After finishing this book by Derek Pardue, it would be an understatement to call his work an interesting and insightful look into the world of Brazilian hip-hop culture. With the city of Sao Paulo at the forefront of discussion, the book is based on over five years of fieldwork by Pardue and highlights topics of race, class, and territory to make the overall argument that Brazilian hip hoppers are subjects rather than objects of history and everyday life.
Brazilian hip hop is considered a national music genre in the Latin American country that has over time grown into a nationwide phenomenon since its earliest days in the African-Brazilian communities of Sao Paulo and Rio de Janeiro in the 1980s. Initially, Brazilian hip hop was created as an assertion of the African-Brazilian identity. According to the 2010 census, over 14. 5 million African descendants call Brazil home, which makes up about 8% of Brazil’s overall population. As the genre gradually emerged, its themes widened to encompass a range of social and political issues.Order now
Pardue uses this book to identify and analyze three critical categories of Brazilian hip hop culture: space, race, and gender. Additionally, he looks at hip hoppers attempt to redesign the social categories of race, class, and gender as well as socio-geographical categories like periferia and marginality. Along with Pardue’s established argument, this essay will seek to argue that there is a positive relationship between listening to hip hop music and a racial consciousness among younger generations of Afro-Brazilians.
In the second chapter of the book, Assembling Brazilian Hip Hop Histories, Pardue focuses on the importance of the access to informacao (information) among the marginalized youth in Brazil: “According to Sao Paulo DJs, music producers, rappers, and pop music critics, ‘to be informed’ is a valuable asset that speaks to culture, business, history, and ideology. The term ‘informacao’ penetrated almost every conversation I had with hip hoppers. Brazilian hip hoppers are always in search of more.
It makes sense that this constant search for information among hip hoppers was considered so crucial. It is the direct link between information and identity that made Afro-Brazilians so thirsty for it. However, as Pardue points out, the identity of the periferia normally brought up negative attributes like the clear lack of true citizenship. It was these cultural markers and countless instances of racism, classism, and sexism that drove the Brazilian hip hop movement to the forefront in an attempt to completely reconstruct their misguided identity.
Additionally, it is important to note that since the early 2000s, internet technologies have become more accessible to periferia dwellers, allowing for easier information trafficking. While the accumulation of information is a crucial step towards Afro-Brazilian consciousness, it’s truly only the beginning of this process. After information has been gathered, hip hoppers use the term ‘attitude’ to assess themselves. It is believed that when an individual grows a stronger attitude and becomes more conscious, respect is to follow and they will only then be regarded as a “real” hip hopper.
Although the many facets of Brazilian hip hop culture (rapping, dancing, etc. ) are heavily reliant of competitiveness, the necessity for collaboration and unity overrides the individual in the grand scheme. This is yet another way that hip hoppers attempt to talk about consciousness: “(Consciousness) is to acknowledge that each individual is but one person within a larger collective and that for change to occur, it must be a group effort According to most hip hoppers, to contribute requires an ‘attitude’, a delicate process of balancing self-esteem and confidence. ”
This search for a collective effort was the driving force for the creation of hundreds of urban youth posses and hip hop groups. From artists like Thaide, and DJ Hum to groups like Racionais MCs, they all got behind the movement towards an Afro-Brazilian unity. These groups were important for their role in the community, but also as a vehicle for the individual to feel connected and involved in a cause. Each member of these hip hop groups had a particular skill to contribute to the group, a correlation that can be made to their overlying roles in the social movement.
Along with Pardue’s argument that Brazilian hip-hoppers have turned themselves from objects of history into subjects of history, it can similarly be argued that there is a positive relationship between listening to hip hop music and a racial consciousness among younger generations of Afro-Brazilians. First, hip hoppers in Sao Paulo are considered active organizers and negotiators whether it be with state government or the general public. They’re most successful in engagement and gaining support by linking their hip hop practices to the themes of education and citizenship.
Hip-hoppers view themselves as social agents who urge the public to be more comprehensive about what constitutes knowledge and a legitimate perspectives on their reality. With their constant hunger for more information, hip hoppers have become increasingly persuasive in presenting their music as educational because they reach large populations of urban youth that previously were completely isolated from public education. It is for these reasons that hip hop has a positive relationship with Afro-Brazilian urban youth.
Hip-hop represents a recognized form of education that signi? s activism on the part of the Brazilian working classes. Therefore, hip-hoppers’ articulation to education holds both the key to positive identity formation and achievement. “Hip hop has always been about achieved, not ascribed, power. Unlike the bourgeoisie, the working classes, which represent the population pool and main point of address for Brazilian hip hoppers, depend on change in order to shape the essential discourses of hierarchy. ” Overall, the Brazilian hip hop movement is something that continues to live on through to the young generations of today.
The desire for information, attitude, and consciousness among hip hoppers and urban youth alike has propelled the Afro-Brazilian community from objects of history to the subjects of it. It is through these key concepts and a push for unity that the movement was so successful in educating the urban youth, who have otherwise been excluded from formal public education. It is because of this successful education that a positive relationship between listening to hip hop music and a racial consciousness among younger generations of Afro-Brazilians can be made.