“Subversive Sounds from the Women of the Detroit Hip Hop Underground” by Rebekah Farrugia by Iaspm-Us on Mixcloud


“Right now, I hear a whisper echoing: You must go underground.”
(Aisha Durham, 2007)

Detroit’s underground hip hop community is vast and diverse. Like the city itself, it is spread out both geographically and politically. In the 1990s, the groups Slum Village and 5 Ela put Detroit’s socially conscious hip hop scene on the national map. Over the past five years, the women-centered collective known as The Foundation has received national and international attention for its artistic interventions into mainstream representations of women in hip hop. At any given time The Foundation consists of at least a dozen women who rap, sing, perform spoken word, DJ, break, or create visual art. In the quote above, Durham is heading a call for a return to more community based hip hop that speaks out against the commercial rap industry, dominant hegemonic representations of people of color, and other exploitative institutional structures. Through music, dance, and other art forms, Foundation members articulate their experiences of what it means to be women—the majority of whom are women of color—in contemporary Detroit. Their work addresses issues such as body image, love, sexuality, environmental concerns, poverty, and self-empowerment. These artists use hip hop culture and rap music to create spaces of resistance and community in a place that is known for being inundated with environmental ruins, race politics, and social alienation but is also beautiful, resourceful, and imaginative.

In doing so, they destabilize several gendered and racialized notions of what it means to be a contemporary hip hop artist.



All of the tracks included on this mix feature Foundation affiliated artists. Most of them are MCs but I have intentionally chosen to also include singers and spoken word poets because a number of these artists practice more than one craft. That is, many of them not only rap but also sing, produce, and/or DJ in addition to creating visual art, etc. Illustrating the breadth of the sonic hip hop spectrum that these artists cover also challenges the commercial industry’s focus on the MC as a solitary rapper, cut off from a community and hence hip-hop’s history as a socio-political movement. These performers are fixtures in the local hip hop landscape whose artistic endeavors and distinct messages advocating social change have the power to resonate across time and place. They have taken up the call of scholars like Aisha Durham (2007) and Tricia Rose (2008) who advocate for more community based hip hop and public outcry regarding the dehumanization of women in the commercial hip hop industry.

All of the artists included here are part of a larger, ongoing ethnographic project. While engaging in this research I have learned that artists’ access to recording equipment as well as their motivations to record tracks or otherwise archive their work varies a great deal. Since my goal in creating this mix was to showcase the range of voices in conversation in Detroit’s underground hip hop community, I purposefully have not given too much weight to sound quality when choosing what to include. Thus, the mix contains both hi-fi and lo-fi productions to give listeners as accurate a representation as possible of the range of women’s voices and sounds in the city, as well as its DIY sensibility. It is my hope that listeners experience both pleasure and inspiration to act as they listen to the subversive sounds from the women of the Detroit hip hop underground.


Rebekah Farrugia is a popular music scholar whose work explores the politics of gender, technology, and community in contemporary music genres such as electronic dance music and hip hop. She is the author of Beyond the Dance Floor: Female DJs, Technology and Electronic Dance Music Culture and is an associate professor in the Department of Communication and Journalism at Oakland University. She is also an active member of the Detroit based hip hop collective The Foundation.


Durham, Aisha. 2007. Using [Living Hip-Hop] Feminism: Redefining an Answer (to) Rap. In Gwendolyn D. Pough, Elaine Richardson, Aisha Durham, & Rachel Raimist (Eds.), Home Girls Make Some Noise: Hip Hop Feminism Anthology (304-312). Mira Loma, CA: Parker Publishing.

Rose, Tricia. 2008. The Hip Hop Wars: What We Talk About When We Talk About Hip Hop—and Why It Matters. New York: Basic Civitas Books.

Track List

  1. “The Foundation”, Ladies of The Foundation
  2. “9 to 5 (Fighter)”, Mahogany Jones featuring Michelle Bonilla
  3. “Looongawaited”, Invicible
  4. “The Riot”, Insite the Riot
  5. “Rise Up (Ft. Geno the Poet)”, ‘Nique LoveRhodes
  6. “Legendary”, Mahogany Jones and ‘Nique LoveRhodes
  7. “Who I Am (ruff mix)”, Miz Korona
  8. “100 Degree”, Jaci Caprice
  9. “Detroit Everything (Live)”, D.S. Sense


Contribute to the IASPM-US Interview Series!

by Victor Szabo on March 13, 2015

We’re always looking for interviewers to contribute to the IASPM-US Interview Series. We’ve recently added the following fabulous authors and books to our list:

