Chicano Rap & Chicano Cinema during the early 1990s. Narratives of Social Struggle and (in-) Justice

Mausfeld, Dianne Violeta (30 March 2019). Chicano Rap & Chicano Cinema during the early 1990s. Narratives of Social Struggle and (in-) Justice (Unpublished). In: Balancing The Mix: A Conference On Popular Music And Social Justice. University of Memphis, USA. 30.3.2019.

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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 and DJs, such as Kid Frost and Tony 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 and multilingual lyrics (English, Spanish, “Spanglish”), and the proclaiming of Chicano pride. The lyrics talked about police brutality, Mexican heroes and daily life in the barrio, thus articulating their alienation from White America. Similarly, Chicano cinema has been a powerful expression of Chicano identity since the late 1960s. In the early 1990s, both Chicano Rap and Chicano cinema covered shared narratives of Chicano struggle and Mexican symbolism.
This paper aims to pinpoint these narratives of social struggle and (in-) justice. The main focus lies on how ethnic identity formation, marginalization, gang violence and prison are being portrayed in early 1990s Chicano Rap music and Chicano cinema. This will be exemplified by an in-depth analysis of the song “Ain’t No Sunshine” by Kid Frost (1992), its lyrics and music samples, as well as the correspondent music video. Since this song was featured on the original soundtrack of Edward James Olmos´s American Me (1992), the correlation between popular music and motion pictures will also be discussed. Both examples address prison time as a part of Chicano life, that destroys relationships, shifts priorities and changes the way justice is being seen by (ex-) inmates forever.

Item Type:

Conference or Workshop Item (Paper)


06 Faculty of Humanities > Other Institutions > Walter Benjamin Kolleg (WBKolleg)
06 Faculty of Humanities > Other Institutions > Walter Benjamin Kolleg (WBKolleg) > Center for Global Studies (CGS)
06 Faculty of Humanities > Department of History and Archaeology > Institute of History > Institute of History, Iberian and Latin American History
06 Faculty of Humanities > Department of Art and Cultural Studies > Institute of Musicology

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:

03 Jun 2020 09:04

Last Modified:

05 Dec 2022 15:38

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