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Filipinos Represent

DJs, Racial Authenticity, and the Hip-hop Nation

Antonio T. Tiongson Jr.

Publication Year: 2013

The “Hip-hop Nation” has been scouted, staked out, and settled by journalists and scholars alike. Antonio T. Tiongson Jr. steps into this well-mapped territory with questions aimed at interrogating how nation is conceptualized within the context of hip-hop. What happens, Tiongson asks, to notions of authenticity based on hip-hop’s apparent blackness when Filipino youth make hip-hop their own?

Tiongson draws on interviews with Bay Area–based Filipino American DJs to explore the authenticating strategies they rely on to carve out a niche within DJ culture. He shows how Filipino American youth involvement in DJing reconfigures the normal boundaries of Filipinoness predicated on nostalgia and cultural links with an idealized homeland. Filipinos Represent makes the case that while the engagement of Filipino youth with DJ culture speaks to the broadening racial scope of hip-hop—and of what it means to be Filipino—such involvement is also problematic in that it upholds deracialized accounts of hip-hop and renders difference benign.

Looking at the ways in which Filipino DJs legitimize their place in an expressive form historically associated with African Americans, Tiongson examines what these complex forms of identification reveal about the contours and trajectory of contemporary U.S. racial formations and discourses in the post–civil rights era.

Published by: University of Minnesota Press

Title Page, Copyright Page

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pp. 2-5


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pp. v-vi

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pp. vii-x

First and foremost, I want to thank my mother—affectionately known as “Malou” to her friends—for her steadfast love and support at every stage of my career in academia. This book is dedicated to her. I also want to acknowledge Mian, Papa (R.I.P.), Tita Lil, Tito Fred, and the Ramos and Cunanan families for their support through the years, ...

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Introduction: Claiming Hip-hop

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pp. xi-xxiv

On September 7, 1997, the International Turntablist Federation (ITF) held its second annual World Championships at the Palace of Fine Arts in San Francisco in various skill categories: scratching, beat juggling, team or DJ bands, and best all around.1 In all these categories, Filipino DJs made up the bulk of the competitors, ...

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1. The African Americanization of Hip-hop

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pp. 1-16

In recent years, scholarly and popular discourse addressing hip-hop and its various articulations has grown exponentially to the point where there is now a fairly substantial body of work that can be categorized under the rubric of “hip-hop studies.” The growth of this literature, however, has not proven to be seamless. ...

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2. The Racialization of DJ Culture

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pp. 17-32

In the ongoing debate over the racial scope and boundaries of hip-hop it has been underspecified how the African Americanization of hip-hop has largely been an uneven process with particular elements (i.e., MCing and DJing) more closely aligned to blackness at particular historical moments, ...

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3. “The Scratching Is What Got Me Hooked”: Filipino American DJs in the Bay Area

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pp. 33-48

Filipino youth involvement within DJing only makes sense in relation to the cultural landscape of the Bay Area. It is very much a function of developments specific to the region at a particular historical juncture. In particular, the DJs I interviewed were very much influenced, one way or the other, by the burgeoning mobile DJ scene ...

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4. “DJing as a Filipino Thing”: Negotiating Questions of Race

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pp. 49-64

The DJs I interviewed are well aware of the history of hip-hop, or what has come to be constructed as the conventional narrative of hip-hop. They are very much aware of the racialized discourses that have come to define the contours of hip-hop, and they acknowledge hip-hop’s black antecedents and subscribe to the notion ...

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5. The Normative Boundaries of Filipinoness

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pp. 65-88

In claiming hip-hop as their own, the DJs I interviewed are engaging in a practice that is not completely new. Instead, these DJs are building on a tradition when they look to new cultural options and alternatives and claim as their own an expressive form not considered Filipino in a way that speaks to their specific circumstances and concerns. ...

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Conclusion: Reimagining the Hip-hop Nation

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pp. 89-102

It has now become commonplace to refer to hip-hop and its constituency as part of a nation: the hip-hop nation. In an article on hip-hop nationalism, Jeffrey Louis Decker traces the initial usage of the phrase “hip-hop nation” to a Village Voice article published January 19, 1988. ...


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pp. 103-118


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pp. 119-126

E-ISBN-13: 9780816687831
E-ISBN-10: 0816687838
Print-ISBN-13: 9780816679393

Page Count: 152
Publication Year: 2013