Mexican-American Cultural Signifiers in West Coast Hip-Hop during the 1980s & 1990s

Mausfeld, Dianne Violeta (24 May 2019). Mexican-American Cultural Signifiers in West Coast Hip-Hop during the 1980s & 1990s (Unpublished). In: 27th Conference of the Latin American Studies Association. Boston Marriott Copley Place/ Boston Sheraton Hotel, Boston, USA. 24. - 27.05.2019.

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Hip-Hop has been a voice to disenfranchised and marginalized Black and Latino youth since its creation in the 1970s. In the course of the rise of Hip-Hop culture in Los Angeles, California, during the 1980s and 1990s, “Chicano Rap” evolved. Created by Latin- and Mexican-American rappers, such as Kid Frost and Mellow Man Ace, as well as DJs like Tony G. and Julio G., this sub-genre followed in the footsteps of African-American Gangsta rap. However, Chicano Rap evolved in a unique way due to transcultural features of music, language and cultural signifiers. Key characteristics were Latin and Mexican music samples, multilingual lyrics (English, Spanish, “Spanglish”), and the proclaiming of Chicano pride. The lyrics told stories about gang violence, Mexican heroes and daily life in the barrio, thus articulating their alienation from White America. While strongly identifying with both Los Angeles and their Mexican heritage, these actors created a brand-new identity forging music style in Southern California. The main objective of this paper is to emphasize the Mexican-American manifestation of Hip-Hop culture in the unique multi-cultural environment of urban Los Angeles in terms of ethnic identity formation, symbolism, performance and musical styles. The central focus is an in-depth analysis of the early Chicano rap song “La Raza” by Kid Frost (1990), its lyrics and music samples, as well as the multilayered symbolic aspects in the correspondent music video.

Item Type:

Conference or Workshop Item (Paper)


06 Faculty of Humanities > Department of History and Archaeology > Institute of History > Institute of History, Iberian and Latin American History

Graduate School:

Graduate School of the Humanities (GSH)

UniBE Contributor:

Mausfeld, Dianne Violeta


700 Arts > 780 Music
900 History > 980 History of South America


[42] Schweizerischer Nationalfonds




Dianne Violeta Mausfeld

Date Deposited:

26 May 2020 12:28

Last Modified:

26 May 2020 12:28


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