Global Story

Author(s) Mark LeVine
Contact Mark LeVine, University of California, 320 Krieger Hall, Irvine, CA 92697, USA. E-mail:
Issue CyberOrient, Vol. 7, Iss. 2, 2013, pp. 109-125
Published November 10, 2013
Type Comment
Abstract Hiphop has long been described as a quintessentially globalized music. Similarly, it has been understood as a unique window into the lives', fears and dreams of young people across the Arab and larger Muslim worlds for most of the post-September 11 era. Since young Tunisians revolted against long time dictator Zine El Abidin Ben Ali to the music of El General (or so the story goes), the music has been considered equally central to understanding the dynamics underlying the revolutionary upheavals that have shaken the Arab world during the last three years. This article reviews the history of hiphop across the region and attempts to provide a theoretical grounding for the role of artistic production in the revolutions using the work of Frankfurt School theoreticians Theodor Adorno and Walter Benjamin on the production, circulation and consumption of culture.
Keywords internet, Arab Spring, Middle East, cultural studies, satellite TV, mobile phones, rap music, music