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Popular Music in Communist and Post-Communist Europe

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Edited By Jan Blüml, Yvetta Kajanová and Rüdiger Ritter

Through selected topics, the book presents an up-to-date and comprehensive view of the popular music of communist and post-communist Europe. The studies introduce new sources, discuss transformations of the institutional background of popular music of the given geopolitical sphere, its social, cultural-political, or artistic conditions. Thanks to the time span of nearly thirty years since the fall of the Iron Curtain, the authors have in many ways revised or supplemented traditional post-communist perceptions of the issues in question. This is being done with respect to the genres such as jazz, rock, pop, singer-songwriters, hip-hop, or White Power Music, as well as across the whole region from the former Yugoslavia through Central European states to the countries of the former Soviet Union.

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No Room for Communism: Topics in Early Romanian Hip Hop

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Abstract: The early 90s were a tumultuous period in Romania’s modern history. Navigating the landscape of the post-communist transition threw the country into a state of political and economic unrest which lasted until the middle of the decade (with ramifications that extend to the present day). This time period coincided with the formation of the very first Romanian hip-hop groups. While the bumpy road towards democratic consolidation would have been the most obvious topic for the voices of the many hitherto voiceless hip-hopers, Romanian artists adopted a different route, opting instead to address poverty in isolation, with no reference to the pre- and post-Revolution events that brought about the new zeitgeist.

Keywords: hip hop; Romania; communism; post communism; lyrics

Introduction. Communism is the source of all evil in contemporary Romania. Or at least this is the impression one gets when reading newspapers, watching talk shows, or reading academic papers on various subjects, including music, from 1990 onwards.1 But the tremor of the fall of communism in Romania seems to have nonchalantly shirked the hip hop scene. While the genre technically hit the country in 1983,2 an indigenous hip hop scene emerged only after the fall of the Ceausescu regime, for obvious reasons. However, this early 90s indigenization could be seen as hazy and having happened at a superficial level. Whereas the media, academia, and even other forms of entertainment were linking the economic and political unrest to the sudden fall of communism and...

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