Book: Provincial Headz
It is my intention in this book to detail the ways in which hip hop arrived in Britain from New York, and to argue that the provincial practitioners of British hip hop developed a critically regional and de-regional counter-culture that responded to both American hip hop and ideas of Britishness. By focusing on the provinces, I will also evidence the existence and importance of hip hop practice outside Britain’s megalopoleis, dispelling the myth that hip hop operates under purely urban conditions. Furthermore, I will attest that the practices in such non-urban places equipped headz with contextual frameworks with which to realise their potential for greater critical engagement in both hip hop practice and in everyday life. Why should the non-urban of British hip hop come under investigation now? What are the future benefits of a study situated in the margins of space and culture some thirty years ago? Why should it be distinct from its inner-city context? In fact, a complete survey of British hip hop is still to be done (and is very much necessary), but to answer these immediate questions, this study is crucial to the future practices of hip hop; to defend its position as a creative, flexible, and sustainable culture; one that can operate in contexts of permanence and transience, stability and instability, economic growth or depression. Hip hop is a rich form of creative practice that is not exclusively contained within the imagined silo of the city that urban epistemology would have us believe. This is a field which until now remains academically unchartered and unexplored, and as such the content of this book aims to change the way in which the spatio-cultural landscape of hip hop is considered, how hip hop history is constructed, and how we think about the humanity of hip hop culture through the everyday. Although the contexts for the analyses that follow are largely located in the geographies of the British provinces, it is my ultimate aim that the lines of inquiry explored throughout this book are of significant value to be of use within other geographical, demographical, political, cultural and environmental contexts.