"Rapper on a Rampage": Theorising the Political Significance of Aboriginal Australian Hip Hop and Reggae

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Cameron White


Hip hop is a powerful vehicle for the expression of identity and resistance in contemporary Aboriginal popular music. This paper examines the origins of Aboriginal hip hop and explains the reasons for its cultural and political significance. By looking at the influence of reggae in Aboriginal hip hop, especially in the work of CuzCo (Wire MC and Choo Choo), it locates hip hop’s history in terms of the reggae tradition in Aboriginal popular music, represented here by the work of No Fixed Address in the early 1980s. In this way hip hop is understood as part of a longer history of Aboriginal transnationalism. The paper seeks to understand how and why transnationalism is such an important element of Aboriginal political expression. It concludes by arguing that transnationalism represents a speaking position from which Aboriginal Australians can negotiate the cultural hegemony of the state.

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Author Biography

Cameron White

Cameron White is a UTS based researcher, interested in gender, race and popular culture in the nineteenth and twentieth centuries. He is currently conducting research on contemporary Aboriginal popular music, the history of the textile industry in Surry Hills and Irish-Australian migration to the east coast of America in the 1850s.


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