Friday, April 21, 2006

Holy Culture   posted by Matoko Kusanagi @ 4/21/2006 07:28:00 AM

A week ago I was in a hiphop dance workshop, and the weekend submersion in hiphop culture reminded me of this OSR post on the globalization of hiphop. Today this seems pretty relelvent, witness this lgf posting.
But the global appeal of hiphop is not exclusive to Palestinian youth--hiphop culture appeals to marginalized youth everywhere.
Where hiphop culture enters a society, it tends to become the youth culture of the society. I'm a J-horror otaku-- in the opening frames of Ju-Rei (the uncanny!) we see a quadrette of japanese schoolgirls street dancing in front of a darkened Tokyo storefront window (right before the Dark-Shadowed-Girl eats them up). In chapter nine of Global Noise, Ian Condry surveys the japanese hip-hop scene. In Japan, street dance first introduced hiphop culture to japanese youth. There is not a single mention of crack in any japanese lyric-- instead J-hiphop focuses on the commerciality of japanese society and the tension between club scene hiphop culture (heaven) and school/work culture (hell). Dance introduced hiphop culture to Korea as well. In Korea, becoming a "dancing hero" is a dream of escape from poverty for young Korean men.

What I find most exciting about the globalization of hiphop, is the idea of an emerging popular global culture, cross-fertilization and the idea of "flow", that the boundaries of nation, culture, race, and language are becoming permeable. A medium of expression for youth culture that doesn't feature broken shop windows and burning cars. I'd rather have disaffected arab youth become rappers than suicide bombers anyday.

And the idea that any marginalized youth culture group can express themselves through hiphop is wonderfully hopeful to me. For example, fundamentalist christian youth in America could be considered a marginalized group among their peers. They advocate abstenance and modest dress and virginity. Yet even the fundies can exploit this medium. The title of this post comes from one of my favorite hiphop albums-- Holy Culture by the Cross Movement. I've made two dances on the songs so far--their flavor is hot!! This is from Rise Up. And yes, emminently danceable.
We're goin' live this life
We're goin' live it right
Not just talk it but walk it cause we're goin' live for Christ
We're goin' hold it down, stone cold, hold our ground
All my soldiers

Stay tuned for the next installment-- Islamic Hiphop versus Islamophobia: Hiphop Culture in MENA