The Chican@ Hip Hop Nation
Politics of a New Millennial Mestizaje
Publication Year: 2013
Published by: Michigan State University Press
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Title Page, Copyright
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Music has long been a part of rebellion and revolution in society, and it was part of both the American and the French Revolution. Years later, the spiritual songs of African Americans helped guide runaway slaves to the North, eluding pursuers and ultimately capture and a return to slave status. In the 1930s and ’40s, Woody Guthrie and other musicians sang about the lives of the less fortunate in...
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The Chican@ Hip Hop Nation: Politics of a New Millennial Mestizaje developed as a means to answer a number of questions that I have been asking for many years. As a light-skinned Chicano with an Irish father and last name, I have recognized the diversity within the Mexican-origin population for as long as I can remember and have felt strangely uncomfortable with the racial orthodoxy that...
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I. Setting the Theoretical Context
1. Quién es más macho? Quién es más Mexicano?: Chican@ and Mexican@ Identities in Rap
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Juan Zarate’s song “Café,” examining the identities and ethno-racial history of people of Mexican descent in the United States, is my starting point for an examination of how a late twentieth- and early twenty-first-century generation of Mexicans in the United States understand themselves. I examine hip-hop as an important site of Chican@/Mexican@ identity construction and self-representation...
2. Barrio Logos: The Sacred and Profane Word of Chicano Emcees
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Logos is the word. It is truth. It is reason. It is the logic by which a people understand their world. It is epistemology, a way of knowing. Th e word is sacred. In the Popol Vuh the world was created through the act of speaking; so, too, in the Bible. Allah revealed the Qur’an to the Prophet Muhammad orally and in rhymed prose. Muslims sing their word prayers. Chican@/Mexican@ emcees, like...
II. Identities Old and New
3. Sonido Indígena: Mexica Hip-Hop and Masculine Identity
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Many Chican@/Mexican@ hip-hop musicians identify racially and ethnically as indigenous and/or Mexica.1 Their music reflects the spiritual and political identity first broadly developed in the mid-1960s by militant Chican@ youth, particularly influenced by Rodolfo “Corky” Gonzalez’s poem “Yo Soy Joaquin.” Th ese artists update and add to Chican@ indigenism from their position in the...
4. Paísas, Compas, Inmigrantes: Mexicanidad in Hip-Hop
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This chapter seeks to address similar questions as the previous. Here, instead of a neo-indigenist Mexican diasporic youth identity, I examine what I call a Mexican national identity and an immigrant identity. Mexican-born youth who have spent most of their lives in the United States (the 1.5 generation) have concerns and issues that diff er from the urban Chicano neo-indigenous youth or other U.S.-born...
5. Barrio Locos: Street Hop and Amerikan Identity
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The very existence of the Chican@/Mexican@ presents a challenge to “America.” Th eir existence means the United States has to deal with its colonial past. Th ese descendants of Native American people were on this continent first. In order to understand their existence, one must understand conquest, the taming of the West, the Mexican-American War, and racism. To avoid this unpleasant reality, the...
III. Mexicanidad, Africanidad
6. Multiracial Macho: Kemo the Blaxican’s Hip-Hop Masculinity
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A Día de los Muertos calavera with the name Blaxican is the dominant image on the inside cover art for Kemo the Blaxican’s second CD, Not So Rich and Famous (2007). Th e artist reproduces the skull repeatedly as the central figure on a new one dollar bill. Th e skull looks a great deal like Kemo himself as photographed in the liner notes to the CD: afro, prominent eyes, and goatee. The dollar identifies and...
7. The Rap on Chicano/Mexicano and Black Masculinity: Gender and Cross-Cultural Exchange
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The lyrics of black and Chicano/Mexicano rap artists present a number of images of manhood. Th is chapter examines how these artists characterize the actions of men, and how they define masculinity. Our analysis of lyrics to popular rap music from 1990 to 2002 shows that black and Chicano/Mexicano rap artists both challenge and affirm the dominant construct of masculinity and male power. We...
8. “Soy la Kalle”: Radio, Reggaetón, and Latin@ Identity
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On any given day during the winter and spring of 2006, Don Omar’s anthem “Reggaetón Latino” would boom from hundreds of car stereos in South Chicago, Humboldt Park, Pilsen, and elsewhere in Chicago. Young Latin@s tuned into WVIV/WVIX, “La Kalle,” heard Don Omar and collaborators proclaim the power of reggaetón, which in their words is the voice that represents Latin@s...
IV. Hip-Hop and Justice
9. Teaching Hip-Hop: A Pedagogy for Social Justice
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Education does more than help students memorize facts and formulas or prepare them for the workforce. It builds identity and prepares us for citizenship. Students of color have been denied opportunities to create and experiment with identity in Eurocentric classrooms that rarely affirm the existence and importance of African, American indigenous, Asian, and mixed-race peoples. Moreover, in a hostile...
Afterword: Hip-Hop and Freedom-Dreaming in the Mexican Diaspora
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In 1991 revolutionary rap group Public Enemy refused to perform in the state of Arizona as long as that state did not recognize the Reverend Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. holiday. Their song “By the Time I Get to Arizona” reflects an important moment in anticolonial, anticapitalist politics in the United States. The song reflects the culture wars and ideological battles that roiled the United States during...
Appendix: Music Sources
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Page Count: 314
Publication Year: 2013