Self-empowerment through cultural values of hip hop in choreographic and academic dance contex
Joseph Simon and Jonas Frey
Our experience of standing with one foot in the academic world and the other in hip hop culture comes from our journey as Bboys attending dance academy. We want to share how hip hop philosophy has accompanied us through the experience of growing deeper knowledge about the body, learning to sense it more intimately and moving it more efficiently. We will talk about our idea of a life long cypher sessions. Asking ourselves: what does dance education and what do choreographic practises look like, which are based on values and principles of hip hop (each one teach one, take it and ﬂip it, freestyling, cyphering, finding intrinsic motivation and a drive for originality… being self-empowered). Hip hop is a participatory culture. You only truly understand it by joining in! (regardless of dance experience).
Whose Rules For Whom? The Underappreciated Role of Women in hip hop in Germany
I will explore the underappreciated role of women in recorded rap music in Germany. After laying out a timeline of influential, if unsung, female hip hop artists, we’ll consider two figures, Aziza A and Lady Bitch Ray, both of whom broke a slew of rules just by participating in the culture. If hip hop is a ‘masculine space’, whose rules got broken, whom did they serve, and who benefited?
A native New Yorker, Terence Kumpf holds a PhD in Transnational and Transatlantic American Studies from TU Dortmund University. His revised dissertation, hip hop in the Transcultural Zone: Bi and Multilingual Rap Music in Germany and the United States, is currently under consideration for publication at Taylor & Francis, Intellect Books, Wesleyan University Press, and the University of California Press. His current research interests include transnationalism, transcultural theory, bi- and multilingualism, aesthetic experience, and the UK industrial metal scene.
Makin’ somethin’ out of nothin’: a freestyle talk on the momentum of the moment as a defining element of artistic expression in hip hop and its potential for educational purposes
Martin A.M. Gansinger
A verbal “kick-off the cypher” is what you’ll experience here. We’ll make use of the collective potential present. In the form of an analysis in the moment along the lines of spontaneity, intuition, flexibility, and reactivity that encompass and define the communicative processes in the artforms of hip hop, the culture’s hidden and constituting “element of surprise” shall be approached in an appropriate manner. The purpose is to address the interdependent relation between emptiness and form, the transcendence of space and time, and hip hop as an artistic outburst of expression and creativity that almost naturally had to emerge from out of a vacuum of socio-economic possibilities. We’ll discuss and demonstrate the potential of the impromptu train-of-thought as an innovative vehicle of communication in educational contexts.
Dr. Martin Abdel Matin Gansinger studied Communication Science and Political Science at the University of Vienna and earned a Doctorate in Journalism and Communications in 2009. He conducted ethnographic research in traditional knowledge systems in Ghana, Morocco and Cyprus. He was Head of Department at the Communication Faculty of Girne American University. He joined the Faculty of Al-Akhawayn University in Ifrane, Morocco, in July 2020 as an Assistant Professor at the School of Humanities and Social Sciences. Recent publications include ‘The Influence of Islam on Black musical expression and its re-contextualization as hybrid gnosticism in hip hop culture’ (Waxmann), and ‘The Influence of the Bobo Shanti Rasta Mansion on Reggae Artistes’ (Routledge).
Sediments of hip-hop in hardcore techno – how theories on hip hop helped me to analyze gabber
Bianca will demonstrate and outline the role of hip-hop in hardcore techno. Hiphop played a crucial part in different aspects of my ethnographical study. Among others, it was theories and elaborations about the apocalyptic elements and aspects in popular music linked to or including hip hop which could be inherently linked to techno. On another level, techno and hip hop crossed paths, because of the frequent use of hip-hop samples and turntablism techniques in gabber and hardcore techno music. This was typical for the Berlin gabber scene in the 1990s and 2000s – and was also a key feauture of some UK hardcore labels like Deathchant, Rebelscum, or Audio Damage.
