Journal Entry #2

Identity has been a really interesting concept that comes up in hip-hop. I’ve seen artists’ online open up their struggles with claiming their identity.

Lil Simz, a UK-based rapper, tweeted her concern about being pigeon-holed into “female rapper”:

When I read this tweet, I struggled with believing whether labeling oneself or being boxed in is what happens when an artist owns their identity. I read about other artists’ journeys with interacting with their identities, like Dumbfoundead.

Dumbfoundead, a Korean-American rapper talked previously on interviews about his struggle owning his identity and being labelled a Korean-American rapper instead of just a rapper. On an interview with Vice, Dumbfoundead explained his experience in the hip-hop and battling community: 

“It’s weird, because I always felt like I was the outcast weirdo Asian kid in my community, but I started earning my stripes among other Asians when I started going into it as a rapper. It was kind of like I was representing them. It was like, “Keep holding it down, homie.” They just didn’t have many cats they could feel proud of, as far as Asian rappers go. It’s when I started battling and started getting notoriety that people started fucking with me… They didn’t really see a lot of Asian rappers that were being themselves while still being able to hold themselves down in an aggressive rap battle.” 


Lauren Jessica Amsterdam’s “All the Eagles and the Ravens in the House Say Yeah: (Ab)original Hip-Hop, Heritage, and Love” highlights the importance of identity as a form of resistance and a key to decolonization. As settler nations pursued shaming Indigenous people of their heritage in order to assimilate, “Native artists are mobilizing hop-hop to reveal their struggles with violence and undertake direct action against loss… because self-love and love for your people reclaims heritage and unshackles indigeneity from settler fantasies and hegemonies of trauma.” (56)

To me, there’s power in owning your identity as an artist and being another angle and representation in the community you’re working in. We can recognize taking up identity as a powerful form of resistance.

Journal Entry #1

Convergence culture to me is about intersectionality of hip-hop and life. Where old and new forms meet, genres merge and where no boundaries are placed except for the core message of radical marginalized voices opposing authority and being inherently counter-culture. Some examples I consider to be part of convergence culture:

Authorship and independency is a major factor of convergence culture. In Henry Jenkins “Convergence Culture”, Jenkins describes convergence as needing to be “understood as both a top-down corporate-driven process and a bottom-up consumer-driven process.” (6) 

With the rise of Soundcloud and Instagram, and various media outlets that connect artists directly to audience, the traditional understanding of having agents and labels is being questioned. This allowed artists to curate and create their own spaces, and throw a few middle fingers at the way the field has been established.

This is Chance the Rapper’s Grammy win as Best New Artist—a monumental win as he never sold a single physical copy of his album.

Jenkins notes that “we are living at a moment of profound and prolonged media transition: the old scripts by which media industries operated or consumers’ absorbed media content are being rewritten.” (5)

For me, this is a prime example of convergence culture. The way that the above mentioned places cut out authority and created spaces for themselves, is what convergence culture ultimately is about to me. 

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