Performing the four elements (Breakdancing, Graffiti, DJing & MCing): From hip hop culture, to rap music

Graduate Thesis uoadl:2938878 8 Read counter

Department of Music Studies
Library of the School of Philosophy
Deposit date:
Paraoulakis Emmanouil
Supervisors info:
Λαλιώτη Βασιλική, μ. Επίκουρη Καθηγήτρια, Τμήμα Μουσικών Σπουδών, Ε.Κ.Π.Α.
Παπαπαύλου Μαρία, Αναπληρώτρια Καθηγήτρια, Τμήμα Μουσικών Σπουδών, Ε.Κ.Π.Α.
Πουλάκης Νίκος, ΕΔΙΠ, Τμήμα Μουσικών Σπουδών, Ε.Κ.Π.Α.
Original Title:
Επιτελώντας τα τέσσερα στοιχεία (Breakdancing, Graffiti, DJing & MCing): Από την κουλτούρα του χιπ χοπ, στη ραπ μουσική
Translated title:
Performing the four elements (Breakdancing, Graffiti, DJing & MCing): From hip hop culture, to rap music
The aim of this study is to use performance theory in order to examine how hip hop culture has been constructed in different times and places. I focus on the four elements (Breakdancing, Graffiti, Djing & MCing) as parts of the culture, since they constitute four different but interrelated forms of performance (dancing, painting, music production and singing) in a specific cultural context. Firstly, I review the ethnographic literature on hip hop; and I identify the basic theoretical and methodological questions, subjects and approaches from the points of view of Ethnomusicology and Anthropology. Then, I highlight the most important people, events and concepts linked to the birth of hip hop culture in Bronx, NYC, and the wide spreading of rap music, in the way it was formed in Los Angeles and the periphery of the US from the early 1970’s to 2000. I use the triple distinction of the term hip hop made by J. Schloss (2009), which includes hip hop culture, rap music and the way it is used as a demographic definition. This allows me to examine the interaction and the transformation of the four elements, as well as how they relate to the idea of authenticity and the evolution of the music media. In its early years, hip hop was identified with the performance of the four elements. My argument is that when hip hop became integrated into the music industry in 1979, record labels shaped its image, content and traits. Hip hop became identified with rap music through a selection of specific traits from gang and popular culture, as well as from traditions of the African diaspora. However, the ethnographic studies of hip hop cultures, which were conducted during the past twenty years, highlight how hip hop has been appropriated, given meaning and functioned at a local context, often bypassing music industry. Finally, I focus on the consumption and appropriation of hip hop in Greece, and especially in Athens, from the late 1980’s to the mid 2000’s. Since 2010, the rise of the internet, new musical technologies and social networks have reinforced the production of music in home studios, as well as the direct contact and feedback between performers and audience members, allowing the latter to actively participate in the creative process. This has led to broader change in the terms and the ways in which music is nowadays produced, distributed and reproduced.
Main subject category:
Geography - Anthropology - Folklore
Hip hop culture, Rap music, Performance Theory, Popular Music, Breakdancing, Graffiti, DJing, MCing
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