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Brithop: The Politics of UK Regional Rap in the New Century

20 October 2020

By Dr Justin Williams. Published by Oxford University Press

With ongoing debates on Scottish independence, immigration, Britain's place in the EU, multiculturalism, national identity and the specter of a past Empire complicating ethnically-defined notions of "Britishness," the Kingdom seems far from United.

As a cultural force that is often discussed as giving voice to the voiceless and empowering marginalized communities, hip-hop has become a space in which to explore and debate these issues-defining global community while celebrating locality. In Brithop, author Justin A. Williams finds new hope in an often-neglected figure: the British rapper.

Through themes of nationalism, history, subculture, politics, humor and identity, Brithop explores multiple forms of politics in rap discourses from Wales, Scotland and England.

Featuring rappers and groups such as The Streets, Goldie Lookin Chain, Akala, Lowkey, Stanley Odd, Loki, Speech Debelle, Lady Sovereign, Shadia Mansour, Shay D, Stormzy, Sleaford Mods, Riz MC and Lethal Bizzle, Williams investigates how rappers in the UK respond to the "postcolonial melancholia" of post-Empire Britain.

Brithop shows a rich, multifaceted cultural reality reflective of both the postcolonial condition of the UK and the importance of localism within its varying cultures.

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