I argue that its absorption has not occurred in a vacuum but is actually related to a larger weakness of U. Lastly, I look at Filipino American hip-hop artists Native Guns as a timely case study.
I show that their music continues the long history of Filipinos in America who use their cultural work to resist and challenge structures of exploitation, domination, and an ideology of racism.
These two classes have a completely different relationship to the production process.
The working classes are the producers of wealth but do not benefit from its creation.
The music that dominates the top of the charts speaks to this shift, as icons such as Jay-Z, 50 Cent, and Lil’ Kim commonly describe themselves as business entrepreneurs, thereby associating themselves more closely with the white male business giants than with the people from their respective working-class communities of color.
Hip-hop’s absorption into a culture of capitalism is not an isolated occurrence but replicates the experience of many movements of the progressive left.Hip-hop still remains a valuable musical form that can raise people’s consciousness of racism in this society, however.Mainstream artists such as Ice Cube, Queen Latifah, and Jay-Z have produced songs that call attention to black-on-black crime and police brutality in America’s inner cities. David Roediger in his important book describes racism as “a large, low-hanging branch of a tree that is rooted in class relations.” He elaborates that “we must constantly remind ourselves that the branch is not the same as the roots, that people may more often bump into the branch than the roots, and that the best way to shake the roots may at times be by grabbing the branch.” Given the recent disaster that demolished New Orleans and the inability of government bodies to mobilize adequate resources to the people hit hardest by this catastrophe, it is more precise to describe race as the piercing blade and class relations as the spear. Without analyzing race and class as dialectically linked in the reproduction of capitalist relations, we are ill equipped to suture the deep cut that has afflicted so many people in New Orleans, Los Angeles, and other cities throughout the country.Karl Marx’s search for an answer to this question led him to believe that the conflicts of human beings could be explained only by a comprehensive investigation of history and the underlying driving forces of social development.A historical materialist orientation sees antagonisms in U. society as rooted in a conflict of two main classes: the capitalist class and the working class.“Filipino writers in the Philippines [and the United States] have a great task ahead of them, but also a great future. They should rewrite everything written about the Philippines and the Filipino people from the materialist, dialectical point of view — this being, the only [way] to understand and interpret everything Philippines.” — Carlos Bulosan In his essay “The Writer as Worker,” Carlos Bulosan expressed the inexhaustible material that could be written on the subject of Filipinos as products of two distinct but intersecting histories (the Philippines and the United States).He stressed that this subject should always be written from a historical materialist perspective and “for the people, because the people are the creators and appreciators of culture.” A historical materialist orientation rejects the notion that U. history is comprised of unique, accidental, and unpredictable events resulting from conflicting desires in human beings.If you don’t, then you can suffer the consequences.”Examining the diverse historical forms of racism, a fluid ideology to preserve dominant class interests and to divide the working class, is crucial to understanding the history of Filipinos in the United States.Bob Wing, in “Crossing Race and Nationality,” reminds us that, during the 1960s, the Asian-American movements “dramatically transformed the political consciousness and institutional infrastructure of the different Asian-American communities.” Among Filipino Americans, a critical consciousness of and opposition to alienation and racial oppression emerged decades earlier.Not only in order to grasp the structures of domination in their historical genesis and contradictory development which foreshadows their dissolution, but also in order to help constitute the true historical consciousness of the new social agency.This essay is my attempt to write about Filipino American hip-hop from a historical materialist perspective with the deeper understanding that hip-hop is an art form that was created “for the people.” I begin with an analysis of hip-hop and its absorption into a culture of capitalism. Second, I claim that, for Filipino American hip-hop to effectively resist its co-optation, it must revive the anticapitalist and antiracist perspectives embodied in the cultural work Carlos Bulosan.