If you would like to interview these, or any other authors on our list, email Jess Dilday at jadilday@gmail.com. Please see our interview series page for further details, including interview guidelines. Full book list below:


“‘Please Listen to My CD-R’: Underground Hip-Hop Music from the Fans” by Anthony Kwame Harrison by Iaspm-Us on Mixcloud

In winter 2001, I served as Assistant Tour Manager for the Ground Control U.S. Tour—sponsored by the now-defunct underground hip-hop label, Nu Guv Alliance. Over the course of thirty-four days, the Ground Control All Stars—comprised of Los Angeles’ Aceyalone, Boston’s Ed O.G., the Bay Area’s Rasco, and New York City’s the Masterminds—put on twenty-seven shows in cities and college towns across America. By the time we returned to San Francisco, I had accumulated eighteen CD(-R)s from aspiring hip-hop musicians or affiliated promoters we had met on the road.1 Some of these were handed to me directly, others were passed on by the touring artists who seemed to have little to no interest in them. The CD(-R)s ranged from three-song promotional singles to twenty-five track albums; a few had high-quality professional packaging complete with barcodes, others were simply marker writing on a CD-R—one even came shrink-wrapped in Saran.


Following the tour, I immediately resumed my job at Amoeba Music. With so many obscure used hip-hop CDs available through Amoeba’s employee loan program, my collection of tour music mementos was soon discarded. Fourteen years later, I’ve unpacked these CD(-R)s in order to reflect on their significance for my 2015 IASPM-US presentation (“‘Please Listen to My CD-R’: Unpacking the Music ‘Momentos’ of a National Hip-Hop Tour”). In the process, I made this mix. With the exception of the one CD-R that would not play, I have selected at least one track from each unit.

Looking back, it’s not surprising these musical offerings were so quickly cast aside. For they arrived in the hands of tour members twice devalued. First, as independent hip-hop music—in some cases coming from out-of-the-way locales like Saratoga Springs, New York—they were vying for legitimacy in a genre still largely governed by record-label name-recognition and established regimes of geographic capital. Second, most of these CD(-R)s were not coveted but rather thrust upon us by show attendees and presumed fans; thus meeting one of Christopher J. Washburne and Maiken Derno’s criteria for “bad music”—that which is unwanted.2

In making this mix, I have sought to re-value this formerly depreciated music. While a track like the Dirty Luggage All-Stars’ “Dirty Luggage/State 2 State” is certainly obscure, claiming any song featuring legendary Project Blowdian Mikah-9 as “devalued,” to some hip-hop fans, may be a stretch. Yet listening to other tracks, like Paradigm’s “Questions”—featuring guest emcees Mr. X & Mr. Sin Que—I’m reminded that some of these songs likely represent one of the few opportunities an aspiring artist has to record. So many hopes and aspirations (w)rapped into one forty-bar verse. I hope listeners appreciate the varied production sounds—ranging from the excess distortion of River Edge, New Jersey’s dälek, to the muffled hisses of Phoenix’s Unconventionalz, to the crisp keys and snares offered by Colorado Springs’ The Procussions. The mix closes with Aceyalone’s “Five Feet.” Ironically, this lead single off the tour headliner’s then-just-released album, critiques the very behavior through which most of these CD(-R)s came to us.


Track List:

  1. Arkitech (Audio Aerosol) – Track 5 [Colorado Springs]
  2. Kabir – Track 1 [Cambridge, MA]
  3. Organic Mind Unit – “Chemically Imbalanced” [Chicago]
  4. HAAS – Track 1 [Phoenix]
  5. Kanser – “My Own Two” [Minneapolis – given to me in Lincoln, NE]
  6. Unconventionalz – Track 10 [Phoenix]
  7. Paradigm – “Leverage” [Somers, NY]
  8. Extreme – “Werk Ya Self” [Minneapolis – given to me in Lincoln, NE]
  9. The Procussions – “All That It Takes” [Colorado Springs]
  10. Dirty Luggage All-Stars (featuring Mikah-9) – “Dirty Luggage/State 2 State” [Los Angeles]
  11. Paradigm (featuring Mr. X & Mr. Sin Que) – “Questions” [Somers, NY]
  12. Drunken Immortals – “1999” [Tempe, AZ]
  13. dälek – “Swollen Tongue Bums” [River Edge, NJ]
  14. Alias (Ellis Bancroft) – Track 1 [?]
  15. Legendary Axe (featuring Mic Stylz) – “Big-N-Nasty” [Boston]
  16. Organic Mind Unit – “The Good Shhh” [Chicago]
  17. The Procussions – “Move Yer Self” [Colorado Springs]
  18. k0ng (featuring Jes Hudak) – “How Can I be” [Saratoga Springs, NY]
  19. Drunken Immortals – “MOB U Philosophy” [Tempe, AZ]
  20. Dirty Luggage All-Stars – “Suicidal Soldiers” [Los Angeles]
  21. Aceyalone – “Five Feet” [Ground Control Records, 2000]
  1. This number is likely higher; I am certain that at least these eighteen CD(-R)s were acquired on the tour. There were a handful of others I am unsure about.
  2. Christopher J. Washburne and Maiken Derno. Bad Music: The Music We Love to Hate. (New York: Routledge, 2004), 1.


