In a coffee shop today I was fortunate enough to come across this unintentionally hilarious (and, perhaps, unintentionally insane) book 'Swagger Low Presents the Hip Hop Project.

yes, of course Swagger Low's Hip Hop Project has a website.

The book is a lexicon and how-to guide to the Korean concept of American hip hop culture. The lexicon features hip hop lingo (or, apparently, what Swagger Low thinks is this lingo, since some of it isn't and some things are actually very strange and even scatological) and then sample conversations using each new term. The conversations are between 'Homie 1" and "Homie 2". The conversations are, simply, priceless. Not least, since the hip hop culture is filtered through an often contradictory Korean mindset, so some of the conversations are recreations of formulaic "hip hop" English discussing doing homework, for instance. (My assumption being that homework is not usually touted as a hip hop attribute). I am going to have to buy the books so I can describe it accurately.

The truly strange thing is that it turned out that one of the two Americans representatives of hip hop culture in the book is the brother of one of Skye's good friends.

I guess this book grows out his business, which is a SAT vocabulary study group built on hip hop principles called "Flocabulary."

This whole B-Boy phenomenon is far more intricate, complicated and flat out bizarre than I had initially suspected. I am starting to realize it warrants much deeper study.

How did this variant of American culture become so widespread here, and why did almost ancient forms (in pop cultural terms) persist and flourish here? And why the half-realized recreation of the style? And is this version of hip hop the best way to teach cultural literacy?

It turns out that one of Swagger Low's projects is a breakdancing show built around a marionette theme.

This is like something out of Being John Malkavich.

Comments

dvs said…
According to the website, it's Swagger Lou, which is even better for some reason. Also, go here for a free Swagger Lou MP3:

some lyrics
We mixing races like Tiger Woods,

Plus I’m picking better clubs than Tiger would,

Here I am, not your average American Joe,

I flew to Seoul to soothe my soul,

I’m in like a spring roll, drum roll please,

Seventy taxis practically attacked me,

Korea, land of the morning calm,

Colors at dawn, Seoul city is the bomb,

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