Guarding the Borders of the Hip-Hop Nation: I don’t normally link to NY Times articles because it’s subscription-only, but this is a great, sad article, coolly observational pen-portraits of individuals involved in personal and public struggles over who (literally, culturally) ‘owns’ hip-hop. Almost too much here to comment on, plus I’m really tired and wretched-feeling, but…

Is it possible to consume hip-hop – on any music -innocently? As a hip-hop dilettante based in Britain, most of the direct issues this article covered don’t seem to impact on me: but of course ‘seem’ is the operative word here. The issue that’s never covered in the article is whether or not liking music that’s associated with a particular ‘community’ neccessarily means that you want to join or influence that community yourself – the unspoken assumption throughout the piece is that white kids who listen to hip-hop do so because they want to be black, but certainly from a personal point of view that’s never been the issue (or has it? the thing with race issues is that so much motivation seems to be subconscious…).

One thing I can say for sure is that the piece presses the usual NYLPM buttons by never reflecting that kids might not be listening to hip-hop for the lyrics.

Damn, time runs out for these scatty reflections – but one final question? At what point does a music’s creation of a ‘community’ and lifestyle around itself turn from endoskeletal (offering support and freedom of movement) to exoskeletal (offering protection but also limiting growth)?