IASPM-US Interview Series: How to Rap 2, by Paul Edwards

by Victor Szabo on February 24, 2015


In How to Rap 2: Advanced Flow and Delivery Techniques (Chicago Review Press 2013), Paul Edwards builds upon his initial book How to Rap: The Art and Science of the Hip-Hop MC (Chicago Review Press 2009). Edwards gives readers insight on advanced vocal techniques, while also introducing rudiments for MCs. To back up the techniques, the book integrates interviews from over 100 of the best rappers in hip-hop history. Edwards’s How to Rap books are currently being used at the University of Calgary in a linguistics course entitled “Rap Linguistics.” In this interview, Shane Colquhoun discusses with Edwards some of the technical aspects of the book, the current rap music scene, and the value of studying rap music in depth.

Shane Colquhoun: Starting out, I would like to ask, what was your motivation or goal for writing this series of books?

Paul Edwards: My aim originally was just to find out how the art form worked, because it was never really explained anywhere in any detail. If you want to play guitar or sing or learn how to write poetry there are a million books on those subjects, but there was nothing on MCing. I also wanted to catalog all the techniques in the words of as many hip-hop artists as possible, so that there is an historical record of how it’s done.

It would be a shame if nobody collected any of this information while these artists are still around to tell their stories. I felt that the techniques were important and groundbreaking, so they should be preserved just as any other art form is preserved.

SC: What is your musical background? (Are you an avid listener, did you play an instrument, are you an MC yourself)?

PE: I’ve always been an avid listener of music in general, my parents like a lot of different genres so I always heard different types of music. In the past few years though I’ve really been thoroughly going back and listening to as much classic hip-hop as possible, so I haven’t had a chance to really keep up with other forms of music outside of hip-hop or with too much current hip-hop. Also hip-hop today changes so quickly, with most of it not making that much of a permanent mark. Artists that are hyped as the next big thing seem to quickly be forgotten before I even get a chance to listen to them.

For about ten years now I’ve played the doumbek, which is a type of Arabic drum—I grew up in Dubai and Abu Dhabi and I always loved the rhythms and percussion in Arabic music, so that’s how I got into percussion. I’m not a professional, but I can play the main rhythms and I know how they’re put together. That also introduced me to the drum rudiments and that method of learning and practicing rhythms.

Other than the doumbek, I don’t really play any other instruments, though I can get by on a few other percussion instruments, like the bongos. The drumming rhythms also help when I use hip-hop production equipment too, because you can tap out the rhythms when you’re using an MPC sampler/sequencer.

I’ve rapped for fun for a long time and having that personal experience of rapping did help a lot, as it meant I could test out all the techniques and that made them easier to explain. Though I always like to stress that I didn’t come up with any of these techniques myself and I generally don’t like to favor any one set of techniques over another—I’m simply documenting the techniques that already exist with explanations of them from professional MCs.

SC: Do you prefer to use the term “MC” or “rapper”?

PE: I generally use MC rather than rapper, though in most cases I don’t think it makes too big of a difference. Some people use “MC” to mean someone whose music is good and authentic and “rapper” to mean someone whose music is bad and overly commercial, but you can just say that they’re “bad” or “good” anyway, so that doesn’t seem a very useful way to use the terms. However, because some people do use “rapper” as a negative term, I usually avoid it and use “MC” instead, just so there is no confusion and they don’t think I’m dissing someone by calling them a rapper. The only time I think it makes a difference is when you’re talking about performing live, where you might be referring to MCing in its original sense of actually being a “master of ceremonies” and being skillful with an audience.

SC: Do you believe that MCing or rap music in general is viewed as an art and a science by the masses, and more specifically, by scholars and classically trained musicians?

