This article focuses on one aspect of Moroccan hip hop performance, rappers’ “stage talk” (), to argue that performers and audiences co-construct a counterpublic with both discursive and affective powers through their responses to music and sound. I show that hip hop musicians’ stage talk simultaneously educates and disciplines the audience, providing models of “authentic” hip hop comportment while orienting the audience’s listening in a manner consistent with the position on music most prevalent among Moroccan Muslims. This article argues that learning through listening together enables practitioners to create a hip hop counterpublic that is at once ethical and open to wide variations in expressions of piety. In the context of spiritual and cultural traditions in which embodied listening does significant ethical work, learning to participate in the discourse that performers’ stage talk invokes allows musicians and audience members alike to undertake the affective work necessary to form a counterpublic, however ephemeral, with its own comportment, expressions, and values. However, an analysis of live hip hop performances shows that the emergent hip hop counterpublic joins its structural critiques to personal responsibility, shifting the response to these issues from the terrain of the political to that of the personal. By casting solutions to these problems in ethical terms, hip hop performances invoke the rights of individual citizens, rather than political or class-based solidarities, as the locus of action, thus encouraging the audience member to take him- or herself as the terrain of change and improvement.


Additional Information

Print ISSN
pp. 1017-1048
Launched on MUSE
Open Access
Back To Top

This website uses cookies to ensure you get the best experience on our website. Without cookies your experience may not be seamless.