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New York Ricans from the Hip Hop Zone
     

New York Ricans from the Hip Hop Zone

by R. Rivera
 
Freelance journalist Rivera traces the involvement of New York Puerto Ricans in the development of hip-hop in general and English-language rap music in particular in order to examine how identities are negotiated through navigations of constantly redefined categories of "latinidad and blackness." Her historical narrative, covering from the 1970s to the latter

Overview

Freelance journalist Rivera traces the involvement of New York Puerto Ricans in the development of hip-hop in general and English-language rap music in particular in order to examine how identities are negotiated through navigations of constantly redefined categories of "latinidad and blackness." Her historical narrative, covering from the 1970s to the latter half of the 1990s, considers issues of "authenticity" and shifting notions of cultural "entitlement" in rap music, the "tropicalization" of Puerto Ricans in the construction of their entitlements and participation, and language use and word play as tools to navigate through identities. One chapter consists of a case study of the work of deceased rap musician Big Punisher (also known as Big Pun). Annotation ©2005 Book News, Inc., Portland, OR

Editorial Reviews

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.
From the Publisher

'...painstaking research and original reporting.' - Publishers Weekly

'Rivera's style, craft, and depth make this pioneering yet thoroughly accessible work a commendable addition...' - Bill Pierarski, Library Journal

'Author Raquel Rivera explains the significance of Nuyorican and Latin influences throughout the history of hip-hop music and culture.' - The Source

'...explains and delineates the cross-fertilization of one of America's most controversial and dynamic music forms...' - Norman Kelley, New York Press

'...Rivera shines a light on the lesser-known but just as vital hip hop artists...New York Ricans.' - Teresa Talerico, Tinta Latina

'...explores the identity dynamics of New York's Puerto Ricans, struggling to find their rightful place...' - Dinorah Nieves, Urban Latino

'...makes a noteworthy statement in the chapters of the Nuyorican Diaspora.' - Aurora Flores, VIVA Magazine / New York Daily News

The Source

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

Product Details

ISBN-13:
9781403960436
Publisher:
Palgrave Macmillan US
Publication date:
04/17/2003
Series:
New Directions in Latino American Cultures Series
Edition description:
2003
Pages:
288
Product dimensions:
5.51(w) x 8.50(h) x 0.03(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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