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Title: Song of Suffocation: New York City’s Spatial Relationship with Hip Hop and the Cycle of Criminalization
Authors: Jackson, Adlan
Advisors: Canes-Wrone, Brandice
Department: Woodrow Wilson School
Class Year: 2015
Abstract: My thesis pursues the effect New York City policy has on hip hop musicians’ access to performance, recording, and living space. Drawing on literature on the history and aesthetics of hip hop, I will argue that the New York City government has a constrictive effect on all three types of spaces. Broadly, I note how the aggressive and targeted policing and otherwise neglectful governance of the New York City government agitates the communities in which hip hop is made, and propose the idea of a “cycle of criminalization” created by a de facto criminalization of hip hop’s aggressive artistic response to these conditions. With regards to performing spaces, New York City ordinance’s history of racially discrepant application consistently antagonizes the gatherings and venues that are characteristic of hip hop performance. With regards to living and recording space, I attribute an accelerating trend of physical marginalization of hip hop communities to a government-sanctioned rise in income inequality. I theorize that a contemporary tension between the economic marginalization of hip hop communities and the commodification of their musical product is evident in the music and hypothesize that itwill lead to conflict. These tensions create an antagonism between hip hop and the New York government, and encourage the creation of music that provides unique insights into how inner-city communities of racial minorities respond to governance that should be more carefully studied by the New York City government, and even reveals how policy could be changed to yield more effective governance of the city.
Extent: 71 pages
Access Restrictions: Walk-in Access. This thesis can only be viewed on computer terminals at the Mudd Manuscript Library.
Type of Material: Princeton University Senior Theses
Language: en_US
Appears in Collections:Woodrow Wilson School, 1929-2016

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