Hip hop has taken over the world like no other genre. Originating in the Bronx, New York in the early 1970s, rappers and beat makers can now be found in all corners of the globe, giving a voice to a whole range of identities and experiences. Moreover, its historic connection to social inequality, political struggle and minority empowerment, as well as an unprecedentedly low barrier to entry (all one really needs to become a rapper is an internet connection), makes hip hop not only a particularly translatable medium but an outright portal into different cultures.
The first of its kind, an interactive database documenting hip hop in almost every country around the world, this list aims to pop the English-speaking-music-only bubble that exists even on the internet in the form of search algorithms and language barriers (i.e. googling a Chinese song on an English keyboard is not fun).
In taking some liberties with the word ‘country’ by registering ‘regions’ like Alaska and Tibet as separate categories, and also missing out a very few select ’countries’ like Vatican City and Monaco, this list inadvertently embroils itself in a series of difficult questions: what exactly defines a country? Why do I, myself, like certain sounds and not others? In our upcoming series of articles exploring the globe’s varied hip hop scenes we begin to untangle these questions, and many others.
Despite all this fancy talk however, in reality this list is the product of too much free time, a diet consisting only of peanuts and not going outside. Enjoy.
Check out the full list or the accompanying playlist of highlights here: