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date: 16 May 2021

Abstract and Keywords

An emergent hip hop genre, which this chapter terms “neo-bohemian,” is characterized by its destabilization of hip hop’s established aesthetic categories. Focusing on three underexplored aspects of flow, this chapter examines how music by neo-bohemian artists, including Kendrick Lamar of Black Hippy, disruptively engages with the elitist, high art aesthetic and bourgeois racial politics of 1980s and 1990s “jazz/bohemian hip hop” while recovering the earlier genre’s unstable connection to 1940s bebop. This “cultural genealogy” is best understood in relation to the historical aesthetic of “hipness” while necessitating new understandings of black hip expression that account for experiences of hybridity and double consciousness. From this perspective, neo-bohemian hip hop emerges as an expressive space capable of accommodating the fluidity and diversity of black subjectivity in the United States. Analysis of neo-bohemian flow provides a model for an integrated, social-musical engagement with rap music that is lacking in hip hop scholarship.

Keywords: hipness, bebop, jazz/bohemian hip hop, neo-bohemian hip hop, flow, Kendrick Lamar, Black Hippy, hybridity, double consciousness, black subjectivity

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