Provincial Headz - British Hip Hop and Critical Regionalism - Adam de Paor-Evans

Provincial Headz - British Hip Hop and Critical Regionalism - Adam de Paor-Evans

The Territories of Hip Hop: Domesticity, Occupation and Appropriation

Provincial Headz - British Hip Hop and Critical Regionalism - Adam de Paor-Evans

Adam de Paor-Evans [+-]
University of Central Lancashire
Adam de Paor-Evans is Reader in Ethnomusicology at the University of Central Lancashire. His hip hop scholarship is published widely, and he leads the project Hip Hop Obscura: Revealing Hidden Histories through Ethnomusicology and Cultural Theory. He is also a practicing hip hop artist as Project Cee.


Chapter 3 engages with territories, appropriation, occupation and space, and the idea that the terrain of British hip hop is crucially linked to the shifting landscapes between location and relocation, urban and rural. Here I continue to debate the urban versus non-urban via a spatio-cultural model that explores the relationships between non-urban life and urbanism as British hip hop began to take shape. The opening section ‘On Territory’ draws largely on Bhabha’s third space theory, Lefebvre’s spatial production and Soja’s thirdspace in order to ground the territory of non-urban graffiti, before directing attention to the domestic. Here, I maneuver the context from public and semi-public space to the private spaces of domesticity to make a case for the micro-scale engagements of hip hop as critical to the evolution of its broader, public representations. This inquiry is supported by Heidegger’s bridge and a detailed reading of the tools and materials (vernacular and global) of hip hop; turntables, microphones, other audio equipment, linoleum, sketchbooks, and pens- the appropriated small scale and everyday products and the two-way transfer of meanings between their appropriated use and their value within hip hop. This fuels a regional reframing of place and belonging by demonstrating the emergence of nonmaterial and territorial spatial practice, which transcends all elements of hip hop. In the closing section ‘Appropriation and Occupation’ I further this debate by analyzing some of the earliest informal and appropriated provincial spaces, and by comparison with those of its American predecessors I introduce the notion of acquired cultural heritage. I discuss the spatio-cultural power shifts that occurred between authority and headz, and propose that although temporal, these power shifts fostered a confidence and resilience to mainstream capitalist culture. It is my suggestion in this chapter that the perceived empowerment and ownership that developed during these counter-actions were paramount to the first cognitions of a hybrid British hip hop culture.

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de Paor-Evans, Adam. The Territories of Hip Hop: Domesticity, Occupation and Appropriation. Provincial Headz - British Hip Hop and Critical Regionalism. Equinox eBooks Publishing, United Kingdom. p. 79-123 Feb 2020. ISBN 9781781796450. Date accessed: 08 Aug 2020 doi: 10.1558/equinox.33498. Feb 2020

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