Book Talk: Renegade Rhymes with Meredith Schweig

Renegade Rhymes invites readers into Taiwan’s vibrant underground hip-hop scene to explore the social, cultural, and political dynamics of life in a post-authoritarian democracy. Beginning in the immediate aftermath of martial law (1949-1987), the book follows Taiwan’s earliest rappers and DJs as they critiqued the island’s political system, spun tales from their perspectives as members of marginalized ethnic communities, and reimagined previously suppressed local musical forms. A series of ethnographic and historical chapters trace an arc between these earliest interventions and the innovations of present-day musicians, who grapple with ongoing existential uncertainty imposed by the island’s ambiguous geopolitical status and accelerating neoliberalization. The book argues that rap artists past and present configure post-authoritarianism as a creative political intervention, whose ultimate objective is the reordering of epistemic hierarchies, power structures, and gender relations.

The AAS Secretariat will be closed on Monday, May 27 in observance of Memorial Day