Studies of hybridity and agency in Mexican hip-hop
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This essay proposes new paths for the analysis of hip-hop in Mexico, providing a brief history of its development and suggesting new ways of defining its local meanings and uses. The essay bases much of its analysis on notions of cultural hybridity as employed by Helena Simonett and Néstor García Canclini, and George Yúdice’s concept of culture expediency. It frames the appropriation of rap music in Mexico as a form of cultural agency and self-empowerment on the part of marginal social groups. This is seen in many ways: through the integration of indigenous heritage and languages into performance, or musical elements derived from the northern border. It is also evident in the ways artists have occupied and converted abandoned buildings within Mexico City into concert venues or cultural spaces. Three different artists serve as my principal case studies: Mare Advertencia Lirika, Akil Ammar, and The Guadaloops. Although Mexican hip-hop is represented to an extent in existing scholarship, it remains less well documented than in many other Latin American countries. This document demonstrates the dynamic impact of hip-hop music culture on Mexican youth and advocates for its further study.