Rapeando en el "Periodo Especial": Espectro integrativo de la cultura Hip-Hop en Cuba

Date of Completion

January 2006


Anthropology, Cultural|Music|Language, Rhetoric and Composition




This dissertation explores the Cuban Hip Hop movement---immersed within Cuba's post-1990 "Special Period" of crisis---as a critical site to examine cultural and social relations within contemporary Cuba. One focus of my analysis is the aesthetical, compositional and interpretative dimensions of Cuban Hip Hop. The investigation emphases on textual analysis considering aesthetic distinctions that relate to colloquial and oral compositions, as well as to popular musical genres, rhythmical aspects, literary and cultural values. Another dimension of the studies has to do with the different bents of this music: the one that in Cuba is called Hip Hop "ortodoxo" and the one Called Hip Hop "bailable" or "the reggaetón". The orthodox variant has at its core a specific model of composition and interpretation, characterized by the integration of particular cultural traditions associated with historical and translocal experiences while the bailable is likely a local mimesis of mainstream style. Academic discourses have been defining identity as a means of political and social emancipation, presenting the Rap as a voice for marginalized population but the theoretical apparatus of my studies demonstrates that a problematic notion of "marginal perspective" excludes other experiences of nationhood and national identity. Centered on the ways Cuban Hip Hop evolves as a real subversion of traditional meanings for cultural identification, this dissertation explore what types of relations does this movement have within and outside of state institutions, and what kind of political and economic policies have prevailed through these interactions.^