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American Ethnologist

What's Burmese about Burmese rap? Why some expressive forms go global

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ABSTRACT

Although older Burmese associate contemporary Burmese rap with an indigenous call-and-response genre, younger Burmese rap fans link it only to international models. The content of Burmese raps strikes an outsider as tame, but rap in Burma resembles foreign prototypes closely in its preoccupation with youthful masculine power. In Burma and elsewhere, rap's lyrical contents reflect a libertarian ideology in keeping with its emphasis on the autonomy of individuals and widespread anxieties of and about young males, in particular—this despite many commentators’ wish to see in rap an empowering political voice. [rap music, Burma, masculinity, globalization, resistance]

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