Monkey in a tree - Jennifer Walshe
Somerset House Studios

Sound Salon: How has the internet changed hip-hop?

20 Feb 2017

Listen back to the latest Sound Salon with Somerset House Studios Associate Artist Jennifer Walshe. Special guest, Dr Michael Waugh discusses Post-Internet sound, the internet and digital technologies.

The idea of the ‘Post-Internet’ has mostly been associated with a specific aesthetic of irony and kitsch. In his research, Dr. Michael Waugh expands the term to reflect on contemporary identity in a world of where the relationship between young people and digital networks are increasingly intertwined. Analysing contemporary musical production, representation and distribution, he resituates ‘Post-Internet’ as a broader concept that embodies the lives of people operating on/offline simultaneously.

"Kanye West is a mediatician as much as a musician"

Simon Reynolds, 2016

For his talk at the Sound Salon series, Dr. Waugh unpacks the impact of social media on today’s musical expression. Drawing on contemporary issues such as narcissism, oversharing, information overload and participatory culture, he explores popular musicians’ (and their labels’) increasing reliance on accessible/erratic social media personas, mysterious online treasure hunts and obligatory fan ‘engagement’. Focusing on contemporary hip-hop, he considers the rise of major label releases that are effectively a selection of hyped moments, designed to go viral and inspire memes for a brief-but-fruitful period. Is this of-the-moment music vacuous and worthless? Or does it acutely reflect a Post-Internet culture of ephemerality and self-curation?

"Drake has figured out how to communicate for and with a legion of fans who live their lives online in a very real way"

Aimee Cliff, 2015