“A careful, incisive examination of the cultural politics and history of hip-hop in Havana—including its contentious relationship to reggaeton’s insurgent populism, blatant commercialism, and avoidance of explicit politics—Buena Vista in the Club gives readers a lucid tour of the complex spatial and ideological ground occupied by rap in Cuba. Foregrounding the interplay between state institutions, local artists, and foreign intellectuals, Geoffrey Baker provides a necessary and nuanced account of the myriad negotiations involved in ‘nationalizing’ hip-hop in a place with such a fraught but close relationship to the United States. This book offers a crucial historiographical contribution to studies of hip-hop’s global resonance and local meanings.”—Wayne Marshall, co-editor of Reggaeton

“This masterful portrait of the rap and reggaetón scenes in modern Cuba surpasses existing work in its level of insight, depth, and contemporaneity. Geoffrey Baker offers a thoroughly original street-level ethnography of the local rap scene and illuminates the often contradictory workings of the various bureaucratic institutions involved in popular music. He also develops a significant critique of foreign portrayals of contemporary Cuban music culture and of the local/global dynamics of ‘imitating’ foreign rap (or another genre) as opposed to ‘nationalizing’ it with sprinkles of local musical flavor.”—Peter Manuel, author of Caribbean Currents: Caribbean Music from Rumba to Reggae

Buena Vista in the Club


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