Popular Music History, Vol 10, No 3 (2015)

Assembling Aarhus West: Glocal rap, genre and heterogeneity

Mads Krogh
Issued Date: 21 Dec 2017

Abstract


Aarhus West rap music constitutes a dominant trend within Danish hip-hop. Throughout the 2000s, a number of rappers with a common background in a specific area in the western part of Aarhus rose to national fame, setting sales records while bringing issues of ethnic and socio-geographical marginalization into the Danish popular music and cultural mainstream. In this article, I present Aarhus West as a case study to discuss (sub)generic developments within hip hop as a global phenomenon. While considering current developments in popular music genre theory, I argue that predominant notions of “glocalized” rap as ‘resistance vernaculars’ or ‘global noise’ (cf. Hawkins et al. 2004, Mitchell 2001) risk maintaining overly homogenous understandings of genre. In particular, I appeal to the Deleuzian concept of assemblage to highlight heterogeneity – and more specifically continuous de- and re-territorialization within a heterogeneous milieu of rap music, hip hop culture, social, ethnic and geographical conditions, media, political and commercial interests – as a key issue in understanding musico-generic development, persistence and strength.

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DOI: 10.1558/pomh.30377

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