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Hip Hop Ukraine

Music, Race, and African Migration

Adriana N. Helbig

Publication Year: 2014

In Hip Hop Ukraine, we enter a world of urban music and dance competitions, hip hop parties, and recording studio culture to explore unique sites of interracial encounters among African students, African immigrants, and local populations in Ukraine. Adriana N. Helbig combines ethnographic research with music, media, and policy analysis to examine how localized forms of hip hop create social and political spaces where an interracial youth culture can speak to issues of human rights and racial equality. She maps the complex trajectories of musical influence–African, Soviet, American–to show how hip hop has become a site of social protest in post-socialist society and a vehicle for social change.

Published by: Indiana University Press

Series: Ethnomusicology Multimedia


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Title Page, Frontispiece, Copyright, Dedication

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pp. i-vi


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pp. vii-viii

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Ethnomusicology Multimedia Series Preface

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pp. ix-xii

Each of the audio, video, or still image media examples listed below is associated with specific passages in this book, and each example has been assigned a unique Persistent Uniform Resource Locator, or PURL. The PURL identifies a specific audio, video, or still image media example on the Ethnomusicology...

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pp. xiii-xxii

The research presented here has been funded by grants from the 2007 Advanced Research Fellowship from the American Councils for International Education, the International Research and Exchange Board (IREX) 2007–2008 Individual Advanced Research Opportunities Program, the 2008 National Endowment for the Humanities Collaborative Fellowship Program,...

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pp. 1-32

Just as popular music from the United States has had a major impact on the development of popular music throughout the world, so its philosophies have inspired social and political movements worldwide. Hip hop, in its historical association with African American culture, has had a profound influence on cultural changes, civil rights movements, social developments, political situations, and globalizing cultural processes throughout the world. Numerous...

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1 Music and Black Identity in the Soviet Union

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pp. 33-63

People who move to former Soviet spaces from the African continent face specific challenges that cannot be compared with experiences of other immigrants, due to the historical relationships between the Russian Empire (and later the Soviet Union) and Africa that continue to influence attitudes toward blackness and race. This chapter offers a brief overview of the changing attitudes...

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2 Music and Black Experiences in Post-Soviet Ukraine

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pp. 64-97

64 Contemporary migration patterns place Ukraine as the fourth-largest immigrant-receiving nation-state in the world, following the United States, the Russian Federation, and Germany (Mansoor and Quillin 2006, 3). In a 2005 study conducted by the United Nations Department of Economic and Social Affairs Population Division, 6,833,000 foreign-born people were residing in...

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3 Commercial and Underground Hip Hop in Ukraine

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pp. 98-134

In any analysis of appropriated genres, it is important to identify their understandings in particular locales. Michael Urban’s study on the blues in Russia shows that the blues, known as a musical expression of black people in the southern United States, functions as an expression of class distinction among the Russian nouveau riche through its association with American culture...

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4 Afro-Ukrainian Hip Hop Fusion

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pp. 135-164

Against a historical backdrop that positions Africans as only temporary residents who are distinctly Other in post-Soviet society, some African musicians perform in Ukrainian folk costumes, seemingly repositioning immigrants as potential citizens who are willing to assimilate and adopt the cultural practices of Ukraine. The involvement of African musicians in Ukraine’s...

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5 Hip Hop in Uganda

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pp. 165-189

The more time I spent with African musicians in Ukraine, the more I realized the importance of traveling to East Africa to close the loop for myself, so to speak, and to be part of their musical and social experiences at home and abroad. Familiarizing myself with hip hop in Africa through documentary films, YouTube, ethnomusicological research, and fieldwork in Uganda,...

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pp. 190-194

The publication process is such that once an ethnography goes to print, the social phenomena described in it have already changed, with actors growing up, moving on, and becoming involved in new cultural productions. Ukrainian-language folk music fusions have begun incorporating Russian-language pop music influences, mirroring changes in Ukraine’s language laws that make...


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pp. 195-198


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pp. 199-206


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pp. 207-218


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pp. 219-234

About the Author

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pp. 235-235

E-ISBN-13: 9780253012081
E-ISBN-10: 0253012082
Print-ISBN-13: 9780253012043

Page Count: 258
Illustrations: 16 b&w illus.
Publication Year: 2014

Series Title: Ethnomusicology Multimedia
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OCLC Number: 878405930
MUSE Marc Record: Download for Hip Hop Ukraine

Research Areas


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Subject Headings

  • Rap (Music) -- Ukraine -- History and criticism.
  • Hip-hop -- Ukraine.
  • Blacks -- Race identity -- Ukraine.
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