Tracing hip-hop's Black suburban history to deepen understanding of its social character
Hip-hop’s history has generally been theorised through the social lens of its inner-city origins in post-industrial New York as ‘ghetto’ music. Yet, from 1986 to 1993 many of the genre’s most innovative and commercially successful acts came from small Black towns in suburban Long Island. The EU funded LI-RAP project is the first work to explore this era-defining explosion of hip-hop innovation from the suburbs, with the aim of more fully illuminating the genre’s complex history of race, class and geography. LI-RAP frames its account by looking to New York’s rapid wave of Black suburbanisation in the post-Civil Rights decades, and to the shifting fortunes of these little-documented Black communities, which often viewed themselves as middle class.