This essay analyzes the relationships between culture, power, and politics in contemporary Cuba through the lens of hip-hop. In particular, I look at the interactions between Cuban rappers, the Cuban socialist state, and diverse transnational networks in a moment of economic crisis, increasing racial disparities, and Cuba's changing global position. The essay explores how the Cuban state has harnessed the energy of the growing hip-hop movement as a way of bolstering its popularity; I highlight forms of appropriation and collaboration between transnational cultural forms and the nation-state that have generally been absent from accounts of cultural globalization. But I also suggest that Cuban rappers' participation in transnational networks allows these rappers some autonomy to continue promoting messages of racial egalitarianism and to develop alternative strategies in a moment of declining options for black youth.


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pp. 575-608
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