I Love Hip Hop in Morocco and Cultural Appropriation

Like Charles, I also chose to look at I Love Hip Hop in Morocco.  Our class discussion about cultural appropriation really interested me, particularly how Litvin’s ideas about the appropriation of Hamlet might relate to Arab hip hop as well.  On a visual level, the “I Love Hip Hop” phrase expressed with a heart references the “I Love New York” t-shirts, and while this “I” plus a heart is fairly common now, it made me think of international marketing techniques.  In the film, the organizers’ efforts to find corporate sponsors include meetings with Coca-Cola, who represents this same kind of multinational corporate marketing.  On the website for the film, ilovehiphopinmorocco.com, you can buy a variety of different products with this phrase.

In terms of the hip hop artists themselves, they do seem to be engaging with American rap from the 1980s and 1990s in ways that are responsive.  Rather than simply sampling the sounds or the style, as some American hip hop artists now do with Arab music (like in Jay-Z’s “Big Pimpin’”), the artists do have a particular understanding of the context of this hip hop and rap and can relate that context to their own struggles.  In a similar way, the themes of Hamlet really resonated with many in the Arab world, and thus Hamlet was incorporated into the Arab theater canon in new ways.  Are there more connections between Hamlet and hip hop?  The phrase “words, words, words” comes to mind.  Also, are American artists engaging in similar appropriation of Arab hip hop?  The scene where the group meets with Chuck D might be an example of this.

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2 Responses to I Love Hip Hop in Morocco and Cultural Appropriation

  1. I like that connection to the “words, words, words” theme! And I certainly agree about the link to marketing logics.

  2. Sunaina Basu says:

    This concept of appropriation has been widely used by a lot of people around the world. And not only in the music in this case, even with the marketing and publicity techniques. I wrote my blog on The 99 a comic series based on Islamic heroes, but they have various superheroes from different parts of the world who are a part of it. Further they have collaborated with Superman and Batman to make the impact more transnational. Thus, we can see that this appropriation is omnipresent in different forms of media.

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