Total Chaos: The Art and Aesthetics of Hip-Hop

Front Cover
Basic Books, Jul 31, 2008 - Art - 400 pages
It's not just rap music. Hip-hop has transformed theater, dance, performance, poetry, literature, fashion, design, photography, painting, and film, to become one of the most far-reaching and transformative arts movements of the past two decades.American Book Award-winning journalist Jeff Chang, author of the acclaimed Can't Stop Won't Stop: A History of the Hip-Hop Generation, assembles some of the most innovative and provocative voices in hip-hop to assess the most important cultural movement of our time. It's an incisive look at hip-hop arts in the voices of the pioneers, innovators, and mavericks.With an introductory survey essay by Chang, the anthology includes: Greg Tate, Mark Anthony Neal, Brian “B+” Cross, and Vijay Prashad examining hip-hop aesthetics in the wake of multiculturalism. Joan Morgan and Mark Anthony Neal discussing gender relations in hip-hop. Hip-hop novelists Danyel Smith and Adam Mansbach on "street lit" and "lit hop". Actor, playwright, and performance artist Danny Hoch on how hip-hop defined the aesthetics of a generation. Rock Steady Crew b-boy-turned-celebrated visual artist DOZE on the uses and limits of a "hip-hop" identity. Award-winning writer Raquel Cepeda on West African cosmology and "the flash of the spirit" in hip-hop arts. Pioneer dancer POPMASTER FABEL's history of hip-hop dance, and acclaimed choreographer Rennie Harris on hip-hop's transformation of global dance theatre. Bill Adler's history of hip-hop photography, including photos by Glen E. Friedman, Janette Beckman, and Joe Conzo. Poetry and prose from Watts Prophet Father Amde Hamilton and Def Poetry Jam veterans Staceyann Chin, Suheir Hammad, Marc Bamuthi Joseph and Kevin Coval. Roundtable discussions and essays presenting hip-hop in theatre, graphic design, documentary film and video, photography, and the visual arts. “Total Chaos is Jeff Chang at his best: fierce and unwavering in his commitment to document the hip-hop explosion. In beginning to define a hip-hop aesthetic, this gathering of artists, pioneers, and thinkers illuminates the special truth that hip-hop speaks to youth around the globe.” (Bakari Kitwana, author of The Hip-Hop Generation)

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Total chaos: the art and aesthetics of hip-hop

User Review  - Not Available - Book Verdict

After his history of hip-hop,Can't Stop Won't Stop , journalist Chang offers an aptly titled anthology on this music-art-culture agglomerate, with contributions from an authoritative and varied crew ... Read full review

Review: Total Chaos: The Art and Aesthetics of Hip-Hop

User Review  - Leonard - Goodreads

There's some interesting stuff in this anthology, but the lack of a strong authorial voice (despite the cover, Chang only edited the book) and some obscure and over-academicized material weakens it overall. Read full review


Title Page Introduction
PERSPECTIVES ON HIPHOP HISTORY Roots Perspectives on HipHop History
Dreams of a Final Theory
Yet Another Letter to a Young Poet
Physical Graffiti The History of HipHop Dance
The Art of Battling An Interview with Zulu King Alien Ness
Got Next A Roundtable on Identity and Aesthetics after Multiculturalism
IDENTITY IN FLUX The Real Identity in Flux
Trapped in between the Lines The Aesthetics of HipHop Journalism
Lvis Is a Pioneer or Legacy The VH1 Special
Burn Rubber on Plastic Bubbles Gangsta Limpin and the Art
Black Talk and Hot Sex Why Street Lit Is Literature
Its All One A Conversation between
how I found my inner

BEYOND THE FOUR ELEMENTS Flipping the Script Beyond the Four Elements
The Pure Movement and the Crooked Line An Interview with Rennie Harris
Found in Translation The Emergence of HipHop Theatre
From the Dope Spot to Broadway A Roundtable on HipHop Theatre
On Lit
Who Shot Ya A History of HipHop Photography
Words and Images A Roundtable on HipHop Design
Between the Studio and the Street HipHop in the Postmillennial
The City in Public versus Private Through a Scanner Darkly
A BrandNew Feminism A Conversation between
Cape Flats Alchemy HipHop Arts in South Africa
Native Tongues HipHops Global Indigenous Movement
Codes and the BBoys Stigmata An Interview with DOZE
Scarcity and Exploitation The Myth and Reality of the Struggling

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About the author (2008)

Jeff Chang is the author of Can't Stop, Won't Stop: A History of the Hip-Hop Generation, for which he was awarded the 2005 American Book Award. He has been featured on Vibe Magazine's Top 100 “Juice” List. Chang tours extensively, lecturing at universities, museums, and community arts organizations around the country. He lives in Berkeley, California.

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