Hip-Hop: Interrogating Identity, Authenticity, and Transnationalism

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NeMLA/Northeast Modern Language Association
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From his first successful mixtape and EP So Far Gone, released in 2009, Toronto native Drake presented a significant shift in the recording industry and hip-hop. In the music industry, his EP was considered an anomaly due to its commercial and critical success without Drake being signed to a major record label; his mixtape was available for free, yet thousands of people purchased it. Within the Hip-Hop community, Drake is a polarizing figure. Some view him as a breath of fresh air in the commercialized era of ringtone rappers, who aim to sell singles and ringtones over albums, and gangsta rap music, which glorifies drugs, guns, and violence. Others view him as being inauthentic; in a sense, not "real" Hip-Hop due to his sensitive, emotional lyrics. The debates about Drake's authenticity have continued and led to him being continually mocked and disparaged across the Internet.

As hip-hop has become a transnational and multicultural phenomenon, one must stop to ponder the aspect of authenticity within the movement. Situating Drake as a transnational, bi-racial hip-hop entity, who is frequently mocked for his lack of "authenticity," this panel seeks to examine the ways in which hip-hop has evolved within each of its cultural manifestations, and navigate the politics of authenticity within each (socio)cultural/political realization. Particularly, this panel seeks to discover the cultural, rhetorical, and socio-political realizations of Canadian hip-hop as they relate to its American counterparts in form, style, and modes of dissemination.

Per NeMLA guidelines, interested scholars should create a user account at www.nemla.org, and submit abstracts (of no more than 500 words) to the following link:

Deadline for abstracts: September 30, 2014