Monday, December 12, 2011

The Globalization Of Hip-Hop Culture

Written by Azizi Powell
[The majority of this post was originally published as a comment on]

My comment refers to this video:

khaliyl iloyi rapping at 2 years old with Alim Kamara

Uploaded by ukroyalpriesthood on Nov 27, 2011

Khaliyl Iloyi rapping like his mother Roucheon Iloyi. Like mother like son. His father Femi Iloyi aka smooflow is in a group with Roucheon and together they are called Royal Priesthood.


Yes, the little boy is adorable. Yes, it's great to see a father interacting with his sons (there are two boys shown in that video). And yes that baby rapper has mad rhythmic skills & great presence.

However, more than the subject of socialization which Sociological Images focused upon, what interested me was that the father, his older son, and his young rapper son featured in this video are from London. And that started me thinking about the globalization of Hip-Hop culture.

Through Google, I found a website called Translating Hip Hop:

Here's a quote from that site:

Originally derided as “Black Noise”, Hip Hop has spread around the globe in the last 30 years. The various dimensions of this energy-laden form of culture are practiced all over the world: Rap, DJ-ing, Breakdance, Graffiti. The body language and gestures are understood almost ubiquitously and translations can pass unnoticed.
Here's a quote from another page on that site:
Talking about Translating Hip Hop (2): RAYESS BEK November 13, 2011

I think that “translating” has many meanings. If we consider Hip Hop lyrics as poetry, as artistic texts, we notice that it can have multiple layers of comprehension.

The first layer would be the words used in that text. The second layer would be the emotions. Third layer is the cultural background that the author refers to...

Because Hip Hop is a culture, it has its own universal language. The advantage is that Hip-Hopers from around the world can communicate through this music. The disadvantage is that a lot MCs will talk about similar subjects (ghetto, drugs…). Is it a globalization factor? I can’t tell. I was interested by MCs who talked about politics, social and emotions in a mature way. I loved to hear personal stories from other countries. And hear about the oppression they are living in other countries. Do oppressed people feel the same everywhere on this planet?

Check out those sites!

And thanks again to that dad (& mom) who are raising their children to appreciate the Hip-Hop musical genre which is sooo much more than the industry approved & promoted gangsta rap.


  1. I greatly appreciate hip-hop culture and have been linked to it since my youth. To me, hip-hop movement recreates itself and moves through spaces that ressignify frontiers and nationalities. To me, it is more than music, it is a lifestyle.

  2. Greetings, Xenom,

    Thanks for your comment.

    I greatly admire your writing and I agree with you that real "hip-hop is more than music, it is a lifestyle."

    Your statement that "hip-hop movement recreates itself and moves through spaces that ressignify frontiers and nationalities" is what I have been trying to convey with my presentation of numerous African vocal & instrumental music & dance aesthetics & styles.

    I hope that you don't mind if I paraphrase your comment in that larger context in an upcoming post that I'm working on about the drum major high kick/lean back stance. Look for it soon!