Avoiding the easy definitions and caricatures that tend to celebrate or condemn the “hip hop generation,” Hip Hop Matters focuses on fierce and far-reaching battles being waged in politics, pop culture, and academe to assert control over the movement. At stake, Watkins argues, is the impact hip hop has on the lives of the young people who live and breathe the culture. He presents incisive analysis of the corporate takeover of hip hop and the rampant misogyny that undermines the movement’s progressive claims. Ultimately, we see how hip hop struggles reverberate in the larger world: global media consolidation; racial and demographic flux; generational cleavages; the reinvention of the pop music industry; and the ongoing struggle to enrich the lives of ordinary youth.
About Hip Hop Matters
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.
Ebook | $17.99
Published by Beacon Press Aug 01, 2005| 304 Pages| ISBN 9780807009918
Inspired by Your Browsing History
Inspired by Your Browsing History
Watkins wisely chooses to focus on what has not been said . . . [and] tells his version of hip-hop’s history in lyrical prose, often mirroring the rhythms and wordplay of the music he’s discussing. This is undoubtedly a book for fans, but it is also an intriguing look at how hip-hop has become part of a universal cultural conversation. -Publishers Weekly
“Offering a fast-moving and well-researched book, Watkins successfully unearths some of the disturbing and encouraging implications of hip-hop culture.” -Library Journal
“Quite an exposition of all things hip-hop.” -Mike Tribby, Booklist
“Watkins well understands the challenges facing the nascent hip-hop political movement.”–Adam Bradley, Washington Post
“Watkins sets his tome apart with a meticulous attention to the facts . . . He leaves few stones unturned examining the endless influence of hip-hop on the world around us, always with a critical eye.”–URB
“Watkins’s study is the best yet on the hip-hop industry. Watkins has provided nothing less than a political economy of hip-hop, one that doesn’t shy away from the dirty business hip-hop has become . . . He’s also attentive to the way hip-hop was affected by the appalling rates of incarceration and AIDS in black communities.” –Greg Tate, The Nation
“With Hip Hop Matters, S. Craig Watkins establishes himself as one of the most insightful observers and critics of hip hop culture.”–Michael Eric Dyson