Arts & Entertainment

Hip-hop’s political history

Episode 127 with Touré

This week on KK&F, a deep dive into our guest Touré’s incredible new project: the history and politics of hip-hop, looking at everything from the development of record label ownership to the political commentary of 1980s hip-hop music and its shifts, following shifts in hip-hop’s audience, in the 1990s. Watch below:

Touré gives us a compelling, fascinating, and insightful account of who made the hip-hop of the 1980s that changed the way we listen to music, who listened to it, who got the profit, and what anti-establishment political speech came out of this music. From the moral panic of white hip-hop listeners to the way musicians like NWA’s Eazy-E took control of their artistic output, we get a powerful picture of the political terrain of this genre and its reception, evolving through the final decades of the twentieth century.

We think you’ll also appreciate Touré’s analysis of capitalism’s role in the production of hip-hop music, a role that fits into a narrative of corporate greed and increasing monopolization. As a dwindling number of companies bought up all the record labels — generally companies with no interest or non-financial investment in the creative industry — profit became the primary motive and marker of success for many record labels, imposing limitations on musical production and political expression. We see the further development of those limits in the music of our own time — and it’s fascinating to see the road that led us here.

You can listen to this episode as a podcast when it’s released tomorrow on Spotify, Pandora, Apple Podcasts, and more.

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