“Detailed, innovative, and exhilarating… At last we have a critical survey that can match the complexity and power of the music.” –Paul Gilroy, author of The Black Atlantic
“A brilliantly textured portrait of European hip hop… An inspiring and hopeful book.” –Ellie M. Hisama, University of Toronto
“Simply stated, this is a powerful book with a killer flow.” –Murray Forman, author of The ‘Hood Comes First
“highly original and ambitious, and a substantial contribution to research on hip hop and postcolonialism.” –Thomas Solomon, University of Bergen
“a must-read for hip hop fans that are seeking to broaden their horizons and understand how hip hop is being made and consumed in Europe… Rollefson has crafted a book that is very readable, and helps build a base knowledge that will leave you hungry to learn more.” –Chi Chi, ScratchedVinyl.com
“Taken as a whole, Flip the Script is an innovative and dynamic piece of scholarship that lays a valuable foundation for future work connecting the fields of hip hop and postcolonial studies.” –Meghan Drury, Journal of Popular Music Studies
“a dynamic and detailed examination of hip hop scenes in Berlin, Paris and London… moving beyond the one-sided narrative of cultural imperialism and imitation, but also beyond the more complex model of creolization.” –Karim Hammou, Journal of World Popular Music
“a dense and ambitious book that will be valuable to a vast array of scholars. It will be particularly useful for those interested in European Studies, as it casts light on the postcolonial and racial dimensions that are often omitted from the analysis of European identities.” –Séverin Guillard, EuropeNow (Journal of the Council for European Studies)
“This engaging and provocative study helps to show how music can outline the cultural dimensions of ethnicity and race in the modern Western world.” –Telegraph Books, Books.Telegraph.co.uk
“Rollefson achieves that rarest of outcomes: a true exchange between artists and academics, guided by at times uncanny convergences of thought across time and space… the future of music research.” –Nicholas Stevens, Notes: Quarterly Journal of the Music Library Association
“Intertwining the voices and perspectives of hip hop artists with those of postcolonial scholars, this book effectively blurs the line between scholar and ‘schooler,’ subsequently decolonizing hierarchies of knowledge formation.” –Katelyn E. Best, Ethnomusicology
ABOUT FLIP THE SCRIPT
What does twenty-first-century Europe sound like? Let’s have a listen.
This book examines how the children and grandchildren of immigrants from the former colonies and peripheries of Europe are employing the African American musical protest strategies of hip hop both to differentiate themselves from and relate themselves to their respective majority societies. Drawing on music, media, observations, and interviews from fieldwork in Paris, Berlin, and London (as well as a conclusion centered in Cork, Ireland), this book situates musical analyses in the postcolonial and globalizing contexts of the three cities, demonstrating how this black American music structures local concerns and enables syncretic expressions that are at once wholly local and definitively global. It concludes that hip hop is both a product of the postcolonial contradictions that hyphenate citizens within their own nations and a form of cultural politics well suited to flip the script on the inequalities those hyphens imply.
Hip hop’s music, poetry, and style remain exhilaratingly fresh as the culture continues to spread to every corner of the world. Yet, in continuing to be dazzled by hip hop’s globalizing novelty as it expresses new collisions of local and global cultures we have a tendency to buy into the narrative that this thing called “globalization” is something new and unprecedented. As the postcolonial frame continually reminds us, it is not. If nothing else, the field of postcolonial studies asks us to rehistoricize globalization in all its contexts from exploration, encounter, and exploitation, to structures of racialized imperial dominion, the rise of global capitalism, and its continuing technological disintegration of our borders. Never have the continuities between postcoloniality and globalization been clearer, as Europe faces a post-Brexit realignment and the nations of the world figure out how to liberate goods, capital, and media while limiting the flow of people. This book thus shows how hip hop sits at the confluence of dehumanizing neoliberal globalization and the gritty human realities of postcoloniality. What’s more, it offers a much-needed critique of the binary of neoliberal capitalism versus ethnoracial protectionism to which Western political discourse has been reduced in, this, our post-truth era.
In Europe’s present context of perpetual crisis (that is always already racialized)—from refugee “crises” and constant fears of terrorism to the rise of neonationalist parties, the isolationist Brexit fruits they bear, the normalization of boom-and-bust economics, and the new reality of permanent austerity—it is the sons, daughters, and grandchildren of settlers from the former colonies and peripheries of Europe who are on the front lines and are best equipped to offer new insight into current affairs… if we have the sense to listen. And make no mistake; these local insights will take wing on the global commercial networks of popular culture through the sonic force of hip hop.
What does twenty-first-century Europe sound like? Let’s have a listen.
“They do not know who we are” — Xiao of Blackara (Paris)
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
J. Griffith Rollefson is professor of music at University College Cork, National University of Ireland. Rollefson is author of Flip the Script: European Hip Hop and the Politics of Postcoloniality (University of Chicago Press, 2017) and Critical Excess: Watch the Throne and the New Gilded Age (University of Michigan Press, 2021). He received the PhD in musicology from the University of Wisconsin-Madison and has served on the faculties of music at the University of Cambridge and at the University of California, Berkeley, where he also served as UC Chancellor’s Public Scholar, implementing the community engaged scholarship initiative Hip Hop as Postcolonial Studies in the Bay Area.
Rollefson’s work on hip hop, jazz, and popular musics has been published in Black Music Research Journal, American Music, Popular Music and Society, Twentieth-Century Music, and Journal of World Popular Music and appears in the edited volumes Crosscurrents: European and American Music in Interaction 1900-2000 (eds. Meyer, Oja, Rathert, and Shreffler), Hip Hop in Europe (eds. Grünzweig and Nitzsche), Native Tongues: An African Hip Hop Reader (ed. Saucier), The Oxford Handbook of Hip Hop Studies (eds. Burton and Oakes), the forthcoming Made in Ireland (eds. Mangaoang, O’Flynn, and Ó Briain), and elsewhere. His research has been recognized by the British Academy, Volkswagen Stiftung, DAAD, ACLS, SEM, AMS, and European Commission.
Rollefson is founding co-editor of the community-engaged and open access journal Global Hip Hop Studies (with University of Cape Town’s Adam Haupt) and principle investigator of the 5-year community-engaged ERC research project, CIPHER: Hip Hop Interpellation, which will map hip hop knowledge flows on six continents (more info @GlobalCipher, https://europeanhiphop.org/, https://globalcipher.org/, and www.ucc.ie/cipher).
He tweets @cybergriff (well, actually, he’s on hiatus now… waiting to see if Elon gets out of the way).
Download the Author’s CV here: CV-Rollefson(2022-07-23)
FREE COPY OF FLIP THE SCRIPT?
Teaching a Popular Music, Global Hip Hop, Postcolonial Studies, or European Studies class?! Want a free Examination Copy? Click Here
IN THE NEWS
CIPHER: Griff’s €2million global hip hop grant from the EU! Click Here
RTÉ TV Piece on CIPHER and Hip Hop Education at THE KABIN – Click Below
Interview about CIPHER on RTÉ’s Morning Ireland – Click Below
Global Advisory Council Announced for €2million Global Hip Hop Study Click Here to Read the Full Press Release!
“Identitäter” [Identitarian], by Chefket (Berlin)
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He tweets @cybergriff.
Contact for interview here.
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For the companion site to Rollefson’s 2021 book, Critical Excess, click here.
RTÉ Documentary for the Community-Engaged Arts Research Project UBUNTU: Local is Global (Cork Migrant Centre and Kabin Studios)