Beyond the crew: hip-hop and professionalization in Mexico City

Green, A. (2021) Beyond the crew: hip-hop and professionalization in Mexico City. Cultural Sociology, (doi: 10.1177/17499755211015170) (Early Online Publication)

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In recent years profesionalización – professionalization – has become an increasingly influential concept in the hip-hop scene in Mexico City. This term can refer to a variety of changing practices relating to artistic presentation, the organization of hip-hop events, and the hip-hop scene’s model of creative production. The influence of professionalization relates to the rising specialization of hip-hop production and the increasing importance of the digital circulation of music and images; increasingly, success is made on YouTube and Spotify. It also relates to new sources of income, such as freestyle rap battles with corporate sponsorship, and to nascent spaces for hip-hop within adult education. Above all, professionalization relates to a series of structural changes connected to the declining influence of crews, oriented around something akin to Spillman’s ‘non-strategic solidarity’: fraternity, informality, and shared identity. In some cases, crews are giving way to more formal ‘teams’, oriented around the solo artists that now dominate the hip-hop scene. This article builds on ongoing ethnographic research since 2012 and a series of interviews with over 40 local hip-hop artists, to explore professionalism and professionalization as emergent, negotiated values within Mexico City’s hip-hop scene. It offers a frame through which different ideas of the ‘professional’ may be considered: object-forming (relating to the creation of a ‘professional’ music object) and subject-forming (relating to the formation of a ‘professional’ subject). Profesionalización cannot be understood in a functionalist sense, nor may the hip-hop ‘professional’ be conceptualized as a straightforward antonym of ‘amateur’. This article instead shows different ways that ‘object-forming’ and ‘subject-forming’ professionalization both incorporate and texture the ‘non-strategic’ and distinguish hip-hop ‘professionalism’ from the same texture the ‘non-strategic’, and distinguish hip-hop professionalism from it.

Item Type:Articles
Status:Early Online Publication
Glasgow Author(s) Enlighten ID:Green, Dr Andrew
Authors: Green, A.
College/School:College of Arts > School of Culture and Creative Arts > Music
Journal Name:Cultural Sociology
Publisher:SAGE Publications
ISSN (Online):1749-9763
Published Online:11 June 2021
Copyright Holders:Copyright © 2021 SAGE Publications
First Published:First published in Cultural Sociology 2021
Publisher Policy:Reproduced under a Creative Commons License

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Project CodeAward NoProject NamePrincipal InvestigatorFunder's NameFunder RefLead Dept
300054Sonic Trajectories of Censorship in Mexico (STCM)Andrew GreenLeverhulme Trust (LEVERHUL)ECF-2017-159Arts - Music