The Modern
Issue Feature


Shakespeares in the Ghetto: The Art and Economics of Serbian Hip Hop

Anthropologist Victor Barac reveals how digital technology has allowed an American art form to flourish in New Belgrade, Serbia.

“If this was in English it would be a mega hit. I can’t stop playing it. It’s spinning in my head all day long.” This was the response of Toronto hip hop beat-maker Kyd Alchemy (aka Justin Sousa) after he listened to a mixtape CD of Serbian hip hop I had put together for his listening enjoyment and critical assessment.

That’s why I was going on a research trip to Belgrade: to find out what was behind this unlikely yet amazing music subculture, exponentially growing in popularity, particularly with the young. I had to see it in person, meet the people behind it, find out why this music was so good and how there was so much of it coming out of such a small, challenged country.

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