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‘What is the real hip hop?’
‘To whom does hip hop belong?’
‘For what constructive purposes can hip hop be put to use?’
These are three key questions posed by hip hop activists in Hip Hop Versus Rap, which explores the politics of cultural authenticity, ownership, and uplift in London’s post-hip hop scene. The book is an ethnographic study of the identity, role, formation, and practices of the organic intellectuals that populate and propagate this ‘conscious’ hip hop milieu. Turner provides an insightful examination of the work of artists and practitioners who use hip hop ‘off-street’ in the spheres of youth work, education, and theatre to raise consciousness and to develop artistic and personal skills. Hip Hop Versus Rap seeks to portray how cultural activism, which styles itself grassroots and mature, is framed around a discursive opposition between what is authentic and ethical in hip hop culture and what is counterfeit and corrupt. Turner identifies that this play of difference, framed as an ethical schism, also presents hip hop’s organic intellectuals with a narrative that enables them to align their insurgent values with those of policy and to thereby receive institutional support.
This enlightening volume will be of interest to post-graduates and scholars interested in hip hop studies; youth work; critical pedagogy; young people and crime/justice; the politics of race/racism; the politics of youth/education; urban governance; social movement studies; street culture studies; and vernacular studies.