Indigenous Hip-hop: overcoming marginality, encountering constraints.

TitleIndigenous Hip-hop: overcoming marginality, encountering constraints.
Publication TypeJournal Article
Year of Publication2010
AuthorsWarren A, Evitt R
Journal TitleAustralian Geographer
KeywordsIndigenous; young people; hip-hop; creativity; performance; patron discourses, marginalisation, Nowra, Torres Strait Islands

This paper discusses the creative and contemporary performances of young
Indigenous hip-hoppers in two seemingly disparate places (Nowra, NSW, and Torres Strait Islands, QLD). Visiting two Indigenous hip-hop groups from these places and drawing on interviews and participant observation we explore the way in which emerging technologies, festivals, programs and online networking have helped enable unique forms of music making. In contrast to racist discourses depicting Indigenous youth as idle or inactive, our research participants demonstrated musical aspiration, creativity and a desire to express love of country and culture. Rather than assume cities and urban centres are hubs for creativity, hip-hop production is geographically mobile, operating in locations removed from large population centres. Indigenous hip-hop links up-and-coming with more experienced performers in what amounts to a semi-formal, political,
transnational and anti-colonial creative industry. Geographical distance remains an ongoing challenge, but more than this, wider patron discourses framing what is expected from ‘proper’ Indigenous performance are the more profound coalface of marginalisation.