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The Chican@ Hip Hop Nation: Politics of a New Millennial Mestizaje

Copyright Date: 2013
Pages: 300
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  • Book Info
    The Chican@ Hip Hop Nation
    Book Description:

    The population of Mexican-origin peoples in the United States is a diverse one, as reflected by age, class, gender, sexuality, and religion. Far from antiquated concepts ofmestizaje,recent scholarship has shown that Mexican@/Chican@ culture is a mixture of indigenous, African, and Spanish and other European peoples and cultures. No one reflects this rich blend of cultures better than Chican@ rappers, whose lyrics and iconography can help to deepen our understanding of what it means to be Chican@ or Mexican@ today. While some identify as Mexican mestizos, others identify as indigenous people or base their identities on their class and racial/ethnic makeup. No less significant is the intimate level of contact between Chican@s and black Americans. Via a firm theoretical foundation, Pancho McFarland explores the language and ethos of Chican@/Mexican@ hip hop and sheds new light on three distinct identities reflected in the music: indigenous/Mexica, Mexican nationalist/immigrant, and street hopper. With particular attention to the intersection of black and Chicano cultures, the author places exciting recent developments in music forms within the context of progressive social change, social justice, identity, and a new transnational, polycultural America.

    eISBN: 978-1-60917-375-3
    Subjects: Sociology, Music

Table of Contents

  1. Front Matter
    (pp. i-iv)
  2. Table of Contents
    (pp. v-vi)
  3. Foreword
    (pp. vii-x)

    Music has long been a part of rebellion and revolution in society, and it was part of both the American and the French Revolution. Years later, the spiritual songs of African Americans helped guide runaway slaves to the North, eluding pursuers and ultimately capture and a return to slave status. In the 1930s and ’40s, Woody Guthrie and other musicians sang about the lives of the less fortunate in society. A decade later the Beat Generation came into prominence and influenced the countercultures of the 1960s, when musicians took rock ’n’ roll music to anti-war protest movements and moved a...

  4. Preface
    (pp. xi-xviii)
  5. Acknowledgments
    (pp. xix-xx)

    • CHAPTER 1 Quién es más macho? Quién es más Mexicano?: Chican@ and Mexican@ Identities in Rap
      (pp. 3-26)

      Juan Zarate’s song “Café,” examining the identities and ethno-racial history of people of Mexican descent in the United States, is my starting point for an examination of how a late twentieth- and early twenty-first-century generation of Mexicans in the United States understand themselves. I examine hip-hop as an important site of Chican@/Mexican@ identity construction and self-representation because as Bejarano (2007, 38) shows in her analysis of Chican@ and Mexican@ high-schoolers, “Youth cultures provide outlets where Mexicana/o and Chicana/o youths culturally perform their ‘Mexicanness’ or ‘Chicanismo.’ It is also the location where they become immersed in the politics and performance of...

    • CHAPTER 2 Barrio Logos: The Sacred and Profane Word of Chicano Emcees
      (pp. 27-54)

      Logos is the word. It is truth. It is reason. It is the logic by which a people understand their world. It is epistemology, a way of knowing. The word is sacred. In the Popol Vuh the world was created through the act of speaking; so, too, in the Bible. Allah revealed the Qur’an to the Prophet Muhammad orally and in rhymed prose. Muslims sing their word prayers. Chican@/Mexican@ emcees, like their indigenous ancestors, sing their poems. Chicano rap is twenty-first-centuryflor y canto, flower and song (Arteaga 1997). While not always pretty, it is beautiful speaking that comes from...


    • CHAPTER 3 Sonido Indígena: Mexica Hip-Hop and Masculine Identity
      (pp. 57-80)

      Many Chican@/Mexican@ hip-hop musicians identify racially and ethnically as indigenous and/or Mexica.¹ Their music reflects the spiritual and political identity first broadly developed in the mid-1960s by militant Chican@ youth, particularly influenced by Rodolfo “Corky” Gonzalez’s poem “Yo Soy Joaquin.” These artists update and add to Chican@ indigenism from their position in the postindustrial inner city, where hip-hop culture has had a profound impact on their worldview and consciousness. In true hip-hop style, and with Chican@ revolutionary rhetoric, many artists define themselves in opposition to the white, colonialist power structure while claiming an indigenous heritage linked closely to positive and...

