Abstracthiphop combines elements of hip hop music with experimental and avant-garde sounds, often incorporating jazz, funk, soul and electronic music as well as spoken word and poetry. It is characterized by unconventional production techniques, surrealistic lyrical content and sample use.

The Art of Sampling

Sampling as an art of creative appropriation of cultural symbols has been the most influential and productive of hip hop’s production practices (Schumacher 1995). Through its practice of sampling, hip hop cultivates a culture of productive consumption that enhances the value of limited material resources saturating the youth-oriented markets of post-war capitalism.

Rhythmic Rupture

Rappers and DJs in hip hop music celebrate the potential for musical percussion to rupture through consistent modifications of on- and off-beats. Such improvisations, or “flirtations with” ruptures, establish and enhance hip-hop’s powerful polyrhythms.

Moreover, the potential for rupture creates exclamations, asymmetries, and rhythmic angularities that affiliates recognize as decidedly hip-hop. Moreover, this appreciation of rupture–which has long been a characteristic of black musical expression–nurtures alliances as well as shared political interests and commitments-to-action among hip hop’s most ardent affiliates.


Generally speaking, an ethos is a densely interwoven and typically implicit set of observations, practices, priorities, and commitments that bind individuals together around a particular phenomenon (see Bennett 1999). Although varying social classes, genders, age groups and ethnic identities tend to engage with and/or respond to ethos differently, the contours of a particular ethos are inseparable from the specifics of the social relations that comprise it.

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