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date: 22 June 2021

Abstract and Keywords

At the most fundamental level, bling—the display of prestige through luxury goods—is the latest iteration of “conspicuous consumption,” coming from hip hop culture. However, hip hop artists have not consistently focused on luxury consumption for the sole purpose of celebrating—and thereby reinforcing—elite signs of the wider (and whiter) dominant culture that has historically sought (and currently seeks) to circumscribe the influence of black American culture. This chapter focuses on three tracks, from the 1980s, 1990s and 2000s, that highlight ways that hip hop has questioned, satirized, and hollowed out the meanings ascribed to dominant cultural capital. Luxury hip hop and hip hop luxury also subversively reconfigure the meanings of elite symbols and highlight hip hop’s power to redefine dominant cultural signs of power.

Keywords: cultural capital, conspicuous consumption, luxury brand, hip hop style, counterculture, Slick Rick, LL Cool J, Migos

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