Abstract

Hip-hop, created by black and Latino youth in the mid-1970s on the East Coast of the United States, is now represented throughout the world. The form's core elements – rapping, deejaying, breaking (dance), and graffiti art – now join an ever-growing and diversifying range of artistic, cultural, intellectual, political, and social practices, products, and performances. The artistic achievements of hip-hop represent a remarkable contribution to world culture; however, the “hip-hop nation” has created not just art and entertainment, but art with the vision and message of changing the world – locally, nationally, and globally. International representations of hip-hop capture and reinterpret hip-hop's history by incorporating local as well as African American aesthetic, cultural, social, and political models. This essay examines the global movement of the hip-hop nation and its artistic incorporation into global youth culture. It considers how that movement is both a social and political process that integrates symbols of African American culture and political struggle.

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