Bianca Ludewig is a PhD candidate at the University of Innsbruck (Austria). Her research focuses on avant-garde festivals where music, art, technology, precarity, and urban transformation processes intersect. Ludewig studied philosophy and cultural anthropology at the University of Hamburg and continued her studies at Humboldt University—Institute for European Ethnology and Institute for Musicology. She has taught at Humboldt University Berlin and the University of Vienna. Her research interests include pop culture, popular music, precarity, gender, urban studies, and ethnographic methods. Previous to her academic studies, she has worked as a freelance music journalist with a special interest in hip hop (e.g. Backspin Magazine, Graffiti Magazine, HipHopVinyl Magazin), DJ, and radio activist. [bl.wiseup.de]
“Locked in, Locked Out?” Grime performance practice and the academy
Alex de Lacey
This presentation examines issues faced at the intersection between practice and research in UK grime music. As a DJ for London collective Over The Edge, Alex outwardly projects solidarity with my crew, participates in pirate broadcasts, and performs at raves. This role can cause friction with—or is delegitimized by—academic affiliation, often owing to suspicion towards institutional bodies. The paper argues for radical reflexivity, draws parallels and divergences with correlate practice-led research in hip hop studies, and argues for the necessity of being up close to accurately deconstruct the ‘internal systemicity’ of grime’s performance protocol.
Alex de Lacey is a Lecturer in Popular Music at Goldsmiths, University of London. Alex’s research examines Afrodiasporic music practice in the United Kingdom, with a particular focus on grime. He completed his PhD, entitled Level Up: Live Performance and Collective Creativity in Grime Music, under the supervision of Professor Tom Perchard and Professor Keith Negus earlier this year, and has publications forthcoming with Popular Music History, Global Hip-Hop Studies and Critical Digital Pedagogy. Alex is a journalist, and writes for Complex, Red Bull, Passion of the Weiss and Songlines. He is the DJ for grime crew Over The Edge, with a monthly show on Mode FM.
Paper vs. Performance? Reflecting ways of presentation within Hip-Hop Culture and Academia: A different lecture performance
Frieda will elaborate on the way hip hop culture is represented and how academic texts often try to force a single concrete statement, whereas hip hop performance can often be read and interpreted in different, multiple, and often ambivalent ways. In academia, the written form of knowledge is considered valuable. The hip-hop culture and its associated practices, which can be classified as oral cultures, are quite different. Presentation functions as performance. The performer himself is in the centre of the presentation, surrounded by an active audience. What does it mean to transfer hip-hop performance into the academic (written) forms of presentation? What is differing, what is the common ground and what is the connection point?
Friederike “Bgirl Frost” Frost is a freelance dancer, dance teacher and choreographer as well as a PhD student at the Institute of Dance and Movement Culture at the German Sport University Cologne (GSU). Focusing on Breaking, she is teaching and holding lectures at universities, schools, conferences and seminars within topics of hip-hop, urban dance, gender or youth. She developed a cultural-specific teaching approach for Breaking in formal education settings and is coaching dance teachers. She gets invited for participation or judging at (international) Breaking and Allstyle battles, realizes own dance projects, is founding member of the urban dance theater collective nutrospektif and Factory Artist at the Tanzhaus NRW.
Spanish feminist rap: intersectional identities from peripheral and marginal feminisms
Susana Pinilla Alba
This work explores the construction of queer identity by feminist rappers. Feminist hip-hop is an example of ground breaking rap that challenges traditional artistic canons. On the one hand, this is achieved through the insertion of its discourse into the academic tradition, through cultured rappers who combine the street with academic institutions. On the other hand, by questioning the very misogynist principles of some hip hop trends, such as gangsta rap. In their lyrics feminist rappers denounce not only state violence, but also the ethnic, racial or gender discrimination that their communities suffer.
Susana Pinilla Alba (M.A.) is a researcher and lecturer since 2018 in the area of Literature at the University of Wuppertal (Germany), where she is simultaneously working on a doctorate on a subject that is present in the work of the feminist rapper Gata Cattana (1991-2017) from a philological and queer perspective. She has presented her work in various universities and publications in Germany, France, Argentina and Spain. She is also a member of the Horizonte de Rute women’s feminist association (Spain) and of the women´s association of the student-parliament of the University of Wuppertal (Germany).
