How hip hop shapes our conversations about raceand how race influences our consideration of hip hop
Hip hop is a distinctive form of black art in America-from Tupac to the Pulitzer Prize-winning Kendrick Lamar, hip hop has long given voice to the African American experience. As scholar and cultural critic Tricia Rose argues, hip hop, in fact, has become one of the primary ways we talk about race in the United States.
But hip hop is in crisis. For years, the most commercially successful hip hop has become increasingly saturated with caricatures of black gangstas, thugs, pimps, and hos. This both represents and feeds a problem in black American culture. Or does it? In The Hip-Hop Wars, Rose explores the most crucial issues underlying the polarized claims on each side of the debate: Does hip hop cause violence, or merely reflect a violent ghetto culture? Is hip hop sexist, or are its detractors simply anti-sex? Does the portrayal of black culture in hip hop undermine black advancement?
A potent exploration of a divisive and important subject, The Hip Hop Wars concludes with a call for the regalvanization of the progressive and creative heart of hip hop. What Rose calls for is not a sanitized vision of the form, but one that more accurately reflects a much richer space of culture, politics, anger, and yes, sex, than the current ubiquitous images in sound and video currently provide.
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About the Author
Tricia Rose is a professor of Africana Studies at Brown University. She specializes in twentieth- and twenty-first-century African-American culture and politics, social thought, popular culture, and gender issues. The author of the seminal Black Noise, she lives in Providence, Rhode Island.
Most Helpful Customer Reviews
I thought that The Hip-Hop Wars really was a great book. So many people have their own take on why the rap music industry is good or bad for individuals and for society for that matter. I have my own view, and my parents also have their views. I enjoyed how the book presented both sides of the argument. After seeing both viewpoints I agree with a couple opposing ones. Even if you don't like the other side of an argument, you should at least respect their view because you might find something you agree with. One thing i learned was that the rap industry is a business just like anything else. A lot of artists create lyrics that will sell. Music is there job and they're just trying to put food on the table for their family just as another person would. Not everyone has to like or listen to their lyrics. If you don't like it you can turn it off just like you would with a television show you if you don't like it. There is no one that is making you listen to it. I don't understand the people that complain about rap, they don't have to like it. I think people should just understand where some rappers come from with their lyrics. They write about how they grew up or how life was for them. It wasn't necessarily the most positive thing in the world. There for the music doesn't have to be positive. I feel like the book presented that well. It clearly described both views and how both views and correct in someways and how they both have flaws as well. Tricia Rose did an excellent job in writing a true demonstration of the hip-hip world.