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Sunday, March 20, 2011

the Bastardization of Hip Hop

Proper language usage can get lost in translation. Symbolism may get reinvented when taken out of its original context. I went shopping with my home girl and boy the other day. We hit up every hip hop shop in Vietnam on a quest to find birthday gifts and the perfect b-boy hat. Yes, there are hip hop shops in Vietnam. Imagine a Harlem store front, or 47th street shop in Chicago, with all the same hood-architecture and decoration (Cue the old sun-washed posters of the game, snoop dogg, and ciara), but a little less authentic. The store that did manage to have a "Vietnamese" flare to its design is Peace United, owned by Viet Max and his crew. Cue the "Vietnamese hood" props: Organized inside of a typical Vietnamese style house, with motorbike parking in the front. Shoes must be off before entering this "kingdom of hip hop." Inside of the small show room, graffiti coats the walls, tees, hoodies, sneakers and of course baseball caps adorn the shelves. At first glance, I'm slightly impressed, they have the look down. However, with further examination I realize, like most creative endeavors taking place in Saigon (especially my classroom), instant gratification is key, no real depth, no authenticity in the work at hand. Rap lyrics are taken out of context and slapped on t-shirts; leading to highly offensive content (ex. "Let's Get High Niggaz!" is on a shirt) Is that an appropriation of Ludacris? I doubt they got his permission. AND, in case I truly forgot that this is not Bronzeville or Lenox Ave, but the land of bun bao and spring rolls, there is this cat straight chillin in the back of the store. . . literally. . . a pet cat, chillin; well here, just look for yourself.

(please excuse the "noise" on the photos, my camera is broken)

excuse me?!@@#$



1 comment:

  1. Saigon Yo (Saigon Electric) comes out soon, I cringe every time I watch the trailer, but I think it's worth checking out, you going to watch it? it'll have English Subs.