PE: There are a lot of people who do view it as an art and science, but then there are two other groups: those who see it as something that’s not worth their time and then the other extreme, where they think it’s magic and that there are no “techniques” that can be learned.
Though I think most people understand that it’s like learning an instrument or singing—it’s a complex skill like any other.

I think scholars and classically trained musicians have different views from each other. Scholars are often very interested in hip-hop, but usually not from a musical standpoint—it’s usually either studied very, very broadly as a culture, or the focus is entirely on the content as a “text” rather than as anything musical.

Those are interesting ways of looking at it, but I don’t think that many scholars value hip-hop as a form of music. From what I’ve seen, it’s often downplayed and devalued as actual music—I often see phrases such as “hip-hop is a lot more than just music.” The use of words like “just” suggests that the music isn’t a worthwhile thing to study on its own and that it has to be put in a broader context for it to be “important.” So I think there are a lot of scholars that do want to study hip-hop, but only from a certain angle, and to do that they often have to downplay the musical angle.

I haven’t really seen that many classically trained musicians engaging that much with MCing or hip-hop in general, either positively or negatively, so I’m not sure if there is a general view that they have of it. I get the impression that it’s not really viewed as a “serious” form of music by some classically trained people, though I do know that there are music scholars working on hip-hop such as Kyle Adams and Justin Williams, so that’s starting to become more prevalent. I think the lack of serious musical analysis is not necessarily unique to hip-hop though, I know a number of classically trained musicians who don’t consider rock music or electronic music to be worthy of study either.

One problem is that some classical musicians approach other genres with a classical music mindset—expecting every genre to value the same elements that classical music does. When people do that, they invariably find nothing of “value” in the other genres, because they’re looking in the wrong places.

In pop music it’s important to understand different types of choruses and creating a groove, as well as how the songs are produced and mixed and how the performer’s personality comes across in the music. You really have to get into the music to know what’s valued within each genre, so you can start comparing different songs to understand why some songs are acclaimed and some aren’t.

Looking at hip-hop specifically, you can spend hours analyzing how a specific snare sound was EQed in the studio, because that’s important in hip-hop, while in classical music that’s not really valued. There is a lot of complexity in hip-hop and also in pop music, but if people don’t know where to look, or if they’re expecting complexity in the same places as in classical music, then they’ll come away thinking other genres are simplistic.

It’s also down to the way people study music and learn how to play instruments. A lot of that educational infrastructure is built around classical music, so it gives that particular mindset precedence right from the beginning with a lot of people.

It works the other way around though too—people who don’t listen to classical music often don’t know how to listen to it and what to listen for, and so they don’t know what they’re missing. So I think there is an educational gap there in both cases, where people need to learn what different genres value.


SC: As a classically trained percussionist, I was interested with the way you implemented drum terms and really focused on rhythm in Chapters 1 and 3, as well as how you implemented rudiments.

PE: That percussion angle came mainly from the MCs that I interviewed, because so many of them told me that they see themselves as percussionists and that they had either learned the drums or had an interest in the drums, and that they had systems to notate the rhythms of one kind or another. And the MCs who were also beatmakers and producers told me that they would often look at the rapped rhythms as simply another percussion instrument on their beat.

One of the great things with the software that’s used for making beats is that they usually have a visual representation of the rhythms in a grid format (usually called a “step sequencer”), which makes it easy to “see” the rhythms. People who are interested in MCing often make beats too, so it made sense to use a kind of “grid” style with the rhythms.

The percussion angle is really important, though MCing is also a combination of several different disciplines. To represent it accurately I think you have to use bits and pieces from percussion, general music theory, poetry/literature analysis, and linguistics to get the complete picture. I like to approach MCing as its own unique thing and then use the most suitable tools from various disciplines to represent it. I think sometimes scholars try to use just one discipline to explain it (e.g. just poetry analysis, or just music theory), and they end up having to twist MCing to try to get it to fit into that one form, and it gives a skewed view of it.

SC: As simple of an idea as it may be, up until I read your book I never thought of flow and content separately as two elements of the rapping. Can you explain the concept of flow vs content?

PE: That was something I had to do early on in the process of writing the books—I had to untangle the elements of MCing so that they could be broken down and organized. The content includes the topics you’re rapping about, and the literary techniques and structures you’re using such as metaphors, similes, story structure, etc.

The “flow” refers to the rhythms and the rhyme schemes and how they interact. And there is also the “delivery,” which is how you use your voice. Sometimes people refer to both the flow and delivery as just the “flow,” but it’s clearer if you separate them, especially if you want to break down and organize the techniques.