Why We Make Beats: A Practitioner’s Perspective of Lo-Fi Hip-Hop
Throughout the past decade, the culture of instrumental hip hop beat-making in the style of hip hop producers like J Dilla and Nujabes has become a global phenomenon, with internet forums and social media exponentially accelerating the popularity of this culture of what is known to many as “lo-fi hip hop.” Record labels such as Chillhop and Inner Ocean Records have capitalized on this culture, creating platforms such as YouTube livestreams and Spotify playlists that receive millions of listeners. The popularity of this subgenre of hip hop has been a topic for both music scholars and journalists, Many of these articles however, fail to have an understanding of how and why the music of this subgenre is created by its own artists. This paper will explore the online culture of lo-fi hip-hop from a practitioner’s perspective, exploring the methods and musical characteristics used to create a lo-fi hip-hop track, as well as the business that goes into promoting and placing said track into various online platforms, such as Spotify playlists and YouTube livestreams. Finally, I will explain both the difficulties and advantages that many lo-fi hip-hop producers face when promoting their music within lo-fi hip-hop spaces online, using experiences I have had as a producer for the past five years.
Zachary Diaz is a PhD Student in Musicology at the University of Bristol. Under the supervision of Dr. Justin Williams, his doctoral dissertation and research focuses on the music of the late hip-hop producer J Dilla (James Yancey) and his musical influences on current hip-hop production and culture. He is also a hip-hop producer himself, having released several instrumental hip-hop projects under the Manchester-based record label Beatsupply.
Researching hip-hop music from Austria: Problems, prejudices and issues of legitimacy
While working in the field of hip-hop studies, researchers are often caught between two worlds: the scientific and the hip-hop community. In the former, studying hip-hop is often times still not seen as worthwhile and in the latter the researcher is prevalently regarded as an outsider or even intruder who wants to write about “their” culture without being part of it.
In the presentation I want to give some insight into the work on my thesis “Hip-hop music from Austria. Local aspects of a global cultural way of expression” from 2019 and focus especially on the difficulties I encountered and the reactions I got from the scientific side as well as the hip hop community.
Frederik Dörfler received his master’s degree at the Institute of Musicology at the University of Vienna with the diploma thesis about the beginnings of the Austrian hip hop scene. In his doctoral thesis at the University of Music and Performing Arts, Vienna he delved deeper into the Austrian hip hop scene, analysing the music, the history of the scene and its “glocal” character. He is currently lecturer at the University of Music and Performing Arts, Vienna holding a seminar about hip hop (the first of its kind on this university) together with Magdalena Fürnkranz and is working at the SRA (Archive for Austrian Popular Music) as well as a DJ and producer.
Transnational Blueprints! How Hip Hop Culture’s (HHC) activist imperatives lead project practice towards Critical Education, Community Organizing and Protest Movements in New York and Dakar
Saman will focus this performative paper on the underlying activist blueprints of hip hop culture. How have these blueprints traveled and how are they used in a wide variety of contexts to teach and empower, to critique or even to mount mass protests, such as Senegal’s “YENAMARRE” movement? Saman will specifically lay a focus on how hip hop culture is perceived as liberating, how it can inspire certain pedagogies and politics. In doing so, differences between commercialized hip hop and non-profit hip hop will also be exposed.
Saman Hamdi is a Bboy, hip hop scholar and activist. Having danced for over 21 years, he also organizes events (“Battle of the Year” and many smaller jams), social projects and social justice Hip Hop education together with his Breaking crew “Flowjob” in East Germany and Berlin (inter alia touring schools in East Germany with an anti-racist / Social Justice oriented hip hop school academy). Apart from conducting local workshops, panels and hip hop conferences, Saman Hamdi has for the last 7 years been teaching break dance to refugee and German kids together.
