As hip-hop continues to evolve and cross borders, author and professor Dr. Samy Alim is attempting to help others understand it asa global culture.
Alim came to discuss the language of hip-hop culture for Saddleback anthropology departments “Brown Bag” monthly series. The lecture took place Tuesday, April 8, in the student lounge.
Alim received his doctorate from Stanford University in 2003 and is currently an instructor at UCLA. Alim’s book, “Roc the Mic Right: The Language of Hip Hop Culture,” was just released and explores language and dialogue used by artists.
The seminar kicked off with a clip from Nas, “Hip-hop is dead,” to illustrate the point that hip-hop as a genre, is ever changing and the way we understand it is an important tool in learning about world-widecultures.
Alim is looking at hip-hop as a global culture that brings people from all over the world. He said, more and more, artists are coming together from around the globe and collaborating with one another.
“Even if they’re not speaking the same language, they are speaking the same language,” Alim said.
Alim’s point that these artists from around the world who don’t even speak the same language, are speaking about the same issues.
There are now artists in Morocco and France that are either collaborating with American hip-hop artists, or are taking from their culture and their traditions to bring a new face to hip-hop, he said.
Attendees of the lecture were treated to a documentary that included Moroccan rapper MC Bigg. The film showed how these artists who had never been to America, had the same mannerisms and used some of the same dialect that is indicative to American hip-hop artists.
Alim said this is mostly due to kids finding tapes of American artists and bringing them back home. What was once far away and unattainable is now close and helps to spark imagination.
Many of the students attending were promised extra credit for their anthropology classes, and have been there for other lectures that have been held throughout the semester.
Lissa Deangelo, undecided, said she left the room with a greater sense of what hip-hop really is.
“I liked the way they showed different aspects and how different cultures blend different fusions of music,” she said. “I liked the fact that when you listen these days, you hear more of a worldinfluence.”
The Anthropology department will be holding several more “Brown Bag” speakers in the upcoming months to discuss a range of topics for eager students.