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Hip-Hop Quebec: Self and Synthesis

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This article draws on premises (cf. Tony Mitchell, Adam Krims) that hip hop and rap are now global phenomena and that the “localizing” of original forms has led to distinctive synthetic versions worthy of separate analysis. In Quebec, a francophone province of Canada, the lines of influence are complex, given that first impulses may come from African-American sources by way of France, and include immigrant cultural dynamics along with the unique urban characteristics of Montreal and other cities in Quebec. The best rappers filter external sources and synthesize them with culturally specific references, resulting in artifacts representative of both individual creative and oppositional expression and the dynamic inherent in contemporary multicultural society. This article makes extensive use of primary sources (interviews with artists, concert attendance, lyric analysis) as well as scholarly references to support the notion that hip-hop culture in Quebec serves both to introduce innovative trends from abroad and as a canvas on which to paint the stories of individuals and subcultures unique to Quebec.

Document Type: Research Article


Publication date: May 1, 2011


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