Rap As A Diplomatic Tool

December 10, 2012 in Daily Bulletin, Signature

During the time of The Cold War, The United States used Jazz tours to build up good-will. These days it’s trying to use hip-hop to win over the Muslim world writes Hishaam Aidi. Highlights include:

  • After the Abu Gharib scandals, the American state department launched an initiative called Rhythm Road – an attempt to use hip-hop to revitalize pro-American sentiment.
  • Hip-hop was seen as the ideal tool to connect with the Muslim world because it has Islamic roots, and talks about the struggles of those who are unaccepted and disempowered.
  • Moreover American enemies such as Al-Qaida had started to recruit youths by presenting themselves as cool and hip. Rap was an ideal response to this tactic.
  • European countries appear to have taken to the idea and have deployed Muslim rappers as their emissaries across the world.
  • However the strategy’s effectiveness is questionable. Morocco and Algeria, the two countries where hip hop has had a deep influence, were both mostly untouched as the rest of the region was caught up in the Arab Spring.
  • Hip-hop artists themselves worry about the development. The music genre focuses on attacking the establishment and standing up to power. With the establishment – in the form of the US government – now using it as a tool, some fear that hip-hop has lost its soul.

The full article is over here and is a fascinating read. Aidi talks about how America’s current music strategy compares to the one used in The Cold War, how hip-hop exhibits America’s diversity, and the American hip-hop artists who’ve done an excellent job of connecting with the Muslim world…while alienating the Western one.

Source: Al Jazeera

Via: Foreign Policy