Negro Soy Yo

Hip Hop and Raced Citizenship in Neoliberal Cuba

Negro Soy Yo

Refiguring American Music

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Book Pages: 296 Illustrations: 14 illustrations Published: December 2015

Author: Marc D. Perry

Anthropology > Cultural Anthropology, Latin American Studies, Music > Popular Music

In Negro Soy Yo Marc D. Perry explores Cuba’s hip hop movement as a window into the racial complexities of the island’s ongoing transition from revolutionary socialism toward free-market capitalism. Centering on the music and lives of black-identified raperos (rappers), Perry examines the ways these young artists craft notions of black Cuban identity and racial citizenship, along with calls for racial justice, at the fraught confluence of growing Afro-Cuban marginalization and long held perceptions of Cuba as a non-racial nation. Situating hip hop within a long history of Cuban racial politics, Perry discusses the artistic and cultural exchanges between raperos and North American rappers and activists, and their relationships with older Afro-Cuban intellectuals and African American political exiles. He also examines critiques of Cuban patriarchy by female raperos, the competing rise of reggaetón, as well as state efforts to incorporate hip hop into its cultural institutions. At this pivotal moment of Cuban-U.S. relations, Perry's analysis illuminates the evolving dynamics of race, agency, and neoliberal transformation amid a Cuba in historic flux. 


"If you're not familiar with Cuban hip hop,Negro Soy Yo is an excellent starting point to get the wheels turning in your head, to start thinking about the music and all of the different places it is coming from, what it’s discussing and why. Perry has given us an excellent text to get people from outside of the island to consider how the music communicates things about society that we don’t get elsewhere." — Scratched Vinyl

"Negro Soy Yo makes a distinguished contribution to the study of raced citizenship and the performance of blackness through the self-fashioning of Cuban hip-hop." — Melisa Riviére, Journal of the Royal Anthropological Institute

"A necessary guide for understanding the present and future of racialized social stratification [in Cuba]. . . . Perry’s most important contribution lies in how he unites the genealogy of Cuban hip-hop with that of the contemporary Cuban anti-racist movement and points sharply toward the political urgency of continued antiracist critiques in the present and future." — Maya Berry, Latin American Music Review

"Negro Soy Yo provides an insightful and grassroots account of the Cuban hip hop movement’s discursive and affirmative evolution in an emerging neoliberal moment." — Alexandrine Boudreault-Fournier, Journal of Anthropological Research

"Perry effectively cuts between lyrics, house parties, run-ins with the police, music festivals, conversations, and theoretical reflections in a multilayered 'raced ethnography' that glistens with his desire to describe an enormous range of details about life in neoliberal Cuba. . . . He contributes wonderfully to Latin American and Caribbean studies, as well as African diaspora studies, cultural studies, cultural anthropology, and ethnomusicology." — Daniel Castro Pantoja & Jacob Rekedal, Latin American Research Review

“Perry’s study is an insightful and nuanced analysis of the Cuban hip-hop movement and an original take on the issue of race and youth culture in transitional post-Soviet Cuban society.” — Daliany Jerónimo Kersh, International Journal of Cuban Studies

"This book establishes a dialogue between Afro-centric cultural practice, hip hop music, and racial and political identity in Cuba. Its importance resides in its contributions to the fields of Anthropology, Cultural Studies, Latin American Studies, and Ethnomusicology.... [O]ne of the strengths of Negro Soy Yo is the intersectional analysis that frames its narrative structure." — Jennifer Domino Rudolph, The Americas

Negro Soy Yo will be useful for those interested in a rich and reflective personal account of a historic moment in a very important country.” — Tanya L. Saunders, New West Indian Guide

Negro Soy Yo contributes to the literature on global hip-hop studies and provides readers with a greater understanding of the relationships between state agendas and musicians through a compelling narrative.” — Elizabeth Rosner, Notes

"For those not familiar with Afro-Cuban life, the book is an excellent introduction to such, as it intersects the fields of Anthropology, Cultural Studies, Latin American Studies, and Ethnomusicology. . . . The beauty of Perry’s text is that it is an excellent book for those not on the island who do not know how the music communicates things about Afro-Cuban society. To date readers cannot get this aspect of Cuban hip hop anywhere else." — Reginald A. Bess, The Latin Americanist

"Offering a wealth of ethnographic detail, Negro Soy Yo is a welcome addition to the study of international hip-hop, contemporary Cuban culture and society, and the Black Atlantic. Marc D. Perry's foregrounding of the role of race in the history of Cuban hip-hop, and in the transnational engagements of Afro-Cuban culture more broadly, is a crucial contribution." — Wayne Marshall, coeditor of Reggaetón

"In this much anticipated book, Marc D. Perry provides a nuanced and compelling analysis of how Cuban raperos are crafting new understandings of black selfhood and citizenship in the wake of the collapse of the USSR and Cuba’s ambivalent embrace of neoliberal capitalism. Boldly reflexive, Perry’s intensive, long-term ethnographic research yields a theoretically nuanced and historically attuned perspective on the politics and poetics of racialization both within Cuba’s rapidly changing political imaginary, and across diasporic fields of black cultural production.  By all measures, Negro Soy Yo is a masterful contribution to the literature and an ethnographic tour de force." — Steven Gregory, author of The Devil behind the Mirror: Globalization and Politics in the Dominican Republic


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Price: $26.95

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Author/Editor Bios Back to Top

Marc D. Perry is Assistant Professor of Anthropology and African and African Diaspora Studies at Tulane University.

Table of Contents Back to Top
Acknowledgments  ix

Introduction  1

1. Raced Neoliberalism: Groundings for Hip Hop  29

2. Hip Hop Cubano: An Emergent Site of Black Life  57

3. New Revolutionary Horizons  91

4. Critical Self-Fashionings and Their Gendering  135

5. Racial Challenges and the State  171

6. Whither Hip Hop Cubano?  199

Postscript  235

Notes  239

References  255

Index  273
Sales/Territorial Rights: World

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Additional InformationBack to Top
Paper ISBN: 978-0-8223-5885-5 / Cloth ISBN: 978-0-8223-5985-2
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