Phat Beats, Dope Rhymes: Hip Hop Down Under Comin' Upper

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Ian Maxwell’s sophisticated story of Australia’s hip-hop scene follows the lives of a small, influential group of rappers from Sydney’s Westside in the early 1990s. Maxwell conveys the excitement of the scene and the struggles of the white musicians to define Australian hip-hop, showing how discourses of nationalism and community are played out in everyday life. Whether describing composition in a bedroom, confrontation in a radio studio, tagging in a subway line, or breaking in front of a stage, Maxwell evokes ...
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Overview

Ian Maxwell’s sophisticated story of Australia’s hip-hop scene follows the lives of a small, influential group of rappers from Sydney’s Westside in the early 1990s. Maxwell conveys the excitement of the scene and the struggles of the white musicians to define Australian hip-hop, showing how discourses of nationalism and community are played out in everyday life. Whether describing composition in a bedroom, confrontation in a radio studio, tagging in a subway line, or breaking in front of a stage, Maxwell evokes the intensity of feeling and the complexity of these key experiences.

Phat Beats, Dope Rhymes looks at the many practices of hip-hop—graffiti, rapping, break dancing performances, compositional process, lyrics, music, and fanzines—and captures the fluid contradictions along with the bodily pleasures that make up the scene. With acute sensitivity, Maxwell shows how these young men negotiate issues of identity by imagining themselves within an international hip-hop nation. The book is rich in detail and theoretically innovative, A glossary of terms is included.

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Editorial Reviews

From The Critics
"This is one of the smartest books on popular music that I have ever read. It will stand as one of the definitive ethnographies of popular music practice."
Library Journal
Be ye not deceived: this is no glossy, ephemeral attempt to reach a lowest-common-denominator readership but rather an academic work of the densest order. Maxwell (performance studies, Univ. of Sydney) carefully observed the hip-hop scene in that city between August 1992 and October 1994. More than a musical study, he presents a primarily anthropological analysis of that scene. Using the language and conceptual templates of postmodernist cultural studies, Maxwell dissects the relationship of white Australian rappers to one another, to an Australia gripped by questions of ethnic and cultural identity, and to a theoretical (and largely imaginary) "hip-hop world nation." Given its rarified language, intellectually rigorous approach, and esoteric subject, this work is truly appropriate for only academic collections treating Australian studies and/or the globalization of mass-media culture.-Bill Piekarski, Lackawanna, NY Copyright 2003 Reed Business Information.
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780819566386
  • Publisher: Wesleyan University Press
  • Publication date: 11/10/2003
  • Series: Music Culture
  • Edition number: 1
  • Pages: 320
  • Product dimensions: 5.86 (w) x 9.24 (h) x 0.91 (d)

Meet the Author

IAN MAXWELL is Chair of the Department of Performance Studies at the University of Sydney. He is a contributor to Global Noise (Wesleyan, 2002).
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Table of Contents

PART ONE: INTRODUCTION
Theoretical Frames o Making Culture

PART TWO: LOCATIONS
Origins
Global Cultural Flows
West Side and the Hip Hop Imaginary

PART THREE: PERFORMANCE
True to the Music
Dance
Epilogue: The Real Thing

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