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Provincial Headz

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Nominated for the 2021 Association for Recorded Sound Collections Awards for Excellence in Historical Recorded Sound Research

Provincial Headz: British Hip Hop and Critical Regionalism draws upon spatial practice, material culture, human geography, ethnomusicology and cultural theory in order to present an interdisciplinary counter-narrative to that of hip hop as a strictly urban phenomenon; providing an insight into the relocation of hip hop culture from its inception in New York ghettos to its practices in provincial and rural Britain. Hip hop culture truly arrived in Britain in 1983, a decade after its origin in New York City, and although many important events, artists and recordings that evidence hip hop’s existence in 1980s Britain are well documented, these are almost exclusively urban. Additionally, the narratives embedded in these representations remain too convenient and unchallenged. This book reveals parallel and dialectical experiences of British hip hop pioneers and practitioners dwelling outside the metropolis, discussed under the recurring themes of relocation, territory, consumption, production and identity. These narratives are framed within a rich contextual discourse drawing upon Bhabha, Bourdieu, Foucault, DeLanda and contemporary hip hop scholarship. Shifting hip hop research from urbanism to rurality, the book serves as an introduction to the complexities of its historical narratives in Britain and reveals another hip hop history and how we understand it.

Published: Feb 15, 2020


Section Chapter Authors
Acknowledgements Adam de Paor-Evans
I Owe Hip Hop Adam de Paor-Evans
Introduction Adam de Paor-Evans
Chapter 1
The Location of Hip Hop: The Provincial, Spatial, Sonic, Material and Non-material Adam de Paor-Evans
Chapter 2
The Relocation of Hip Hop: The Perfect Beat, Duck Rock and Cultural Acquisition Adam de Paor-Evans
Chapter 3
The Territories of Hip Hop: Domesticity, Occupation and Appropriation Adam de Paor-Evans
Chapter 4
The Consumption of Hip Hop: Commercialization, Distinction and the Subaltern Adam de Paor-Evans
Chapter 5
The Production of Hip Hop: Process, Empowerment and Cultural Repositioning Adam de Paor-Evans
Chapter 6
The Identity of Hip Hop: Reality, Image and a State of Mind Adam de Paor-Evans
Conclusions: Critical De-regionalism, Dispelling the Myth and Revealing the Invisible Adam de Paor-Evans
End Matter
Notes Adam de Paor-Evans
Bibliography Adam de Paor-Evans
Glossary of Terms Adam de Paor-Evans
Index Adam de Paor-Evans


We all know about hip-hop's urban origins, but how much do we know about hip-hop's reach into more rural regions of the world? Adam de Paor-Evans has provided us with an academic framework with which to do so--part (auto)ethnographic, part critical theory, he weaves an engaging story of bedroom graffiti, pause-button mixtapes and crew rivalries in 1980s provincial Britain. This book show us how far, and how early on, the sounds and materials of hip-hop cultures reached the other side of the Atlantic, and the idiosyncratic nature of those flows in particular. It's a must read for any UK hip-hop fan and for those looking to apply fresh ideas to their own studies of regional hip-hop.
Justin A. Williams, Department of Music, University of Bristol and author of Rhymin and Stealin: Musical Borrowing in Hip-hop

Whilst the story of hip hop's development in the big cities (particularly the U.S.A.) has been widely documented, its growth and osmosis into the fabric of those communities beyond has, until now, been seldom covered. ‘Provincial Headz’ provides a comprehensive study of how rural and other non-urban centres interpreted the culture and made it their own. Through personal accounts and a wealth of source material, Adam de Paor Evans challenges the assumption that hip hop is solely an urban culture, contrasting, comparing and making crucial links between the settings. This book is a breath of fresh air in its approach, and a very welcome addition to the existing literature on hip hop’s development.
Dudley Jaynes (Whirlwind D), writer for Record Collector Magazine and recording artist for B-Line Recordings