'What Happens in the Cabin . . .': A Practice-Based Study of Racial Identification and Hip Hop Aesthetic Production

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Taking an autoethnographic perspective that foregrounds the interplay between the author's artist-self and researcher-self, this article explores the relationship between agency and structure in the activities surrounding underground hip hop music making within a home studio recording space. It aims to demystify the aura of in-studio music creation by focusing on the nexus of oral/written, pre-composed/improvised, and pre-recorded/live creative practices as experienced within the context of performance. Utilizing Harris Berger's notion of stance, I discuss how hip hop recording artists transcend performative self-consciousness in the pursuit of creativity. Ultimately, this article presents hip hop home recording studios as spaces that facilitate particular kinds of musical innovation through a mix of collective and individual pursuits, as well as routinized and spontaneous activities.