All about the Beat: Why Hip-hop Can't Save Black America

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Gotham Books, 2008 - Social Science - 186 pages
2 Reviews
The bestselling commentator, hailed for his frank and fearless arguments on race, imparts a scathing look at the hypocrisy of hip-hop—and why its popularity proves that black America must overhaul its politics.

One of the most outspoken voices in America’s cultural dialogues, John McWhorter can always be counted on to provide provocative viewpoints steeped in scholarly savvy. Now he turns his formidable intellect to the topic of hip-hop music and culture, smashing the claims that hip-hop is politically valuable because it delivers the only “real” portrayal of black society.

In this measured, impassioned work, McWhorter delves into the rhythms of hip-hop, analyzing its content and celebrating its artistry and craftsmanship. But at the same time he points out that hip-hop is, at its core, simply music, and takes issue with those who celebrate hip-hop as the beginning of a new civil rights program and inflate the lyrics with a kind of radical chic. In a power vacuum, this often offensive and destructive music has become a leading voice of black America, and McWhorter stridently calls for a renewed sense of purpose and pride in black communities.

Joining the ranks of Russell Simmons and others who have called for a deeper investigation of hip-hop’s role in black culture, McWhorter’s All About the Beatis a spectacular polemic that takes the debate in a seismically new direction.

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User Review  - 3RiversLibrary - LibraryThing

John McWhorter is a fan of hip-hop music but believes that hip-hop should not be thought of as a political tool; it is only entertainment. He maintains that hip-hop will bring attention to certain ... Read full review

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So Public Enemy did nothing positive?

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About the author (2008)

John McWhorter's acclaimed books include the New York Times bestseller Losing the Race: Self-Sabotage in Black America; Doing Our Own Thing: The Degradation of Language and Why We Should, Like, Care (Gotham, 2003); and, most recently, Winning the Race: Beyond the Crisis in Black America (Gotham, 2006). He is a senior fellow at the Manhattan Institute, a contributing editor to The New Republic, and has appeared widely in broadcast media, including Dateline NBC, The NewsHour with Jim Lehrer, and Fresh Air.

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