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Thursday, September 10, 1:30pm - 2:15 SPOTLIGHT PANEL (Live Discussion of Asynchronous Feature Panel)

Black Youth, Social Hacking and The Business of Digital Clout: Chicago’s Drill Rap Scene In Retrospect 



Panel Description

In this 45 minute round-table discussion, researchers, journalists, artists, and managers come together to explore the novel ways rappers strategically use social media and other digital tools and technologies to build and maintain status, authenticity, and to cultivate connections with fans, friends, and cultural producers in the underground Chicago hip-hop scene known as Drill. In contrast to the mostly negative attention given to this Gangster-themed sub-genre, which focuses on how social media enable Drill participants to engage in violence and destructive behaviors, we focus on how the strategic use of these media in this genre also provides young people of color a way out of containment and sequestration. Thus, rather than stereotyping and pathologizing the cultural practices of marginalized youth in low income communities of color, we explore how these young people engage in intentional social hacking through digital media. We suggest that their case is indicative of how youth of color can gain agency by using digital phones and media in their quests for professional success and community empowerment through music. We hope that this conversation will illuminate the many deep contradictions and misconceptions about technological ingenuity, youth agency, social resistance, hip-hop identities and street violence in urban communities.