Postcolonial noise: How did French rap (re)invent ‘the banlieue’?

Research output: Chapter or section in a book/report/conference proceedingChapter or section


This chapter critically examines the general belief according to which French rap is naturally rooted in and emanates from the working-class suburban housing estates. It will investigate the links between rap artists and the urban periphery to explore whether rappers are the products or the (re)inventors of the banlieues used. After a short overview of how rap music has been adopted and adapted in France, the second-largest market for hip-hop cultural products to date (Cannon 2003: 191), I will deconstruct the multiple links between rap artists and the working-class suburban housing estates by focusing on the use of ‘the banlieue’ as a locus of speech, a source of inspiration for linguistic creativity and a territory on which political claims can be based. I will argue that by appropriating the post-industrial suburban space, rappers have attempted to hijack the myth of the banlieue constructed in media-political discourses since the 1980s, both to disrupt hegemonic narratives and to sell albums.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationThe Bloomsbury Handbook of Popular Music, Space and Place
EditorsGeoff Stahl, Mark Percival
Place of PublicationUSA
PublisherBloomsbury Publishing
Number of pages300
ISBN (Electronic)9781501336294
ISBN (Print)9781501336287
Publication statusPublished - 13 Jan 2022


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