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"It's like DNA you know?": analysing genealogies of listening in Australian hip hop
thesisposted on 2022-03-29, 00:45 authored by James Cox
From 2011-2016, Australian hip hop has diversified, welcoming local and international attention, in a period some believe is the ‘Golden Age’ (Ziegler 2016) of the genre. Using an ethnographic approach, this thesis provides an exploration of the events and artists involved within this ‘Golden Age’ and analyses the key issues in Australian hip hop, including; identity, race, gender, community, global traits of the genre and local influences. Ten Australian MCs and four key community events provide reference points which demonstrate distinct genealogies of listening that inform analysis, giving a unique snapshot of the genre within an Australian geography. The thesis highlights that the Australian hip hop scene is in a transitional period, as it becomes more mainstream and inclusive of both artists and fans. The result is a distinct local scene that, while building on a core cultural centre shared by hip hop communities worldwide, provides a more inclusive environment of cultural production. Such inclusion is demonstrated through the lack of tension and separation between those who consider hip hop to be a broader culture, and those who engage with hip hop specifically as a genre of music. The thesis documents that even those Australian MCs who do not strongly identify with hip hop culture are embraced by those that do. Inclusion is also demonstrated by accepting approaches to race and gender purported by key artists within the scene. In analysing the shared listening histories of Australian hip hop artists, the thesis exemplifies the importance of genealogies of listening within the genre, demonstrating how hip hop is used by artists in the formation of their identities, whilst also producing unifying traits that define Australian hip hop as it matures and continues to develop as a distinct local hip hop scene.