Hip Hop in Finland: Genres and Generations

About the network

The research network Hip Hop in Finland: Genres and Generations is an initiative of the Finnish Youth Research Society. The research network was established in 2014 with an aim to provide a platform for sharing, mapping, and developing research made in Finland that is related to hip hop culture in all its forms.

Up-to-date information about events and other activities can be found on the network’s Facebook page.

Leading group:

Elina Westinen, chair of the network, works as a postdoctoral researcher at the Department of Music, Art and Culture Studies, University of Jyväskylä. Drawing on insights from sociolinguistics, discourse studies, study of multimodality and ethnography, her postdoctoral work deals with (’new’) ethnicities and (non)belonging in Finnish migrant hip hop in both digital and physical contexts. She was previously part of the Academy of Finland project Language and Superdiversity: (Dis)identification in Social Media (2012–2016).  Her doctoral thesis (2014) explores the discursive construction of authenticity in Finnish hip hop culture by focusing on three Finnish rap artists (Cheek, Pyhimys, and Stepa).

Dragana Cvetanović is a PhD candidate at the Department of Finnish, Finno-Ugrian and Scandinavian Studies and Aleksanteri Institute at the University of Helsinki. She is a sociolinguist finalizing her doctoral thesis on language, identity and performance in Finnish and Serbian rap lyrics. Her research contributes to the discussion on global sociolinguistics and questions on trans-modern identities. She also teaches and works on various topics on contemporary Balkan (cultural) history and youth studies.

Julian Owusu is a freelancing dance artist and dance educator whose artistic core lies in Hip Hop culture, community building practices, pedagogic development, decolonial practices and reimagining. Julian teaches courses at the Oulu University of Applied Sciences, the Helsinki Theatre Academy and at commercial dance schools. He worked as Regional Artist for Youth Culture at the Arts Promotion Centre (Taike) in Northern Ostrobothnia and Kainuu regions from 2016–2021, and was a member of the working group for Cultural Reconstruction at the Ministry of Education and Culture of Finland from 2021–2022. At the moment, Julian is working on his Master’s thesis in Artist development focusing on the pedagogics of Hip Hop dance.

Inka Rantakallio works as an Academy of Finland postdoctoral researcher in Musicology at the University of Helsinki. In her postdoctoral project (2021–24), she focuses on women rappers in Finnish hip hop and the role and meaning of feminism, gender, race, and whiteness in the construction of artist identities and artistic expression. Her doctoral thesis (2019) centers on four Finnish underground rappers (Ameeba, Julma Henri, Khid, and RPK) and discourses of authenticity, spirituality, and atheism. Her publications deal with the various intersections of rap music, ideologies, and identities. She also works as a freelance journalist and DJ.

Annukka Saaristo is a PhD candidate at the University of Helsinki. Her doctoral dissertation focuses on local identities and their significance for rap artists from Espoo. She has also worked as a Youth worker in Espoo and Helsinki prior to her university studies and holds a Master’s degree in Folklore Studies and a Bachelor’s degree in Social Sciences. Saaristo is interested in popular culture and identity building in different communities and she aims to write research papers that everyone can understand.

Venla Sykäri  is researcher and docent affiliated with the discipline of Folklore Studies at the University of Helsinki. Her research interests include hip hop’s oral and lyrical practices, particularly freestyle and battle rap, and the processes of disseminating knowledge and values in informal, grassroots practice contexts and in rap workshops.