Alex Blue V’s research examines the intersections of race, sound, space, and place, often employing heavily ethnographic methods to demonstrate the influence of race on sound, and the influence of sound on race. Additionally, he is interested in narratives of death, dying, and afterlives in relation to Black sound and musical culture. Blue is currently working on two book projects. The first, titled A Matter of Death and Life, is an ethnographic (or “necrographic”) study of the narratives of death and dying in contemporary Detroit hip-hop, and how artists employ various forms of death as praxis in music making. The second, which he is co-authoring, is an ethnographic study of country rap, also known as “hick hop,” that examines issues of race, gender, class, nationalism, and identity, primarily (but not entirely) in the southern United States.
Blue received his MM in Jazz Studies from University of North Texas, and his PhD in Ethnomusicology from University of California - Santa Barbara. Prior to joining the AHCS faculty at McGill, he was an Assistant Professor of Ethnomusicology at William & Mary, the Thurgood Marshall Postdoctoral Fellow in African and African American Studies at Dartmouth College, and a Predoctoral Fellow in Music at Ithaca College.
“You’re Only Ever a Block from the ‘Hood: Hip-Hop and Spatial Reorientation in Detroit, Michigan,” Journal of Popular Music Studies 33/4 (2021): 152-170.
“Ain’t It Funny? Danny Brown, Black Subjectivity, and the Performance of Neurosis,” A Poetics of Neurosis: Cultural Narratives of Mental Disability (2018): 137-158.
“Hear What You Want: Sonic Politics, Blackness, and Racism-Canceling Headphones,” Current Musicology 99/100 (2017): 87-106.