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Hip-hop Authenticity and the London Scene : Living Out Authenticity in Popular Music (Hardcover) (Laura
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This book explores the highly-valued, and often highly-charged, ideal of authenticity in hip-hop — what it is, why it is important, and how it affects the day-to-day life of rap artists. By analyzing the practices, identities, and struggles that shape the lives of rappers in the London scene, the study exposes the strategies and tactics that hip-hop practitioners engage in to negotiate authenticity on an everyday basis. In-depth interviews and fieldwork provide insight into the nature of authenticity in global hip-hop, and the dynamics of cultural appropriation, globalization, marketization, and digitization through a combined set of ethnographic, theoretical, and cultural analysis. The volume provides a much-needed intervention in popular music debates where authenticity is predominantly theorized as either essentialist or socially constructivist in nature. Based on an empirically-driven analysis, Speers redefines authenticity as an emergent human capacity, produced through situated practices, in a changing world. This advances the discussion in the field beyond static, discursive, or imagined notions of authenticity, which has considerable implications beyond the case study of London. Despite growing attention to authenticity in popular music, this book is the first to offer a comprehensive theoretical model explaining the reflexive approaches hip-hop artists adopt to ‘live out’ authenticity in everyday life. This model will act as a blueprint for new studies in global hip-hop and be generative in other authenticity research, and for other music genres such as punk, rock and roll, country, and blues that share similar issues surrounding contested artist authenticity. This book will engender much needed discussion and debate about the nature of authenticity in music, youth culture, and contemporary society more widely, and will also be of interest to scholars in sociology, cultural studies, communication, anthropology, and urban studies.