SC: As it pertains to timbre in Chapter 2, what characteristics come naturally, and what characteristics can be developed?

PE: The elements that are part of your normal speaking voice are the most natural and easiest to use on a record. For example if you’ve got a raspy speaking voice, you can easily be raspy on a record.

I think most vocal characteristics can be developed with enough practice. If you look at people who do voice-over work for cartoons and movies, they can usually do some pretty crazy voices just from having experimented so much, regardless of how their normal voice sounds. People like Hank Azaria who does voices on the Simpsons, or Andy Serkis who did Gollum in the Lord of the Rings, they can combine lots of different characteristics and they work a lot on developing those voices. Even without practice I think most people can put on a few different voices.

Obviously there will be some limits, such as how high or low your voice can go, or if you have a lisp then that will probably always be present. However, I think most people have the potential to do a lot of things with their voice, probably more than they think they can.

SC: Punchlines are very important in rapping. What are your thoughts on phrasing?

PE: Phrasing the punchlines correctly is important because there are many different ways to say the same thing, but certain ways will be more memorable. I think MCs like Big Daddy Kane and Jay-Z are particularly good at phrasing—it comes across as playful and witty, while also being conversational and direct. I think some of the more technical MCs can sometimes phrase things in such a complex way that it gets lost or it doesn’t have the same impact as someone who can still be clever, but also direct at the same time.

Lines are sometimes more memorable if they’re phrased in an “odd” way, in a way that is just so unusual that it sticks in your mind. I think Kool Keith and some of the Wu-Tang members are really good at that kind of phrasing.

SC: We all know that music moves in cycles, and like anything else. there are trends. What rhythmic patterns and trends do you find to be trending in MCing today?

PE: Recently there has been something people have been calling the “Migos flow,” which is named after the group Migos, who use it a lot. It’s the same technique I describe in “How to Rap 2” on pg. 26, “Triplets over Four 16ths”, which are sometimes also called, “8th note triplets.” (An illustrative montage of the “Migos flow” can be viewed here.)

The example I use in the book is from a Chubb Rock song from 1989, so it’s clearly not a new technique in rapping. It was used a lot in the 1990s by groups such as Three 6 Mafia and Bone Thugs N Harmony, and I’ve found examples of MCs using it as far back as 1986, but it’s recently surged in popularity with everyone from Drake to Kanye using it heavily.

The other thing that has become very popular again recently is rapping fast using 32nd notes. Again, this was popular as far back as 1992 when Twista made “Mister Tung Twista” and around that time several MCs made it into the Guinness Book of World Records as being the fastest rappers. It’s always been quite popular, but people like Eminem and Tech N9ne have really brought that to the forefront again.

One technique that I don’t really hear much of nowadays is what Shock G calls “lazy tails” (on pg. 33 of “How to Rap 2”). It was a key technique in early ’90s West Coast gangsta rap and it pretty much defined the laid back rapping style by sliding off the beat, but it faded out and hasn’t made a big comeback yet.

SC: If you were building the perfect rapper, based on all the elements mentioned in your books, what artist(s) (past or present) would you combine to pattern your rapper after?

PE: I would probably include the content of someone like Pharoahe Monch or the groups Latyrx and Blackalicious, where they often have strong, unique concepts to tie whole songs together. Then as far as the flow, I like people with constantly changing, unpredictable flows, so someone like Method Man or Lady of Rage or E-40 where they do a lot of different techniques and where it’s difficult to predict where the flow will go next. With the delivery, I like people with distinct voices like B-Real or Mystikal and I also like MCs who half-sing sometimes like the Pharcyde, Shock G, or Del the Funky Homosapien.

Also I think ability to pick good beats is a big part of it. For me personally, I love the golden age style of beats, with lots of samples and a collage of sounds. There are some MCs who I think are really great at MCing, but who often choose lackluster beats and so it makes it hard to get into their music.

SC: Who is on your Mount Rushmore of rappers?

PE: Rakim, Kool G Rap, Big Daddy Kane, and KRS-One… I think if you could only ever study four MCs, those would be the four that are able to teach you the vast majority of the techniques through their music.

SC: In the process of your interviews, which interview stuck out to you most? Why?

PE: There were many that stuck out, though I’d probably have to say Kool G Rap, as he was really articulate in explaining his craft and really went into detail about how he did things. To hear some of the explanations behind the records and techniques that influenced so many other MCs was amazing, as he is one of the originators of that style of complex rhyming.