Metapragmatics in 48 Bars – Language, Identity and Politics in hip hop studies
Bryan is a hip hop artist, scholar, educator and activist. He studied German and English Literature and Linguistics at University of Bern and has been pursuing my PhD in Heidelberg for the last five years. As an MC, as well as a linguist, the practice of reflecting and evaluating language – metapragmatics – has been the main focus of his studies. He understands discourse as a social practice by which actors position themselves and others to construct social and cultural identities. One question he reflected upon repeatedly was this: Why do academics seem to ignore the fact that their own use of language excludes a majority of the population who have not had opportunities to access universities? What different forms of ‘writing’, transmedial, transmodal and transcultural ones, could replace and enhance traditional forms of academic writing?
On the basis of these questions, he will break down metapragmatics in an unorthodox way: a language-philosophical tractatus in 48 bars. This tractatus explores the rules and norms of ‘language games’ and asks:
- How do we, hip hop scholars, position ourselves by writing in a certain way, and what are
the implications of choices in style and genre?
- Which ‘language ideologies’ can be identified in academic?
- How can hip hop transform academic ‘language games’ by using its own methods and principles of expression?
Ultimately, the aim is to highlight the political aspects of academic language use and
present hip hop as a life-long learning process with its methods and genres as alternative
forms of knowledge transfer from the university to the streets, and vice-versa.
Metre-on-metre interactions – analysing the rhythms of rap flows
Rap flows are often thought of as an amalgam of two different artistic expressions – music and poetry. In the traditions of analysis of these two artforms, one particular concept is common to both, but realised and analysed in quite different ways: Metre. When analysing rap flows, it is crucial to look at how the two different simultaneous realisation of metre (musical and poetic) interact by converging and diverging, agreeing and disagreeing, and pushing and pulling at our structuring of the rhythmic framework of the flow. Rappers utilise various different techniques to exploit this interaction at different levels of rhythm.
Together with the audience we’ll analyse a flow. Kjell being a recording and performing rapper himself, approaches these techniques by asking himself: what does this technique do and how can we adapt/recreate this technique? Thus, he prefers treating phrases and techniques from rap flows like an instrumentalist would “licks”, and rather than taking an “architectonic” view of the music, analysing how the rhythms unfold in time.
Kjell Andreas Oddekalv is a PhD Fellow at the RITMO Centre for Interdisciplinary Studies in Rhythm, Time and Motion at the University of Oslo, analysing the rhythms of rap flows. In addition to his research, Kjell Andreas is a recording and performing rap artist in the Norwegian hip hop group Sinsenfist. Kjell Andreas is the national representative of Norway in The European hip hop Studies Network.
Question of methodological identity – introduction to anthropology studies of street dance in Serbia
I want to capture the struggle of an anthropologist, who is simultaneously a researcher and a street dancer. Namely, I enrolled in the anthropology department because I have been doing hip hop and krump dance since I was 14 years old. At the very beginning, I thought that when I get to the University, I will follow the rules of objectivity and eventually, be equipped enough to “do” the science. Little did I know… But so did Serbian folks – how could I help them to understand better street cultures, when they believe that the only legitimate sciences are math and physics? Besides that, do they even (want) to accept street dance as an upcoming cultural phenomena? And: many street dancers in Serbia are showing and using mere moves, without knowing how, where and from whom those moves originated from. I’ll start with showing a movie and then would like to have a dialogue with you about identity. My central question is: “Is it possible to enter a dance cipher with only one distinctive identity (street dancer, or anthropologist)?
Breaking the Hip Hop Diplomacy Game
Sina Nitzsche & Sergey Ivanov
Diplomatic and cultural institutions as well as more informal exchange projects have recognized hip hop culture as a means to address social and cultural issues, such as migration, poverty, Otherness, and empowerment, among diverse audiences. Those public diplomacy projects have helped artists gain international recognition, collaborate with artists from other regions of the world, and expand their fan base on a global level. Which challenges do artists, audiences, and organizers face? We will first provide a brief overview over the challenges by referring to our own past and present exchange projects in the Ruhr Area and in Moscow’s suburbs. We will then open the floor for an online discussion with all participants.