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“Still we all gon rise”: Indigenous Hip Hop, Racial Capitalism, and the Quest for Indigenous Sovereignty in the Work of Snotty Nose Rez Kids

Stefan Benz

Pages 247 - 264



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This article studies the ways in which "Snotty Nose Rez Kids" (2017), the debut album of First Nations rap duo Snotty Nose Rez Kids (Haisla), uses hip hop to present an extensive critique of interlocked settler colonialism and racial capitalism. I argue that the genre-specific aesthetics of hip hop—its sonic, visual, and, above all, its lyric potential—lend themselves particularly to SNRK’s project of formulating both political and linguistic resistance against the oppressive practices of the settler-colonial-capitalist state and the ideologies that undergird it. These aesthetics allow them to creatively reclaim settler colonial, racist-classist stereotypes of Indigenous people to subvert settler colonial rhetoric by channeling hip hop’s potential as a “resistance vernacular” (Potter; Mitchell), and to claim iconic symbols of mainstream pop culture in order to reappropriate them in a distinctly Indigenous cultural context. Within a contemporary moment fraught with racialized capitalist crises, their rendition of Indigenous hip hop thus not only participates in an “assertion of Indigenous sovereignty,” but it further renegotiates Indigenous people as “modern subjects” (Mays).

Key Words: Indigenous hip hop; rap; settler colonialism; racial capitalism; sovereignty

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