Race and authenticity in America, explored through the Bay Area's multiracial underground hip hop scene
Hip Hop Underground
The Integrity and Ethics of Racial Identification
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Anthony Kwame Harrison
Hip Hop Underground is a vivid ethnography of the author's observations and experiences in the multiracial world of the San Francisco underground hip hop scene. While Anthony Kwame Harrison interviewed area hip hop artists for this entertaining and informative book, he also performed as the emcee "Mad Squirrel." His immersion in the subculture provides him with unique insights into this dynamic and racially diverse but close-knit community.
Hip Hop Underground examines the changing nature of race among young Americans, and examines the issues of ethnic and racial identification, interaction, and understanding. Critiquing the notion that the Bay Area underground music scene is genuinely "colorblind," Harrison focuses on the issue of race to show how various ethnic groups engage hip hop in remarkably divergent waysas a means to both claim subcultural legitimacy and establish their racial authenticity.
"This is old-fashioned ethnography in the best sense: an ethnographer intimately familiar with the literature and the culture.... Harrison's analysis is nuanced and compelling.... An important, well-written work in hip-hop and ethnic studies scholarship. Summing Up: Essential."
"Joining the rank and file with these underground artists, Harrison is able to tell their stories more effectively…. Harrison resurrects the notion of a global hip hop underground that continues to be the heartbeat of hip hop as a legitimate culture. In a major anthropological move, Harrison suggests the use of his multiethnic, underground hip hop adventure as a nuanced vantage point from which serious cultural critics may rethink race politics in the United States."
"[I]t is an excellent read for those interested in hip hop, ethnographic methodology, and racial studies."
Also available in e-book
Introduction: A Walk in the Park