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This chapter analyzes the critique of U.S. empire by socially conscious South Asian American (or desi) rappers in the United States and the role of hip hop as the “soundtrack to the revolution(s)” in the Arab Spring. These artists illustrate the concept of “post-9/11 Brown”—an antiracist global political subjectivity that critiques U.S. empire. Linking racism at home to imperialism abroad, hip hop artists draw on the potentially democratizing technologies of social media (i.e., YouTube and Facebook) to broadcast their critiques of politicians and living conditions, thereby creating change in their lives. Rooted within more than a decade of ethnographic fieldwork, this essay analyzes the music tracks and political worldviews of American desi rappers who forge connections across nations and religions to identify with other Brown youth in North Africa and the Middle East. “Muslim-looking” rappers across the globe call on Black popular culture to speak truth to power and articulate their demands for reform.

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