Throughout the discourse surrounding the Israel-Palestine conflict many methods have emerged to examine the ways in which artists engage with the issues through popular culture. As hip hop spread globally, its universal themes and ability to constitute community led to the use of rap as a vehicle for political commentary. This paper explores how the Palestinian hip hop group DAM provides a commentary on the experiences of Palestinian-Israelis through carnivalesque methods to create shocking juxtapositions. Using an inter-textual method, we can see that humor allows DAM to freely speak “their truth,” defusing tensions and providing a new perspective on the conflict, opening dialogue, and regaining control over a painful history. This case study raises questions of authenticity, agency, and parody in hip hop. The genre blurs the threshold of true and false and allows artists to present a conventional hip hop persona, giving them the freedom to safely comment on social issues. Humor allows for further political commentary under the façade of a joke. By parodying painful racial, gender, and class stereotypes, artists reclaim their identity and further subvert prejudices against them. This case study challenges the notion of what protest music looks like, and how it functions to promote change.
Agency, Authenticity, and Parody in Palestinian Hip Hop
Avery Brzobohaty is completing the MA in musicology at West Virginia University and holds a BMus from the University of Ottawa. Her research interests include popular music, nostalgia, music in advertising, humor, and Canadian indigenous music.
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Avery Brzobohaty; Agency, Authenticity, and Parody in Palestinian Hip Hop. Journal of Popular Music Studies 1 March 2020; 32 (1): 44–56. doi: https://doi.org/10.1525/jpms.2020.32.1.44
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