I generally found that the MCs who were more complex and technical in their music talked for longer and in went into more detail. Which makes sense, because if you’ve thought a lot about the science of writing raps, you’re probably going to have a lot more to say and more opinions about it than someone who has a simpler style. Though I do appreciate the simpler styles of MCing as well—they can be very effective and they add to the variety of hip-hop.

SC: In closing, is there anything that you would like to add or comment on that I might have missed?

PE: I just wanted to add that I like where hip-hop books and hip-hop studies in general have started to go recently. They seem to slowly be covering more aspects of hip-hop, especially the musical aspects, and presenting a fuller look at the genre. I think for a while hip-hop studies were obsessed with a very narrow range of concerns and those became the standard approaches for everyone. When looking over the existing literature in the past, it could be intimidating to see so much of a focus on certain subjects and none on others, as it suggested that certain topics were not considered important. So it’s great to see the lines of enquiry broadening and to see different subsections of hip-hop literature becoming more robust.

Here’s a video link that highlights parts of the book.

Paul Edwards is a writer and researcher of hip-hop who has interviewed more than 100 of hip-hop’s most acclaimed and notable rappers, and done extensive research on rappers’ creative processes, musical theories, and lyrics. He has been interviewed by the Chicago Tribune, the New York Amsterdam News, Chuck D’s New York radio show, Australia’s Acclaim Magazine, UK’s Echoes Magazine, Germany’s HHV Magazine, HipHopDX, and Time Out Dubai, and has been referred to as “the Aristotle of Hip-Hop poetics” by internationally acclaimed and award-winning poet Dana Gioia. He holds a Master’s degree in postmodernism, literature, and contemporary culture from University of London. Contact: howtorapbook (at) gmail.com

Shane Colquhoun is an educator, producer, arranger, and currently serves as the Director of Bands at Loachapoka High School. He received his MMEd from Auburn University, and his research interests include culturally relevant music ensembles, urban/suburban music education, and popular music pedagogy. He can be reached at colquhoun.shane (at) gmail.com.


2015 IASPM-US Conference Program PDF

by Jessica Dilday on February 17, 2015

At last, the 2015 IASPM-US Conference has arrived! Here is the program PDF available for download. Please consult this program for important information about registration and session locations, shuttles, and parking.


CFP: 2015 David Sanjek Memorial Graduate Student Paper Prize

by Jessica Dilday on January 27, 2015


The committee for the David Sanjek Graduate Student Paper Prize of the International Association for the Study of Popular Music – US Branch (IASPM-US) invites graduate students who will be presenting at the 2015 IASPM-US annual conference to submit their papers for consideration.

Eligibility: Any student who presents, in person, a formal paper at the IASPM-US annual meeting is eligible for the prize. A student shall be defined as a person pursuing an active course of studies in a degree program. This includes persons who are engaged in writing the doctoral dissertation but not those who are teaching full-time while doing so. Student applicants must be members of IASPM-US.

Application Process: To apply for the prize, candidates must electronically submit a copy of their paper to 2015sanjekprize@gmail.com along with a brief bio (75 words) and copy of their conference registration receipt.

The deadline for submissions is Thursday, February 12 at 11:59 pm. The paper deposited is to be the version that is read at the conference and may not exceed twelve double-spaced pages (roughly 3,900 words).

The winner will be announced at the general business meeting at the annual conference and the award includes a cash prize of $350.

Please feel free to email the chair of the committee, Diane Pecknold (depeck01@louisville.edu), if you have any questions.

Committee:  Ed Comentale, Diane Pecknold, Eric Weisbard


IASPM-US Election Ballot

by Jessica Dilday on January 26, 2015

The ballot for this year’s IASPM-US election has gone out to all members. The deadline for voting is Tuesday February 3rd. If you are a member of the organization and expected to receive a ballot but did not, please contact Rebekah Farrugia at farrugia@oakland.edu.


My new book Resilience & Melancholy: pop music, feminism, & neoliberalism is about the politics and aesthetics of post-feminist pop music. Resilience–the practice of extracting surplus value from damage or crisis–is the ideal that informs both contemporary Western ideals about femininity and musical pleasure. As I say on the back cover, “When most people think that “little girls should be seen and not heard,” a noisy, riotous scream can be revolutionary. But that’s not the case anymore. (Cis/Het/White) Girls aren’t supposed to be virginal, passive objects, but Poly-Styrene-like sirens who scream back in spectacularly noisy and transgressive ways as they “Lean In.”” White supremacist, patriarchal, capitalist society expects women to roar, and it expects us to like hearing them roar.

