Authored by: Christopher Vito

The Routledge Encyclopedia of Citizen Media

Print publication date:  October  2020
Online publication date:  October  2020

Print ISBN: 9781138665569
eBook ISBN: 9781315619811
Adobe ISBN:


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Hip-hop artists have utilized technological advancements and concordant shifts in the marketplace to create avenues for success despite competition from majors. Thus, this entry will cover two major points: (1) hip-hop’s history of resistance to major record labels, and (2) the current wave of resistance by independent artists utilizing a DIY ethic wherein they have a larger stake in music production, distribution and marketing. First, hip-hop’s history is filled with cyclical patterns of commodification and resistance as hip-hop spreads and evolves. For instance, within the United States independent hip-hop artists have appropriated DIY techniques from punk music in the 1970s. Many communities, from the UK to Japan, utilize hip-hop’s diaspora to address pertinent local issues and resist corporatization. Second, Forman (2000) argues that the most recent wave of indie rappers have responded to the formation of 360 degree contracts, management conflicts, and poor economic relations between musician and label. For example, American artists such as Macklemore and Ryan Lewis, Tech N9ne, and Chance the Rapper have made headlines by choosing to remain independent rather than sign with a major record label. Similarly, UK artists such as Lowkey, Mic Righteous, and English Frank have spoken out against capitalism and the big businesses.

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