The Legacy of DJ Kool Herc: Celebrating the Jamaican Roots of Hip Hop

Mona, Kingston, Jamaica (16.-18.4.2020), 15. January 2020.

April 16-18, 2020

Mona, Kingston, Jamaica

*Call for Papers*

Jamaica’s musical influence is deep and wide. With the sound system as one of the earliest indigenous innovations, musical genres emerged at home and abroad. Alongside homegrown genres such as Mento, Ska, Dub, Reggae and Dancehall are international genres such as Reggaetón, Bhangra, and Dub Step that have been influenced by Jamaican music. There are still those that emerged because of Jamaican music makers who travelled with local engineering, vocal aesthetics and performance practices around the turntable as they migrated to other lands. With a direct umbilical link to Jamaica, Hip Hop is one such genre. More importantly, the large body of Hip Hop scholarship does not usually take into account the Jamaican roots of Hip Hop linked to pioneers such as DJ Kool Herc.

The Institute of Caribbean Studies (ICS), in association with the Office of the Vice Chancellor, University of the West Indies, presents an international conference on the Jamaican roots of Hip Hop, marking the 65th birthday of Clive ‘DJ Kool Herc’ Campbell, one of the founding fathers of the genre. This conference is intended to address the gap in scholarship surrounding the Jamaican roots of Hip Hop while focusing attention on the genre’s global significance.

The ICS invites proposals that foreground the far-reaching impact of Jamaican music on the emergence and evolution of Hip Hop.  The conference also welcomes proposals that explore the complex African-American performance traditions that converged with old-school Jamaican deejaying to produce a distinctive African diasporic sound.  The conference will expose students, fans, academics and practitioners to an under-explored dimension of both African-American and Jamaican music: the role of migration from the Caribbean as a catalyst for cross-cultural innovation within the U.S.

*We invite proposals for the presentation of papers, exhibitions, performances or workshops that address, among others, the following sub-themes:*

  •  The Birth of Hip Hop
  •  The Jamaican Legacy in Hip Hop
  •  DJ Kool Herc – History, Style, Innovation
  •  Hip Hip and Caribbean Representation
  •  Hip Hop Musicians and Innovation Case Studies - rap, reggae, Hip Hop, grime, trap etc.
  •  Spaces of Hip Hop; Hip Hop Hoods, Ghettoes, Streets
  •  Rapping, Emceeing and the Construction of Hip Hop Performance
  •  Contemporary Hip Hop Culture/(s)
  •  Gender and Hip Hop 
  •  Theorizing Hip Hop and Hip Hop Epistemologies
  •  The Globalization of Hip Hop / Hip Hop Nation / Hip Hop Diasporas
  •  Hip Hop and the African Diaspora
  •  Hip Hop as Imagined Community
  •  Hip Hop, Autoethnography and Belonging
  •  Hip Hop, Performance and the Self
  •  The Gospel and Hip Hop / Hip Hop as Church
  •  Hip Hop and Dance
  •  Hip Hop as Poetry and Spoken Word
  •  Hip Hop and Film
  •  Hip Hop in Festivals
  •  Hip Hop Design, Fashion, and Style cultures
  •  Hip Hop Pedagogies
  •  Hip Hop Arts
  •  Hip Hop Futures

We welcome presentations made through innovative uses of media, music and technology alongside traditional formats. Presentation proposals from musicians, dancers and other performers are welcome.

Abstracts for individual or panel presentations of *no more that 300 words per presentation supported by a short biography no longer than 75 words,* should be submitted to the conference organisers by email for peer review.  Presentation proposals from students and artistes are welcome. Each abstract should include: name of author/authors; email address/es; name of associated institution; and keywords of presentation.


Email all submissions to **

For further details please contact the conference coordinator at:

Institute of Caribbean Studies

University of the West Indies, Mona Campus

* or*