In post-feminist pop music, the lyrics focus on women’s overcoming of the damage patriarchy inflicts on them–negative body image, “controlling images” (stereotypes), etc. The music similarly manifests resilience, often in the form of the musical gesture called “the soar,” which I argue is a sonic analogue for shock-doctrine style capitalism. The tape begins with white feminist approaches to resilience and ends with black feminist and queer responses to resilience discourse. It also begins from a pretty peppy pop place and ends in deeper, more dance-oriented grooves. I’ll leave it to the listeners to figure out whether that correlation between politics and aesthetics is a coincidence or not.

This songs on this mixtape are mainly songs I discuss in the book. Like the book, the mixtape traces the contours of post-feminist pop, and considers both paradigmatic examples and notable counter-examples, critiques, and responses. But the mixtape can do things the book can’t: it can reveal sonic relationships, patterns, and practices that theory might not be the best medium for examining. And whereas a theorist would tell you what those relationships, patterns, and practices are, a DJ leaves that up to her listeners to hear and discover themselves.

I left the songs relatively unaltered, and didn’t do a lot of painstaking mixing. First, so that we can more accurately assess the ideological and aesthetic work these songs do as most people hear them in everyday life, we should hear the songs in their most commonly-consumed forms. Thus, I took a more curatorial approach to the mixtape, one that focused on setting the musical objects in the right light, and in the right arrangement with other objects, so that interesting features and relationships emerge from the arrangement. Second, because the songs were chosen primarily for their social and ideological meaning (and not for specific musical features), the tempo variation among the songs is more than I have the time or chops to transform into some carefully cross-faded mix.


Robin James is Associate Professor of Philosophy at UNC Charlotte. She is author of two books: Resilience & Melancholy: pop music, feminism, and neoliberalism will be published by Zer0 books in February 2015, and The Conjectural Body: gender, race and the philosophy of music was published by Lexington Books in 2010. Her work on feminism, race, contemporary continental philosophy, pop music, and sound studies has appeared in The New Inquiry, Noisey, SoundingOut!, Hypatia, differences, Contemporary Aesthetics, and the Journal of Popular Music Studies. She is also a digital sound artist and musician, and often works as a member of citation:obsolete. She blogs at its-her-factory.com and is a regular contributor to Cyborgology & xcphilosophy.

Track Listing:
Meghan Trainor – All About That Bass
Taylor Swift – Shake It Off
Lady Gaga (feat. Beyonce) – Telephone
Beyonce (feat. Lady Gaga) – Video Phone
Miley Cyrus – We Can’t Stop
Katy Perry- This Is How We Do
Rihanna – Pour It Up
Diplo & Grandtheft – Sweet Nothing remix
The Bottoms – My Body
Nicki Minaj – Anaconda


Michigan Sound Conference CFP

by Jessica Dilday on January 19, 2015


10 am – 8 pm, Friday May 22, 2015 at the Detroit Public Library.

Music, Arts & Literature Department, Third Floor

This event is free and open to the public.

Please RSVP and / or donate here.

Call for Papers

The Detroit Sound Conservancy (DSC) will host our second annual conference on Friday, May 22, 2015 at the Detroit Public Library dedicated to Michigan and Detroit’s musical heritage. The question our presenters will explore is how has Michigan generally, and Detroit in particular, been a leader in the creation of the global modern soundscape?

The inspiration for the conference comes from the Michigan Modern exhibition held summer 2013 at Cranbrook in Bloomfield Hills, MI that focused on Michigan architecture and design. Similarly, our conference will focus on the relationship between sound and music as they relate to Michigan design and architecture in the 20th century. How have Michigan’s spaces of sound (studios, radio stations, clubs, concert venues, cars, etc.) played a key role in how we have come to hear and experience sound and music? What role do they still play today?

This conference connects directly to the DSC’s mission of preserving sounds and telling stories. It also educates the public, helping to disseminate historic designation knowledge and resources not just in Detroit but across Michigan.

Our first successful conference held last Memorial Day weekend in the Music Sheet Room in the Music, Arts, and Literature Department of the Detroit Public Library, featured 28 local and national speakers on a wide range of topics related to Detroit music history, from the influence of Latin culture on Detroit music to the influence of Detroit’s ballroom architecture on live music performance. (See our video recap here.)

It is our hope that this “Michigan Sound” conference will encourage and spread a more robust discussion on how we might preserve, protect, and celebrate Michigan’s sonic story.

