The DIY habitus of Australian hip hop

Univ Queensland Press
Publication Type:
Journal Article
Media International Australia, 2007, 0 (123), pp. 109 - 122
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Since its origins in the late 1980s, Australian hip hop continues to be fundamentally a do-it-yourself (DIY) subcultural field which has little or no music industry input or support. This paper profiles some of the small labels and producers in Australian hip hop (Obese, Elefant Traks, Nuff Said, Crookneck Invada, etc) and examines how they have formed from the ground up, using community radio stations such as 2SER, PBS and 3ZZZ, and websites such as, to promote their music, as well as organising their own gigs and tours. It also examines Aboriginal practitioners of hip hop, who have even less infrastructure than the DIY network of independent producers and labels. Drawing on Holly Kruse writing about situated practices in independent rock music, which refers to Bourdieu fields of practice and habitus, I examine the subcultural networks and associations that have emerged in Australian hip hop, mediated through a nexus of genre, gender space, location, race and ethnicity. The concept of habitus is arguably a useful way of referring to hip hop practices like Wing, DJing, breakdancing and graffiti, as well as the social behaviour associated with the hip hop subculture.
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