Zai Beijing: A Cultural Study of Hip Hop

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Zai Beijing: A Cultural Study of Hip Hop

Author: Angela Diane Steele

Excerpt online at Stanford University

Abstract

From urban hipsters spending their nights in the clubs dancing and drinking to the sounds of Hip Hop, to Bboys sweating out their days perfecting power moves in the studio, the seeds of Hip Hop culture are sprouting throughout Beijing. Hip Hop emerged around the year 2000 and currently a small number of casual consumers and cultural producers create, support, and maintain Hip Hop culture. Despite its fledgling status, Hip Hop has already influenced popular music, youth fashion, entertainment culture, and corporate marketing. This work will answer many questions concerning the establishment and growth of Hip Hop culture in Beijing. I posit Hip Hop as an object of cultural study and use the circuit of culture model introduced by Paul du Gay et. al in the book Doing Cultural Studies: The Story of the Sony Walkman to explore the ways in which articulations of representation, identity, production, consumption, and regulation operate within four distinct categories - translation, localization, racialization, and resistance. I map the original sources of Hip Hop in Beijing and argue that consumption is valuable for the growth of Hip Hop culture. I analyze the performance of Hip Hop and argue that sites of locality lie within language, message, and style. Situating Hip Hop within Chinese racialism and the racialization of Hip Hop as a Black art, I argue that the production of Blackness is involved in the construction of style and that articulations of race perpetuate the Chinese race-nation paradigm. Lastly, I expose how Hip Hop artists navigate government censorship and argue that Hip Hop has potential to affect change in the lives of Beijing youth. This work is important for establishing a method for examining Hip Hop culture, exploring shifting cultural forces in Beijing, contributing to the canon of Hip Hop scholarship. - Angela Diane Steele


Download the thesis

With kind permission of Angela Steele, Rock in China hereby presents the original thesis for download.