The Ethnography of Hip Hop Nostalgia: Indigeneity, intimacy and ‘roots’ in Mexico
This article explores the ways that hip hop musicians in Mexico City use their creative practice to perpetuate musical traditions associated with indigenous and national identity. Using the connected concepts of ‘cultural intimacy’ and ‘structural nostalgia’ it highlights how, while hip hop was explicitly used to critique Mexican neoliberalism, hip hop recording practices reflected some of the economic and ideological conditions created by neoliberal economic policy, and the historical ‘invention’ of Mexican cultural ‘roots’ in the period after the Mexican Revolution (1910–20). This article looks to bring out two main points: first, the ways that writing, recording, and performing songs formed a locus for sociality among rap musicians, and second, that the interaction between the ethnographer and these musicians opens up possibilities for experiences of social discomfort, as well as bonhomie, that can help to foreground the different cultural intimacies to which these actors are accustomed.
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