In most contexts, it’s an insult. That is, if you’re under forty, into urban music, and uncomfortable around older persons who make a habit out of fetishizing ‘indigenous’ cultures. To an increasing number of persons, popular music from Africa, Latin America, and the Middle East has become so ubiquitous that it’s become impossible to view such idioms as being unique, or exotic.
For such persons, ‘Third World’ idioms are local, the sounds of immigrant and minority communities we live with, not primitive beat-makers channeling the influences of Los Angeles hip-hop in South African shanty towns. For example, one can find equally compelling south Asian electronica music being made in Astoria and Queens as in London. You just have to look for it.
Demonstrating migrant workers, and gig flyers for local and international artists. Paris, June 2010. Photograph courtesy of Joel Schalit.