Postcolonial-Consciousness, Knowledge Production, and Identity Inscription within Filipino American Hip Hop Music

Author: Anthony Kwame Harrison
Perfect Beat
Equinox Publishing Ltd.

[The following is an excerpt from academic paper listed above]

In the song ‘From My Brown Eyes’ (2007), emcee Emassin more pointedly discusses how this ‘other experience’ as disenfranchised urban youth growing up in a consumer-driven American society inspires young Filipinos to ally with Black political worldviews:

[I] Said, mommy I hate them crackers
They always after somethin’ I’m after, plus they gettin’ it faster
Yellin’ she replies, stone-cold eyes,
I didn’t raise you like that! You know better than that!
And why you talkin’ all the freedom shit we ain’t even Black?
She’s trippin’! Look how we livin’ the system got us wishin’
Hopin’ for better positions in the business of riches
And this is just a little smidgen of what us Flips be thinkin’ of.

Songs such as these initiate dialogues on racial identity and discrimination as central themes in their authentic hip hop presentation. Reflecting on their experiences as marginalized immigrants and former colonial subjects, emcees index race in a politicized manner similar to the Afrocentric hip hop of the late 1980s and early 1990s. In connecting with the African American experience, many draw inspiration from the Civil Rights and Black Power Movements of the 1960s. The iconography of and references to notable Black figures like Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., Malcolm X, the Black Panthers, James Brown and Bob Marley saturate the music, engendering feelings of attachment to (African American) rap’s political legacy.