Hip Hop Desis

| November 19, 2010

Title: Hip Hop Desis : South Asian Americans, Blackness, and a global race consciousness

Author: Nitasha Tamar Sharma

Publisher: Durham, NC : Duke University Press, 2010

Check it out! ML3918.R37 S53 2010

From the publisher:

Hip Hop Desis explores the aesthetics and politics of South Asian American (desi) hip hop artists. Nitasha Tamar Sharma argues that through their lives and lyrics, young “hip hop desis” express a global race consciousness that reflects both their sense of connection with Blacks as racialized minorities in the United States and their diasporic sensibility as part of a global community of South Asians. She emphasizes the role of appropriation and sampling in the ways that hip hop desis craft their identities, create art, and pursue social activism. Some desi artists produce what she calls “ethnic hip hop,” incorporating South Asian languages, instruments, and immigrant themes. Through ethnic hip hop, artists, including KB, Sammy, and Deejay Bella, express “alternative desiness,” challenging assumptions about their identities as South Asians, children of immigrants, minorities, and Americans. Hip hop desis also contest and seek to bridge perceived divisions between Blacks and South Asian Americans. By taking up themes considered irrelevant to many Asian Americans, desi performers, such as D’Lo, Chee Malabar of Himalayan Project, and Rawj of Feenom Circle, create a multiracial form of Black popular culture to fight racism and enact social change.

About the author:

Nitasha Tamar Sharma is an Assistant Professor of African American Studies and Asian A merican Studies at Northwestern University. Professor Nitasha Sharma received the 2009 Weinberg College of Arts and Sciences “The Award For Distinguished Teaching”.

On the web:Hip Hop Desis is peopled with young, innovative characters who want to break out of the restraints that surround them: restraints of community and of stereotype. They are a joy to read about, and Nitasha Tamar Sharma takes us along with her generous analysis. We learn a lot about the magnificence of hip hop culture, how it draws people in and draws them to grow outwards. All of this makes Hip Hop Desis first-rate.”
—Vijay Prashad, author of The Darker Nations: A People’s History of the Third World