    • CHAPTER 4 Paísas, Compas, Inmigrantes: Mexicanidad in Hip-Hop
      (pp. 81-118)

      This chapter seeks to address similar questions as the previous. Here, instead of a neo-indigenist Mexican diasporic youth identity, I examine what I call a Mexican national identity and an immigrant identity. Mexican-born youth who have spent most of their lives in the United States (the 1.5 generation) have concerns and issues that differ from the urban Chicano neo-indigenous youth or other U.S.-born youth of Mexican descent. While they have much in common with the Chicano segment of people of Mexican descent, their residency status, proximity to Mexican culture, and experiences with U.S. institutions such as education and immigration agencies...

    • CHAPTER 5 Barrio Locos: Street Hop and Amerikan Identity
      (pp. 119-154)

      The very existence of the Chican@/Mexican@ presents a challenge to “America.” Their existence means the United States has to deal with its colonial past. These descendants of Native American people were on this continent first. In order to understand their existence, one must understand conquest, the taming of the West, the Mexican-American War, and racism. To avoid this unpleasant reality, the Chican@/Mexican@ becomes forever foreign in the eyes of dominant group members. Making them foreign and not quite American allows the dominant discourse on the United States or “America” to be filled with ideals such as democracy, opportunity, and freedom....


    • CHAPTER 6 Multiracial Macho: Kemo the Blaxican’s Hip-Hop Masculinity
      (pp. 157-174)

      ADía de los Muertos calaverawith the name Blaxican is the dominant image on the inside cover art for Kemo the Blaxican’s second CD,Not So Rich and Famous(2007). The artist reproduces the skull repeatedly as the central figure on a new one dollar bill. The skull looks a great deal like Kemo himself as photographed in the liner notes to the CD: afro, prominent eyes, and goatee. The dollar identifies and dates its production as DS 032007 (for Kemo’s production company, Dead Silence Records, March 2007). The dollar bill further comments on life as a working-class man...

    • CHAPTER 7 The Rap on Chicano/Mexicano and Black Masculinity: Gender and Cross-Cultural Exchange
      (pp. 175-194)

      The lyrics of black and Chicano/Mexicano rap artists present a number of images of manhood. This chapter examines how these artists characterize the actions of men, and how they define masculinity. Our analysis of lyrics to popular rap music from 1990 to 2002 shows that black and Chicano/Mexicano rap artists both challenge and affirm the dominant construct of masculinity and male power. We discuss the manner in which they perform masculinity to explain how and why the embracing of hypermasculine stereotypes is reflective of marginalized groups’ desire to resist their subordinate status and unequal male privilege. In order to contribute...

    • CHAPTER 8 “Soy la Kalle”: Radio, Reggaetón, and Latin@ Identity
      (pp. 195-218)

      On any given day during the winter and spring of 2006, Don Omar’s anthem “Reggaetón Latino” would boom from hundreds of car stereos in South Chicago, Humboldt Park, Pilsen, and elsewhere in Chicago. Young Latin@s tuned into WVIV/WVIX, “La Kalle,” heard Don Omar and collaborators proclaim the power ofreggaetón, which in their words is the voice that represents Latin@s (orla raza cósmica). Punctuating Omar’s claim, La Kalle DJs ask callers, “Quién eres?” (Who are you?). Listeners respond: “Soy Mexico, Soy la Kalle” (I’m Mexico, I’m La Kalle) or “Soy Boricua, Soy la Kalle” (I’m Puerto Rican, I’m La...


    • CHAPTER 9 Teaching Hip-Hop: A Pedagogy for Social Justice
      (pp. 221-246)

      Education does more than help students memorize facts and formulas or prepare them for the workforce. It builds identity and prepares us for citizenship. Students of color have been denied opportunities to create and experiment with identity in Eurocentric classrooms that rarely affirm the existence and importance of African, American indigenous, Asian, and mixed-race peoples. Moreover, in a hostile environment where there have been consistent attacks on youth of color and their culture, schools do not help students develop critical thinking skills that help them resist these attacks and develop alternatives. Additionally, traditional classroom education in the United States is...

  10. AFTERWORD. Hip-Hop and Freedom-Dreaming in the Mexican Diaspora
    (pp. 247-258)

    In 1991 revolutionary rap group Public Enemy refused to perform in the state of Arizona as long as that state did not recognize the Reverend Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. holiday. Their song “By the Time I Get to Arizona” reflects an important moment in anticolonial, anticapitalist politics in the United States. The song reflects the culture wars and ideological battles that roiled the United States during the 1980s. Ronald Reagan presided over the rollback of the gains made by people of color and the working classes throughout the twentieth century. The ideological attack against black people, as epitomized in...

  11. APPENDIX. Music Sources
    (pp. 259-262)
  12. Notes
    (pp. 263-272)
  13. References
    (pp. 273-286)
  14. Index
    (pp. 287-294)