On May 8th 2012, GMaC’s visiting research fellow Marissa K. Munderloh gave a presentation on her PhD project which looks at urban identity in German hip-hop culture.
The presentation titled “Urban Identity, Hybridity and Rap Music” was based on a case study taken from Marissa’s overall research, which focused a rap crew from Hamburg. With the theoretical concept of the ‘Third Space’ derived from post-colonial studies on cultural hybridity, Marissa exemplified how German rap music can be treated as a hybridized art form having been re-negotiated into a German social context from its US-American original. Furthermore, the chosen rappers for the presentation employed rap music to express their ideological and emotional state as hybrid artists which manifested itself in a sole identification with their city – in this case with Hamburg.
With lyrical, visual, musical as well as linguistic examples, the relationship between cultural hybridity and urban affiliation was highlighted and explained. Thereby, Marissa showed how rappers with dual ethnicity have the potential to disseminate a new perspective on Germany’s cultural landscape through their hybrid approach to rap music as well as through neglecting a national affiliation in favor of an urban one. Hence, “German” rap music can be utilized as valuable material to understand better contemporary dynamics of identity formation and the hybridization of art in an urban context. Marissa is a second year PhD candidate in the German Department at the University of St Andrews, Scotland, and is currently conducting fieldwork in Hamburg for her PhD project.
– Guest editor –