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Music, Power and Resistance – The Case of Cuban Underground Rap

Author(s): Eleni Dimou

Journal: United Academics Journal of Social Sciences
ISSN 2212-5736

Volume: 2;
Issue: 12;
Start page: 6;
Date: 2012;
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Keywords: Cuba | Rap | Fidel Castro | Subcultures | Communism | Cuba Libre | 1990s | Music | Resistance | Power | Political Identity | Socialism

Severe austerity measures struck Cuba after the collapse of the Soviet Union in the early 1990's. This fact, combined with the tightening of the United States’ embargo, led to significant economic reforms by the Cuban government. Moreover, the economic and structural changes that occurred on the island during that period negatively affected all aspects of social life . As a result there has been a growing disillusionment among young Cubans towards the state’s inability to fulfill its promises to eradicate discrimination and inequality, provide a good quality of life for all citizens and fulfill the dream of a truly independent and sovereign Cuba [Cuba Libre (Free Cuba)]. This disillusionment is often expressed in Cuban underground rap, which appeared on the island during a specific historical juncture. This article aims to demonstrate how some of the paradoxes occur within Cuban culture and power relations, just as Cuban underground rap is highly revolutionary in its ideals, it is also censored and criminalized by Cuban authorities. Specifically, this paper presents ethnographic data gained from research on contemporary Cuban underground rap groups. By examining a subculture within a socialist state, this article aims to provide a fresh empirical basis from which to expand existing theoretical understanding concerning power and resistance.

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