Glocalization Trends: The Case of Hiplife Music in Contemporary Ghana

Joseph Oduro-Frimpong


This paper responds to Kraidy’s (1999) proposal to communication scholars, specifically international and intercultural communication researchers, to utilize the “glocalization” concept to investigate global-local communication. This plea resonates with the views of certain international communication scholars (Straubhaar, 1991; Harindranath, 2003), who, despite acknowledging the limitations in the media imperialism thesis to analyze contemporary complex global-local communication, argues for a modification of the thesis. I deem the “glocalization” idea as such a corrective in that it allows for a holistic approach in investigating the nuanced juncture of contemporary global-local interactions. I utilize the glocalization concept to examine hiplife music, a Ghanaian reappropriation of U.S. rap music. Specifically, I investigate two Ghanaian-based discourses (verbal indirection and naming practices) that artists combine with this global music phenomenon in creating a distinct local music genre. The overall aim of this paper is to fill the research lacuna on hiplife music, as well as an attempt to demonstrate the utility of the glocalization concept.

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