Popular Music History, Vol 12, No 2 (2019)

‘These stories have to be told’: Chicano rap as historical source

Dianne Violeta Mausfeld
Issued Date: 21 Aug 2020

Abstract


In the late 1980s and early 1990s, Los Angeles gave rise to Chicano rap, a subgenre of gangster rap that uniquely incorporated transcultural signifiers of music and language. Key characteristics included ‘oldie’ and Chicano rock samples, multilingual lyrics and the proclamation of Brown pride. The lyrics treated gang violence, police brutality and daily life in the varrio (’hood), thus articulating the artists’ alienation from white America. While strongly identifying with both LA and their Mexican heritage, artists like (Kid) Frost created a brand-new music style that inspired a whole generation of bilingual rappers. Considering Chicano rap as historical source provides a deeper understanding of the issues Mexican-American youth in the US have been facing up to the present day. On the basis of (Kid) Frost’s music this article will trace cultural and social topics as well as musical features that mirror the resurfacing of Chicano consciousness and identity during the 1990s

 

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DOI: 10.1558/pomh.39209

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