Hip Hop Music as a Counter-Hegemonic Potential in Challenging the Power

By: Ramin Chaboki Darzabi  

In this paper, I study how hip-hop music is used as a tool to resist against the power and cultural hegemony in Iran and what themes hip-hop musicians use in their songs to challenge this cultural hegemony and power. It is difficult to find the beginning of hip-hop music in Iran since the government in Iran punished producers of western music especially hip-hop. Hip-hop in Iran was available on the black market, and it began to grow after the 2000s. The internet provided an excellent opportunity for music especially hip hop in Iran. Before the internet, hip-hop musicians could not access to the audience, and the internet helped them to solve this problem. Musicians in Iran must get official approval from the Ministry of Culture to operate legally in the music market, and hip-hop musicians cannot get this approval because hip-hop is considered against the Islamic values. These limitations encouraged youngsters and teenagers to use hip-hop music as an alternative media to challenge the power and cultural hegemony. They recorded music in private studios or their homes and shared them online. During the time, Iranian hip-hop developed its own identity and themes that mainly challenged the authority in Iran. In this research, I used thematic analysis to study themes in Iranian hip-hop songs, and examine the most frequent themes that hip-hop musicians discussed in their songs.

Pop Culture, Power
Media Cultures
Paper Presentation in a Themed Session

Ramin Chaboki Darzabi

-, -, Texas A & M University