Synopses & Reviews
In Buena Vista in the Club, Geoffrey Baker traces the trajectory of the Havana hip hop scene from the late 1980s to the present and analyzes its partial eclipse by reggaetandoacute;n. While Cuban officials initially rejected rap as andldquo;the music of the enemy,andrdquo; leading figures in the hip hop scene soon convinced certain cultural institutions to accept and then promote rap as part of Cubaandrsquo;s national culture. Culminating in the creation of the state-run Cuban Rap Agency, this process of andldquo;nationalizationandrdquo; drew on the shared ideological roots of hip hop and the Cuban nation and the historical connections between Cubans and African Americans. At the same time, young Havana rappers used hip hop, the music of urban inequality par excellence, to critique the rapid changes occurring in Havana since the early 1990s, when the Soviet Union fell, its subsidy of Cuba ceased, and a tourism-based economy emerged. Baker considers the explosion of reggaetandoacute;n in the early 2000s as a reflection of the andldquo;new materialismandrdquo; that accompanied the influx of foreign consumer goods and cultural priorities into andldquo;sociocapitalistandrdquo; Havana. Exploring the transnational dimensions of Cubaandrsquo;s urban music, he examines how foreigners supported and documented Havanaandrsquo;s growing hip hop scene starting in the late 1990s and represented it in print and on film and CD. He argues that the discursive framing of Cuban rap played a crucial part in its success.
The first book-length study of hip hop culture and rap performance in Cuba, including its institutionalization and ultimate decline, and calling into question global rap's oppositional nature.
Geoffrey Baker traces the trajectory of the Havana hip hop scene from the late 1980s to the present and analyzes its partial eclipse by reggaetand#243;n.
About the Author
Geoffrey Baker is Senior Lecturer in the Department of Music at Royal Holloway, University of London. He is the author of Imposing Harmony: Music and Society in Colonial Cuzco, also published by Duke University Press.