Hip Hop at Europe's Edge

Hip Hop at Europe's Edge

Music, Agency, and Social Change
Edited by Milosz Miszcynski and Adriana Helbig
Distribution: Global
Publication date: 03/27/2017
Format: Hardback 1 b&w illus, 1 table
ISBN: 978-0-253-02273-8
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Responding to the development of a lively hip hop culture in Central and Eastern European countries, this interdisciplinary study demonstrates how a universal model of hip hop serves as a contextually situated platform of cultural exchange and becomes locally inflected. After the Soviet Union fell, hip hop became popular in urban environments in the region, but it has often been stigmatized as inauthentic, due to an apparent lack of connection to African American historical roots and black identity. Originally strongly influenced by aesthetics from the US, hip hop in Central and Eastern Europe has gradually developed unique, local trajectories, a number of which are showcased in this volume. On the one hand, hip hop functions as a marker of Western cosmopolitanism and democratic ideology, but as the contributors show, it is also a malleable genre that has been infused with so much local identity that it has lost most of its previous associations with "the West" in the experiences of local musicians, audiences, and producers. Contextualizing hip hop through the prism of local experiences and regional musical expressions, these valuable case studies reveal the broad spectrum of its impact on popular culture and youth identity in the post-Soviet world.

Author Bio

Milosz Miszczynski is Research Fellow at the Centre for the Digital Economy at the University of Surrey and a Research Associate at the University of Oxford's Institute of Social and Cultural Anthropology. His current research focuses on production, distribution, and consumption of music in the digital economy.His past work on hip hop includes a book in Polish, edited volumes and journal articles published in the European Journal of Cultural Studies and Critical Sociology.

Adriana Helbig is Associate Professor of Music at the University of Pittsburgh. She is the author of Hip Hop Ukraine: Music, Race, and African Migration and (with Oksana Buranbaeva and Vanja Mladineo) Culture and Customs of Ukraine.


“This is a real treasure trove, full of fascinating stories. It acts as a fine example of academic inquiry that creatively probes hip-hop’s practices, providing context for the form’s usage across the Eastern Bloc.”

“The authors of this edited volume do not romanticize and heroize the genre by automatically equating it with political opposition, a fate often suffered by rock before. Instead, the book has to be given much credit for presenting a very nuanced picture of hip hop’s entanglement—or non-entanglement, for that matter—with politics in this wide stretch of the world, past and present.”
 — The Russian Review

“The volume represents a valuable and timely contribution to the study of popular culture in central and eastern Europe. Hip Hop at Europe's Edge will not only appeal to readers interested in contemporary popular culture in central and eastern Europe, but also inspire future research on post-socialism's unique local adaptations of global cultural trends.”
 — The Soviet and Post-Soviet Review

“The reviewed book is an important contribution to existing scholarship on hip-hop culture. It enhances the history of hip-hop with knowledge of how the idioms of this genre have been adopted and reincarnated through a prism of east European culture. The value of the book should also be weighed in the context of colonial/post-colonial and communist/post-communist studies. The authors show how hip-hop has served social and political needs during the challenging period of transition from communism to capitalism, and how it continues to help newly-independent nation-states define their new status in Europe.”

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Table of Contents

Introduction / Adriana Helbig and Milosz Miszczynski

Part 1: Hip Hop, Postsocialism, and Democracy
1. Rapping into Power: The Use of Hip Hop in Albanian Politics / Gentian Elezi and Elona Toska
2. Nothing Left to Lose: Hip Hop in Bosnia-Herzegovina / Jasmin Mujanovi
3. Russian Rap in the Era of Vladimir Putin / Philip Ewell
4. Rap Music as a Cultural Mediator in Post-Conflict Yugoslavia / Alexandra Baladina

Part 2: Hip Hop and Emerging Market Economies
5. Diesel Power: Serbian Hip Hop from the Pleasure of the Privileged to Mass Youth Culture / Goran Musi and Predrag Vukevi
6. "The Underground is for Beggars": Slovak Rap at the Center of National Popular Culture / Peter Barrer
7. Music, Technology, and Shifts in Popular Culture: Making Hip Hop in e-Estonia / Triin Vallaste
8. Wearing Nikes for a Reason: A Critical Analysis of Brand Usage in Polish Rap / Milosz Miszczynski and Przemyslaw Tomaszewski

Part 3: Hip Hop on the Margins
9. Cosmopolitan Inscriptions? Mimicry, Rap, and Rurbanity in Post-socialist Albania / Nicholas Tochka
10. Violence as Existential Punctuation: Russian Hip Hop in the Age of Late Capitalism / Alexandre Gontchar
11. Unmasking Expressions in Turkish Rap/Hip Hop Culture: Contestation and Construction of Alternatve Identities Through Localizaton in Arabesk Music / Nuran Erol Iik and Murat Can Basaran
12. Hip Hop as a Means of Flight from ‘Gypsy Ghetto’ in Eastern Europe / Michal Ruzicka, Alena Kajanova, Veronika Zvánovcová, and Tomas Mrhalek
13. Rapping the Changes in North-East Siberia: Hip Hop, Urbanization, and Sakha Ethnicity / Aimar Ventsel and Eleanor Peers

Part 4: Hip Hop and Global Circulations of Blackness
14. La haine et les autres crimes: Ghettocentric Imagery in Serbian Hip Hop Videos / Irena Šentevska
15. The Power of the Words: Discourses of Authenticity in Czech Rap Music / Anna Oravcová
16. "Keep it 360": (Re)envisioning The Cultural and