Trillium Book Awards Author Reading 2015

Hip Hop World, Part Deux?

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I just back from a music conference in Copenhagen, and the sheer number of emcee’s and rap practitioners out there, that deserve their own chapters in my ever evolving documentation of hip hop culture around the globe is awe-inspiring.

As authors, once we close the book on a new tome, quite literally (and continuously question whether we should have included this particular tidbit of info, over another, and still a few others)...we find another four chapters of material (right after your book leaves the printing press, and a whole flurry of new ideas about the same subject that need to be written on said subject, pop up out of the blue.

A Hip Hop World, part two tome is forming in the upper reaches of my cerebellum (don't know how it will find its way out into brick and mortar though).

I could now quite easily, and will pen a chapter or feature on disability in hip hop (a wheelchair bound young chap who was in town from Buffalo, to check out my reading at Word On The Street book festival, asked me if I knew of any disabled rappers, and I knew of none, and then the synapses started firing off, and I had another one of those epiphanies – I must research and report on this!). Given that I was able to pull in gender issues, sexuality, race, age in hip hop, disability is no less important. And I learned that in Uganda, hip hop is leading the way around raising awareness around war affected disabled youth.

And who knew that there were hot femcee’s like La Melodia from Amsterdam who are so heavily influenced by the sounds of Detroit (Slum Village, Jay Dilla), and deserve documentation, as further evidence of cultures clashing over digital airwaves.

It’s truly a Hip Hop World, and your just living in it. Honestly. Like, I’m hanging out in Christianshavn, a partially “self-governed” neighborhood, hippy dippy as I might say, which has established semi-legal status as an independent community in an area of abandoned military barracks in Copenhagen. In this "city within the city", what do I hear bumping out of parked vehicle? Hits from the late great New York rapper Notorious B.I.G!

How do I close out a chapter on a subject as infinite as the world of hip hop, and its interaction with such a large and unpredictable youth constituency who’s music tastes are morphing as I blog…

The views expressed in the Writer-in-Residence blogs are those held by the authors and do not necessarily reflect the views of Open Book: Toronto.

Dalton Higgins

Dalton Higgins is a music programmer, pop culture critic, author, broadcaster and journalist. He is also Canada’s foremost expert on hip hop culture. His latest book is Hip Hop World (Groundwood Books/House of Anansi).

Go to Dalton Higgins’s Author Page