Brothers Gonna Work It Out: Sexual Politics in the Golden Age of Rap Nationalism / Edition 1

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Overview

Brothers Gonna Work It Out considers the political expression of rap artists within the historical tradition of black nationalism. Interweaving songs and personal interviews with hip-hop artists and activists including Chuck D of Public Enemy, KRS-One, Rosa Clemente, manager of dead prez, and Wise Intelligent of Poor Righteous Teachers, Cheney links late twentieth-century hip-hop nationalists with their nineteenth-century spiritual forebears.

Cheney examines Black nationalism as an ideology historically inspired by a crisis of masculinity. Challenging simplistic notions of hip-hop culture as simply sexist or misogynistic, she pays particular attention to Black nationalists’ historicizing of slavery and their visualization of male empowerment through violent resistance. She charts the recent rejection of Christianity in the lyrics of rap nationalist music due to the perception that it is too conciliatory, and the increasing popularity of Black Muslim rap artists.

Cheney situates rap nationalism in the 1980s and 90s within a long tradition of Black nationalist political thought which extends beyond its more obvious influences in the mid-to-late twentieth century like the Nation of Islam or the Black Power Movement, and demonstrates its power as a voice for disenfranchised and disillusioned youth all over the world.

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Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher

“In her book, Cheney tries to dispel the notion that all rap music is about sex, violence and bling. . . . The book is insightful—particularly to white Americans who don't get the appeal of Louis Farrakhan or to older African-Americans whose knowledge of black music stops at Smokey Robinson. After reading this book, both groups might at least be tempted to sample some Public Enemy music.”
-The San Luis Obispo Tribune

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“A study of rap singers of the 1980s and 90s that sets their political expression in the context of the racial and sexual politics of black nationalism since the early 19th century.”
-The Chronicle

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&#8220.[A] must read for anyone interested in the problems of gender and politics in rap music. Charise Cheney combines an historian's insight with an expansive knowledge of hip-hop culture to produce this remarkable study of the rise of artists influenced by black nationalism—the self-proclaimed “raptivists.” Cheney dives head-on into the contentious debates regarding the articulations of masculinity and black nationalism in rap, and how these reflect black Americans' age-old desire for power and authority. A vital contribution.”
-Jane Rhodes,author of Framing the Black Panthers: The Spectacular Rise of a Black Power Icon

“A provocative analysis that no one will be able to ignore. A compelling challenge to consider the ways that patriarchy has influenced the movement for black self-determination.”
-Choice, Highly Recommended

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“A lively, unique, and often revisionist perspective on the sexual politics of hip-hop culture.”
-William L. Van Deburg, author of New Day in Babylon: The Black Power Movement and American Culture, 1965-1975

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780814716137
  • Publisher: New York University Press
  • Publication date: 8/1/2005
  • Edition description: New Edition
  • Edition number: 1
  • Pages: 222
  • Sales rank: 1,189,789
  • Product dimensions: 5.90 (w) x 8.90 (h) x 0.70 (d)

Meet the Author

Charise cheney is assistant professor of ethnic studies at California State University.

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Table of Contents

1 From the Revolutionary War to the "revolutionary generation" : some introductory thoughts on rap music, black nationalism, and the golden age of rap nationalism 1
2 "We men ain't we?" : mas(k)ulinity and the gendered politics of black nationalism 27
3 Brothers gonna work it out : the popular/political culture of rap music 63
4 Ladies first? : defining manhood in the golden age of rap nationalism 97
5 Representin' God : masculinity and the use of the Bible in rap nationalism 119
6 Be true to the game : final reflections on the politics and practices of the hip-hop nation 149
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