In Hip Hop Time: Music, Memory, and Social Change in Urban Senegal

Appert, Catherine M. (2018). In Hip Hop Time: Music, Memory, and Social Change in Urban Senegal. Oxford University Press.

Book Summary 

Though Hip Hop has its up’s and downs in the Africa diaspora world, Africans in the continent use Hip Hop to talk about real world issues in their country. According to Appert, Senegalese rappers use Hip Hop to dive into social justice, while using indigenous traditions. This indeed is keeping its culture intact in a modernized Africa perspective. Through the struggles of colonial politics, social issues, and religion; Dakar youth share their views on structural inequalities and false leaders. Also, the youth use Hip Hop culture to promote intellectualism amongst themselves, to develop their country. Using their interdisciplinary traditions, the growth for the society can be local and global.

“In Hip Hop Time goes beyond popular narratives of hip hop resistance to address Senegalese hip hop—Rap Galsen—as a musical movement deeply tied to indigenous performance practices and changing social norms in a modernizing Africa. This is a story of globalization, of diasporic movement and memory, of an imagined African past and contemporary African realities, of urbanization and socioeconomic struggle, and of the relationship between popular music and social change. The book takes readers from Senegalese hip hop’s beginnings among cosmopolitan youth in Dakar’s affluent neighborhoods in the 1980s, to its spread throughout the city’s ghettoized working-class neighborhoods in the mid- to late-1990s, and up to the present day, where political activism and hip hop musicality vie for position in local and global arenas. It connects these classed and generational shifts to postcolonial political, social, and religious structures, as well as to globally circulating narratives of Afrocentricity and Blackness. It shows how, through social networks constructed through and around a shared system of aesthetic values called hip hop, Senegalese youth negotiate gender, class, and family in the context of underdevelopment. An ethnography of the inextricability of musical and social meaning in hip hop practice, In Hip Hop Time charts new intellectual territory in a growing, interdisciplinary body of scholarship on hip hop in Africa and around the world.”

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