The Territories of Hip Hop: Domesticity, Occupation and Appropriation
Adam de Paor-Evans [+]
University of Central Lancashire
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.