4th Mindanao Peace Studies
Novemeber 20-21, 2018
Fr. Saturnino Urios University
Butuan City, Agusan del Norte
PRESENTATIONS by the EPAPC SCHOLARS
POLITICAL HIP-HOP IN A TIME OF OPPRESSION: THE UNENDING TIMELINESS OF CONSCIOUS RAP BY SOME OF MANILA’S HIP-HOP ARTISTS
Lara T. Mendoza,
University of the Philippines & Ateneo de Manila University
In Manila, hip-hop is generally considered to be the culture from the streets or down below, and is often regarded with contempt in a society that is painfully divided by socio-economic class realities. My presentation will focus on a particular sub-culture of hip-hop known as political or conscious hip-hop, which suggests that the culture is driven by an ethos geared towards an awareness of the need of social change in a world rife with injustice. I will provide a brief history of the development of hip-hop culture in the Philippines and how this has led to the conscious music within the sub-genre. In particular I will focus on hip-hop practitioners who embrace street culture as an art form that can spawn social change.
Using Tricia Rose’s contention that hip-hop is a means for African-American youth from the inner cities to express sentiment and identity, I will show that Manila’s hip-hop scene is a means of resistance to capitalistic-driven transactions that smother the creative impetus and unique style of individual artists. The music of hip-hop, necessarily percussive and rhythmic, inherently embraces the angst and anger of a social and cultural group that yearn to be heard and respected. The struggle of rappers involves the negotiation of appearance, performativity, and expectations of an immediate circle of a small, supportive community and that of a largely ignorant, either by design or circumstance, of a larger population who contain the key policy makers and decision makers of the body politic known as the nation. As a caveat, the video clips I will share will contain the unapologetic use of expletives, echoing Bakhtinian carnivalesque in the upending of the social order via the ribald humour and guttural conventions that is de rigueur in Manila’s gritty streets.