Hip Hop in Between: Producing Diasporic Music in Senegal


Mellon/ACLS Dissertation Completion Fellowships




This project explores hip hop cultural practice in Dakar, Senegal, and among Senegalese immigrant communities in the US as a performative negotiation of postcolonial urban space. Informed by local, colonially-influenced perceptions of “traditional” and “modern,” Senegalese rappers invoke the griot (bard) as an indigenous precursor of hip hop while framing their musical practice in terms of transatlantic connections to the African diaspora. Aligning aesthetic and social characteristics of hip hop and griot performance, they navigate between a local, indigenous “past” and a global present. Alongside these discourses of origin, practices of naming, musical production, and consumption indigenize this globalized music in complex ways, destabilizing dominant models of cultural globalization.