This chapter explores how Indigenous youth from two socioeconomically
disadvantaged places - one in Australia's tropical
north, the other just beyond the outermost edge of the Greater
Sydney metropolitan area - marshal resources and find expressive
voice through hip-hop music, dance and video production. In
these locations, physical distance and poverty are conditions
influencing the ability of creative artists to do their work, access
opportunities and build careers. Yet remoteness is managed, and
marginality negotiated through the expressive medium of hiphop
and new recording and distribution technologies. Through
their efforts, Indigenous hip-hoppers have built a new kind of
network -semi-informal, political, transnational and often decidedly
anti-colonial - that constitutes a new, vernacular, Indigenous
creative industry in regional and remote Australia.
But crucially, we also explore how physical distance and
poverty are not the only barriers that creative artists negotiate.
Young musicians navigate expectations of themselves and what
constitutes 'proper' Indigenous performance in wider Australian
cultural industries. Beyond physical and socio-economic marginality,
cultural norms and expectations frame what are possible,
producing and restricting creative opportunities.
The chapter draws on collaboration from 2008 to 2009 between
two researchers- one Indigenous, one non-Indigenous (both having
grown up in the Southern Illawarra) -who brought to this project
different goals and backgrounds. Andrew was at the time a PhD
researcher on the Cultural Asset Mapping in Regional Australia
(CAMRA) project. Rob is Indigenous and belongs to the Yirandali
Aboriginal nation, in the Hughenden area of north-west Queensland.
At the time of research he was a student and active member of
the region's Indigenous hip-hop scene. This collaboration provided
unique links and personal connections that fostered fieldwork.