What We Talk About When We Talk About Hip Hop--and Why It Matters
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The Hip Hop Wars
A pioneering expert in the study of hip hop explains why the music matters - and why the battles surrounding it are so very fierce.Hip hop is in crisis. During the years when hip hop's commercial fortunes rose sharply, the most commercially successfully hip hop has increasingly become a playground populated by caricatures of black gangstas, thugs, pimps, and 'hos. During this period, hyper-sexism has increased dramatically, and homophobia and distorted anti-social, self-destructive forms of black masculinity have become rap's calling card.Hip hop matters, argues scholar Tricia Rose. It matters because hip hop occupies a unique historical role: this it is the only point in modern culture when a solid segment (if not majority) of an entire generation of youth understands itself as defined primarily by a musical, cultural form. But hip hop doesn't just define young black men and women to each other-it defines them to the seventy percent of people who buy hip hop, and their parents. And that seventy percent audience is white.Rose makes her arguments with fervour, and also with subtlety.The book will end with a call to a reincarnation of the progressive and creative heart of what hip hop once was, and can still be. What she calls for is not a sanitized vision - a world stripped of sexual trouble or gangstas - but one that more accurately reflects a much richer space of culture, politics, anger, and sex, than the corporate big time and current ubiquitous images in sound and video now provide.
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