africanist Aesthetic in Global Hip-Hop: Power Moves Hardcover – January 9, 2007

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The Africanist Aesthetic in Global Hip-Hop: Power Moves + Beats, Rhymes, and Classroom Life: Hip-Hop Pedagogy and the Politics of Identity + Global Linguistic Flows: Hip Hop Cultures, Youth Identities, and the Politics of Language
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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 232 pages
  • Publisher: Palgrave Macmillan; First Edition edition (January 9, 2007)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1403976309
  • ISBN-13: 978-1403976307
  • Product Dimensions: 5.5 x 0.7 x 8.5 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 12.8 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (1 customer review)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #684,529 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews


"Now in the time where corporations have extracted the economic DNA of American hip-hop to fuel their bottom line with the lowest common denominator, Halifu Osumare's reach into the global importance of the genre is a much needed cultural reclamation. With the power of rap music as a new world language, hip-hop's style and substance is an explosive supplement to the new millennium that is currently lacking knowledge on world cultural and social history, as well as geography. The Africanist Aesthetic in Global Hip-Hop gives us a way to plough through these new global dynamics."
--Chuck D, Public Enemy 
"It may seem as though hip-hop has suddenly gone global, but Halifu Osumare’s The Africanist Aesthetic in Global Hip-Hop is a timely and important reminder that hip-hop has always lived in a world larger than the boundaries we impose upon it."
--Mark Anthony Neal, Associate Professor of Black Popular Culture, and co-editor, That’s the Joint!: The Hip-Hop Studies Reader
"Halifu Osumare's work—a power move in and of itself—compels us to acknowledge the power of technology and capitalism to co-opt and transform a culture-specific phenomenon into a global assault—for better or worse. It is required reading for those of us interested in the social, political, and cultural shifts that shake and quake our worlds. Highly recommended."
--Brenda Dixon Gottschild, author of The Black Dancing Body, Waltzing in the Dark, and Digging The Africanist Presence in American Culture
"Osumare provides compelling evidence of a global diaspora of hip-hop. Layered yet conversational text assumes more than passing familiarity with cultural theorists whom Osumare discusses alongside rap artists... Highly recommended." —CHOICE
"[A] reminder that the global is at the heart of hip-hop culture, which from the start has borrowed, appropriated, and sampled from cultures around the world." --Sujatha Fernandes, Queens College, City University of New York

About the Author

Halifu Osumare has been involved with dance and African American cultural studies internationally for over thirty years as a dancer, choreographer, teacher, administrator and scholar. She grew up in San Francisco, California and did much of her initial artistic and academic work in Oakland.  She holds a M.A. in Dance Ethnology and a Ph.D. in American Studies from the University of Hawaii at Manoa.  She is currently Associate Professor of African American and African Studies at University of California, Davis.  She has also had academic appointments at Green State University in Ohio (2000-2005) and at Stanford University (1981-1993).   As a dance educator, she is protégé of Katherine Dunham and is a certified teacher of her technique.  As an arts administrator she was the Founder of CitiCentre Dance Theatre in Oakland, as well as the Founder of the national dance initiative Black Choreographers Moving Toward the 21st Century that took place from 1989-1992 in San Francisco, Los Angeles, and San Diego.  Osumare has always seen the performing arts and the humanities as inextricably linked, and her approach to hip hop scholarship encompasses this vision.  She has published on global hip hop in the Journal of American & Comparative Studies, Columbia Journal of American Studies, and Dance Research Journal and also has chapters on the Africanist aesthetic in global hip hop in Black Cultural Traffic: Crossroads in Global Performance and Popular Culture (2005) and Marvels of the African World: Cultural Patrimony, New World Connections, and Identities (2003).

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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By Elijah Wald on November 8, 2011
Format: Paperback
I have been recently studying the literature on global hip-hop, and have often been troubled by how many writers seem to be satisfied just listening to records and writing about them, without doing any ethnographic research--and, even when they do such research, only talking with their favorite artists. So I was particularly grateful for the depth of Osumare's work. For example, she applauds the Hawaiian rap group Sudden Rush for using Hawaiian chants and discussing local political issues in their work--as writers typically do when covering international hip-hop--but most writers leave me wondering, "So what do local rap fans think of this? Are most of them listening to Snoop Dogg or 50 Cent instead of the people the writer loves?" And there it is, two pages later Osumare is writing about what local high school students think of Sudden Rush, and finds that they mostly prefer gangsta rap, a fact that she follows with a nuanced discussion of possible reasons and influences.

I have found few if any other books that both celebrate hip-hop's spread around the globe and allow local voices so much space to articulate their views--including the view that the local spread is just an imitation, and the "real" hip-hop is still coming from African Americans. I have no stake in either side of the "authenticity" debates, but am terribly tired of academics acting as if they have found the key to hip-hop authenticity (whether on the streets of the US or in New Zealand), so it was a great relief to read someone approaching these issues with an open mind and telling me what local listeners thought.
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