Hip-hop and neoliberalism

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by MARK FISHER

Both rap and neoliberalism are 30 years old: 1979, the year that Margaret Thatcher was elected, was also the year when the Sugarhill Gang had the first bona fide hip-hop hit with “Rapper’s Delight”. At the time, few anticipated either the impact that neoliberalism and hip-hop would have, or the way in which they would come to echo one another. “Rapper’s Delight”, with its steal from Chic’s “Good Times” providing a backdrop to freestyling rhymes, was treated as little more than a post-disco novelty record. But within a decade hip-hop would be the globally dominant pop music and neoliberalism would have changed the political/economic climate.

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