WP245 Transidiomaticity and transperformances in Brazilian queer rap: Toward an abject aesthetics

Fabrício & Moita-Lopes
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Queer rap has been said to be shining in the homophobic world of hip-hop lately, especially on the New York contemporary music scene. Considered by many as the new kids on the block, queer rappers have been breaking down mainstream ways of composing, delivering and enacting rap tunes by working on more outwardly feminine performances characterized by ambivalence, hybridity and defiance. In this paper, we focus on how Rico Dalasam, a contemporary Brazilian rap performer, radicalizes this type of rupture, engaging in what we have termed ‘abject aesthetics’. The latter constitutes a spectacular semiotic landscape, in which mixed sexualities, genders, races, ethnicities, clothing styles, hair styles, rhythms, languages and registers intersect. In fact, transperformances and transidiomaticity dominate his work, which we approach through a scalar sensitive lens (Carr and Lempert 2016) and metapragmatic indexicality (Silverstein 1983) as we analyze the artist’s lyrics, performances and their reception by different audiences. Through doing so, we shed light on the smuggling of semiotic resources which subverts the usual circulation of linguistic and non-linguistic goods across borders. In particular, we discuss how Dalasam’s deterritorializing-multisemiotic enactments confront modernist epistemological and linguistic regimes by subverting logocentrism. The analysis focuses on the transit between the so-called margin and periphery and on the enigmatic meanings generated by the mixture of languages and performances. As a whole, these aspects leave interactants in a state of uncertainty since the assembled resources are not directly intelligible in a conventional sense, most often preventing straightforward object-designation associations. However, this sense of indetermination does not necessarily prevent communication from taking place. We therefore argue that Rico Dalasam, by forging faltering ways with signs, orients to constant movement as a way of inhabiting the border and formulating alternative rules for re-existence.