New York Ricans From The Hip Hop Zone

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New York Puerto Ricans have been an integral part of hip hop culture since the very beginning: from 1970s pioneers like Rock Steady Crew's Jo-Jo, to recent rap mega-stars Big Punisher and Angie Martinez. Yet, Puerto Rican participation and contributions to hip hop is frequently downplayed, if not completely ignored. When their presence has been acknowledged, it is usually misinterpreted as a defection from Puerto Rican culture and identity into the African American camp. But, Rivera argues, nothing could be further from the truth. Through hip hop, Puerto Ricans have simply stretched the boundaries of Puerto Ricanness and latinidad.

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Editorial Reviews

The Source

Author Raquel Rivera explains the significance of Nuyorican and Latin influences throughout the history of hip-hop music and culture.
From the Publisher

"...makes a noteworthy statement in the chapters of the Nuyorican Diaspora."--Aurora Flores, VIVA Magazine / New York Daily News
"Rivera's style, craft, and depth make this pioneering yet thoroughly accessible work a commendable addition..."--Bill Piekarski, Library Journal 3/1/03
"Author Raquel Rivera explains the significance of Nuyorican and Latin influences throughout the history of hip-hop music and culture."--The Source 4/1/03
"painstaking research and original reporting" -- Publishers Weekly

Publishers Weekly
In this brief, scholarly book, freelance journalist Rivera acknowledges Puerto Ricans for their contributions to hip-hop music over the past 30 years. It's debatable just how much credit is deserved, considering Rivera comes up with only a handful of recognizable players who predate the culture-wide "Latino boom" of the past few years-Fat Joe, Angie Martinez and the late Big Punisher, the biggest-selling Latino rapper of all time. But she still crafts a persuasive revisionist history through painstaking research and original reporting. She points out that while Puerto Ricans and African-Americans collaborated to create hip-hop in the early 1970s South Bronx and shared a ghetto-based entitlement, Puerto Ricans had to "step lightly through the identity minefield." For much of the 1980s and '90s, Puerto Ricans' "participation and entitlement" were questioned as hip-hop became more exclusively African American. Many Puerto Rican performers further alienated themselves from the hip-hop center by embracing Latino culture and rapping in Spanish, while others identified more strongly with African Americans and downplayed their Caribbean roots. Since the mid-'90s, of course, hip-hop has begun to embrace Latino culture (such as J. Lo) for better or worse; Rivera is troubled by rap's Latino stereotypes of sexy "Butta Pecan Ricans" and "tough-guy papi chulos." The only serious difficulty with this useful book is in navigating Rivera's oft-impenetrable academese ("Behind inclusion lies the specter of subsumption and dismissal"). Then again, Rivera, who has a doctorate in sociology, may have intended this work for a liberal arts classroom: it's clearly not for the b-boys and b-girls. (Mar.) Copyright 2002 Cahners Business Information.
Library Journal
Although analyses like Nelson George's Hip Hop America have accurately traced rap's genesis to the South Bronx of the late 1970s, almost all hitherto-published monographs have considered hip-hop solely a black American cultural phenomenon. Only scattered scholarly essays, notably those by Juan Flores, and a handful of musical recordings have addressed an important but neglected truth: rap finds its ancestors not only in the polyrhythmic ascensions of Lagos but also in the bomba, plena, and musica jibara of San Juan, Puerto Rico. Here, freelance journalist Rivera offers the first book to explore this musical history carefully and thoroughly. Perhaps more important, just as Tricia Rose examined American blackness via hip-hop in her landmark Black Noise: Rap Music and Black Culture in Contemporary America, so this monograph credibly and creditably explores the nature of Puerto Ricanness and latinidad itself. Rivera's style, craft, and depth make this pioneering yet thoroughly accessible work a commendable addition to both academic and large public collections. New York Ricans will be equally appropriate and welcome on music history shelves as a chronological extension of Ruth Glasser's My Music Is My Flag: Puerto Rican Musicians and Their New York Communities, 1917-1940 or amid studies of American puertorique$o ethnicity, next to Flores's From Bomba to Hip-Hop: Puerto Rican Culture and Latino Identity.-Bill Piekarski, Angelicus Webdesign, Lackawanna, NY Copyright 2003 Reed Business Information.
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9781403960443
  • Publisher: Palgrave Macmillan
  • Publication date: 2/1/2003
  • Series: New Directions in Latino American Culture Series
  • Edition description: First Edition
  • Pages: 304
  • Sales rank: 493,510
  • Product dimensions: 5.50 (w) x 8.50 (h) x 0.66 (d)

Meet the Author

Raquel Z. Rivera, Ph.D. is a Researcher at the Center for Puerto Rican Studies, Hunter College. A freelance journalist, her articles have appeared in Vibe, El Diario/La Prensa and El Nuevo Dia, among many other publications. A member of the all-women Puerto Rican/Dominican roots music group, Yaya, Rivera lives in El Barrio, New York City.

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Table of Contents

Introduction • Enter the New York Ricans • Part I: A Historical Narrative • 1970s and Early 1980s: “It’s Just Begun” • The Late 1980s and Early 1990s: Whose Hip Hop? • The Mid to Late 1990s: Ghettocentricity, Blackness and Pan Latinidad • Part II: Topics at the Turn of the Century • Latin@s Get Hot and Ghetto-Tropical • Butta Pecan Mamis • Navigating Blackness and Latinidad Through Language • Remembering Big Pun • Between Blackness and Latinidad: A Historical Overview

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Customer Reviews

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Sort by: Showing all of 2 Customer Reviews
  • Anonymous

    Posted April 11, 2003

    Honorable Contribution to Hip Hop/Puerto Rican Studies Literature

    This book reflects a solid research effort by Raquel, and it serves as a worthy contribution to two fascinating fields: her work stands as a very refreshing study of Puerto Rican cultural evolution in New York City, and at the same time it serves as a vital addition to the existing literature documenting the true and unsensationalized history of hip hop history. This book was a great read; highly engaging, and highly recommended!!

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  • Anonymous

    Posted March 12, 2003

    Fantastic book!

    This book is a great documentation of Puerto Ricans' involvement in defining the Hip Hop culture. Many people believe that Latinos mimic when in truth there are many pioneers not spoken of because of the media's insistance that Hip Hop is 'black people's music'. Nice job Ms. Rivera!

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