Hip Hop Matters: Politics, Pop Culture, and the Struggle for the Soul of a Movement

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Beacon Press, 2006 - Music - 295 pages
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From its humble beginnings in the Bronx to its transformation into a multibillion-dollar global industry, hip hop has stirred constant and contentious debate. Avoiding the simple caricatures that either celebrate or condemn this powerful movement, S. Craig Watkins produces one of the most thorough accounts of hip hop yet. Hip Hop Matters delves deeply into the phenomenal world that hip hop has created and comes up with a portrait that is as big, brave, and vibrant as the movement itself. Readers see the brilliance and blemishes of hip hop's entrepreneurial elite and also discover a thriving digital underground, hip-hop inspired literature, young political activists, and the movement's own intelligentsia. Watkins punctuates this meticulously researched book with revealing anecdotes and astute analysis of the corporate takeover of hip hop, the culture's march into America's colleges and universities, and the rampant misogyny threatening hip hop's progressive potential. He also offers revealing portraits of some of hip hop's most intriguing personalities-Sylvia Robinson, Grandmaster Flash, Chuck D, Jay-Z, Hype Williams, and Eminem-and influential brands-FUBU and Def Jam. Ultimately, we see how the struggle for hip hop reverberates in a world bigger than hip hop: global media, racial and demographic change, the reinvention of the pop music industry, urban politics, the moral and public health of young people, and their relentless desire to be heard and respected. It is the spectacular convergence of these and other issues that makes hip hop one of the more compelling stories of our time. Which people and what forces are vying to control a movement that has become a lucrative pop culture industry as well as an insurgent voice for the young and the disenfranchised' Watkins's incisive and timely book decisively answers the question and shows why now, more than ever, hip hop matters. From the Hardcover edition.
 

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Contents

Hip Hop Matters
1
Back in the Day
9
POP CULTURE and the STRUGGLE for HIP HOP
31
Remixing American Pop
33
A Great Year in Hip Hop
55
Fear of a White Planet
85
The Digital Underground
111
POLITICS and the STRUGGLE for HIP HOP
141
Our FutureRight Here Right Now
187
We Love Hip Hop But Does Hip Hop Love Us?
207
Artificial Intelligence?
229
Bigger Than Hip Hop
249
Acknowledgments
257
NOTES
261
BIBLIOGRAPHY
279
INDEX
283

Move the Crowd
143
Young Voices in the Hood
163

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About the author (2006)

S. Craig Watkins is associate professor of radio-TV-film, sociology, and African American studies at the University of Texas at Austin. He is the author of Representing: Hip Hop Culture and the Production of Black Cinema. He lives in Austin, Texas.

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