Rhyming Out the Future: Reclaiming Identity Through Indigenous Hip Hop

Decolonization

by Lindsay Knight

Hip hop music has begun to transform the ways in which young Indigenous people perceive their environments and assert their identities. Examples of resistance in Indigenous music can easily be discovered through hip hop. Without easy access to land and rural communities, urban Indigenous people often have limited exposure to ceremonial ways of experiencing music. Many grow up without an awareness of the existence of Indigenous forms of song and dance beyond the limited versions taught in school. Instead, they are exposed to other forms of music, which they latch onto and reformat by incorporating Indigenous style and sound into the music. By focusing on positive and conscious artists who are situated in this growing movement, this essay describes how hip hop fills a cultural void within urban people’s identities, and assists in maintaining Indigenous worldview through resistance, revitalization and connection to the spirit world.

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