Hip‐hop Urbanism Old and New


The sustained connection between hip‐hop and urban identity stems in part from the origins of hip‐hop culture in post‐industrial American cities during the late twentieth century. But hip‐hop urbanism cannot be reduced to nostalgia or respect for previous traditions, as changing spatial demographics and the evolution of hip‐hop production and consumption force a disaggregation and reconsideration of ‘urban music’. Contemporary hip‐hop research in the United States must focus not only on the black and Latino communities responsible for hip‐hop’s genesis, but on modern‐day race‐ and class‐based power dynamics, as well as on communities and social networks that are not typically considered urban. Ethnographers are especially well‐positioned to lead this field, thanks to methodological and theoretical tools that allow them to focus on smaller and emergent musical communities in flux.