Please note: while we encourage papers to address the conference theme, we remain open to papers concerning Detroit music.

The deadline for presentation/workshop proposals and sponsorship opportunities is Friday, February 6, 2015.

Single presentations should be 15-20 minutes long; panels 60-75 minutes plus Q&A.

Please send a 250-word abstract plus 100-word author bio, as well as any inquiries, to Conference Chair Denise Dalphond via denisedalphond@gmail.com.


how many things in the universe are about heartbreak haha.  and how many ways can we make heartbreak an issue of feminism? and it is. it truly is. and at it’s very core it’s also about rejection. it’s about time and space and essence. and it’s about a terrible someone. someone who doesn’t see your heart of honey. of amber inside of you. but maybe you didn’t find their’s either. and it’s about finding yourself in the break. (thanks fred moten). there are so many things we see in the break. so many ways that the magma leaks out of us and we feel the heat. we feel what has been suppressed by “love.” and we see what can ooze out because of Real Love. this mix is about breaking and healing and getting to know our love lava. it’s about finding love in water, in the ocean, in the air. it’s about not letting your love evaporate for good. wet_woke_washed     getting to weep and ponder and swim and choke and dance ourselves into the loving reality we so deeply wish for. share this with someone who needs Real Love. Which is Everyone.

About Nicole Campbell: from brklyn to durham. artist, disc jockey, writer, celestial body, daughter, sister, organizer, a woman-being boyishly, human prism. fleshy radio wave. furthering my commitment to putting what i need for myself into the universe. dancing all over and through this revolution. main goals are healing, self-love, and making making making. aquarius sun, scorpio moon, venus in pisces. often hungry for food and for love. seashells4teeth.tumblr.com








warsan shire – 34 excuses for why we failed at love
michael rasbury – roanoke field recordings
laurel halo – dr. echt
fatima – gave me my name
nina simone – suzanne (leonard cohen cover)
greg fox – it’s ok
earth kitt on love and compromise
ras g – penny’s confession
andre 3000 – vibrate
[the heathers … girl scout cookie]
audre lorde – the best man ≈≈≈
shanti celeste – universal glow (into)
imi_ – OL 4 my people
j dilla – bye (feb 7)
finis africae – segundos, segundos, segundos
kristian pontoppidan – autumn rain recording (Dyrehaven, denmark)
ashrae fax – fits and starts(bee yrself)


IASPM-US: Call for Assistant Web Editor

January 6, 2015

The executive committee of IASPM-US is currently seeking applicants to fill the position of Assistant Web Editor. The Assistant Web Editor commits to a 21-month volunteer position that begins May 2015. In the first nine months, primary responsibilities include managing social media networks for IASPM-US (Facebook, Twitter, Mixcloud), writing the monthly IASPM-US website email digest, […]

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“The Art of Sampling: When Rap Music Meets Classical” by Shane Colquhoun

January 5, 2015

With this mixtape I explore the heavily debated topic of music sampling. More specifically, I focus on rap songs that sample classical music and have created a tape that illustrates the creativity and power of sampling. The art of sampling is a technique of looping a segment of a song or sound and reusing it […]

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“JRIDOL MIX 00″ by Dante Fuumo

December 22, 2014

In Japan, the term Junior Idol can describe young girls and boys in mainstream entertainment like BabyMetal, AKB48 and Momoiro Clover Z. Many of these performers are also produced in gravure, a genre of modeling descended from western pin-up photography. Though junior idol gravure does not feature nudity, producers often blur the line between art […]

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“From Oral Tradition to Carnivalization: Chutney Soca, the Indian Sound of the Caribbean” by Darrell G. Baksh

December 15, 2014

Transported from the ‘Cow Belt’ of India – the northern states of Uttar Pradesh and Bihar – under conditions of indentured labour to Trinidad, chutney soca is the name ascribed to the dance-oriented fusion of chutney, the ‘hot’ and ‘spicy’ Trinidadian re-mix of Bhojpuri folk music, and soca, the contemporary African-derived music of Trinidad’s illustrious […]

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“NOLA Hiphop Archive” by Alison Fensterstock and Holly Hobbs

December 8, 2014

Compiled by Times-Picayune music writer Alison Fensterstock and Tulane University PhD Candidate Holly Hobbs, this mixtape was inspired by the launch of the NOLA Hiphop and Bounce Archive in December 2014, the first university-affiliated Southern rap archive in the Deep South. The archive includes over 50 audio interviews and photographs from Alison Fensterstock and Aubrey […]

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