WP64 “I am not a qualified dialect rapper”: Genre innovation as authenticity

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This paper attempts to address features of mixed, multi-layered language use in hip-hop produced in Enshi, China, which largely draws on the stigmatized fangyan/dialect local to Enshi, but breaks out of it by blending it with resources from the normative Chinese variety of Putonghua and the globally prestigious variety of English. The complexity, multimodality and creativity in the way different language resources are blended and intertwined in Enshi hip-hop only become transparent and understandable when its ideology of authenticity is brought into question. That is, the hip-hop ideology of authenticity on the one hand, and the local language ideology, i.e. ?orders of authenticity?, in China on the other. Thus contexts and trajectories of resources from which Enshi hip-hop takes its shape serve an indispensible part of its critical analysis and interpretation. Different scales of authenticity converge and create polycentric norms of language practice, which, paradoxically, is achieved through innovations of genre in terms of both hip-hop and Enshi dialect. This raises questions about our understandings of issues such as locality, authenticity and identity, and notions of language and culture in the context of globalization.