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

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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 p 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.


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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 p 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.

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

  1. 5 out of 5

    Brian

    My NOTES on this book are available at: my notes. Summary: The book had some value to the political side of its focus in its use of case studies....The Bay Area story in particular. It also seemed to have some useful commentary on the creation of a hip hop intelligentsia, their views, and how they are viewed by the rest of the movement...This section had a very Gramsci 'n tint to it....organic intellectuals..... The book also was a good resource if attempting to pinpoint what "hip hop" as an art My NOTES on this book are available at: my notes. Summary: The book had some value to the political side of its focus in its use of case studies....The Bay Area story in particular. It also seemed to have some useful commentary on the creation of a hip hop intelligentsia, their views, and how they are viewed by the rest of the movement...This section had a very Gramsci 'n tint to it....organic intellectuals..... The book also was a good resource if attempting to pinpoint what "hip hop" as an art form means politically and culturally...similar to how groups like the surrealists of France have been analyzed. The best that this book had to offer however, was its very descriptive narrative of how and why hip hop has gone from being labeled as a fad to an all pervasive cultural experience, Highlight on Jay-Z/Eminem for this segment.....race highly factored.

  2. 5 out of 5

    kevin

    Watkins explores several rich topics in recent hip-hop history to make an argument for its importance to contemporary culture. He focuses especially on issues of race, gender, and political action. His energy and enthusiasm is evident in every line. Readers familiar with hip-hop will appreciate this love but skeptics might be turned off by some overly "fan-ish" passages. People still hungry after reading Chang's essential "Can't Stop, Won't Stop" will find "Hip Hop Matters" an excellent follow-up Watkins explores several rich topics in recent hip-hop history to make an argument for its importance to contemporary culture. He focuses especially on issues of race, gender, and political action. His energy and enthusiasm is evident in every line. Readers familiar with hip-hop will appreciate this love but skeptics might be turned off by some overly "fan-ish" passages. People still hungry after reading Chang's essential "Can't Stop, Won't Stop" will find "Hip Hop Matters" an excellent follow-up. Where Chang focuses his attention on constructing a history of the culture, Watkins puts the microscope on a few well-selected moments from the last decade.

  3. 4 out of 5

    Ryan Mishap

    Takes on the rise of hip-hop as a global force: how it came to happen, who controls the money, and the effects—good or bad. When Soundscan began tracking point-of-purchase sales, record companies were shocked to discover that country and rap were leading sales. The big companies backed rap stars, socially conscious hip-hop faded, even as it hip-hop spread around the world. Watkins also discusses sexism in rap and rappers entering the porn business. Also, how black people, in general, are portray Takes on the rise of hip-hop as a global force: how it came to happen, who controls the money, and the effects—good or bad. When Soundscan began tracking point-of-purchase sales, record companies were shocked to discover that country and rap were leading sales. The big companies backed rap stars, socially conscious hip-hop faded, even as it hip-hop spread around the world. Watkins also discusses sexism in rap and rappers entering the porn business. Also, how black people, in general, are portrayed in the media. Well worth picking up.

  4. 4 out of 5

    Sonia

    One of my Sociology professors from UT wrote this amazing piece on maintaining the authenticity of Hip Hop in a very commercialized music industry. His diverse background in both sociology and radio, TV and Film brings a unique insight in placing the evolution of Hip Hop music in a social/political context. He doesn't go so much in the history of hip hop music, but focuses his discussion on the mainstreaming of Hip Hop today. It's nonfiction, written by an academic, but i found it to be a very en One of my Sociology professors from UT wrote this amazing piece on maintaining the authenticity of Hip Hop in a very commercialized music industry. His diverse background in both sociology and radio, TV and Film brings a unique insight in placing the evolution of Hip Hop music in a social/political context. He doesn't go so much in the history of hip hop music, but focuses his discussion on the mainstreaming of Hip Hop today. It's nonfiction, written by an academic, but i found it to be a very entertaining and engaging book. He uses a lot of hip hop prose to illustrate his points.

  5. 4 out of 5

    m.

    Rather than give an intense historical recap of the hip-hop movement over the past 30 years, Watkins chooses a few important moments, and discusses their significance on the movement. For a reader who is looking to have a general understanding of hip-hop history, and the moments that changed its course. My only issues were the discussion on hip-hop as a agent of political change, as he presented no solid evidence, and the brevity of the chapter in regards to women in relation to hip-hop culture.

  6. 4 out of 5

    Rushay Booysen

    Does hip hop still matter! This book explores the early rise and influence of hip hop.It paves a timeline that seeks to point the influence of one of the most influential youth movements.Was a interesting read and refresher in making me aware of where this movement once was.

  7. 5 out of 5

    Skyler

    One of the first books I've read that touches specifically on my area of study, though being published in 2005, it's quite dated. Despite this, Watkins argument that hip hop matters is passionately on display in every piece of this book. One of the first books I've read that touches specifically on my area of study, though being published in 2005, it's quite dated. Despite this, Watkins argument that hip hop matters is passionately on display in every piece of this book.

  8. 4 out of 5

    jalylah

    This was recommended to be by Deb Willis for my thesis. I just skimmed it and picked out some quotes to add to my thesis for her benefit. I don't recall too many aha moments in my brisk flip through. Hip hop books don't much do it for me. This was recommended to be by Deb Willis for my thesis. I just skimmed it and picked out some quotes to add to my thesis for her benefit. I don't recall too many aha moments in my brisk flip through. Hip hop books don't much do it for me.

  9. 5 out of 5

    Krista

    I really enjoyed this book. I've read a fair number of hip hop memorials or history of hip hop in the US, but I've never actually seen it framed in this way. Really interested, both for historical content and the analysis of where hip hop is now. I really enjoyed this book. I've read a fair number of hip hop memorials or history of hip hop in the US, but I've never actually seen it framed in this way. Really interested, both for historical content and the analysis of where hip hop is now.

  10. 4 out of 5

    Natasha

    Poorly written and dry. My eyes would pop open whenever I'd stumble upon some information of which I was previously unaware - this book's only saving grace. Poorly written and dry. My eyes would pop open whenever I'd stumble upon some information of which I was previously unaware - this book's only saving grace.

  11. 4 out of 5

    Jennifer

    It is easy to read and interesting.

  12. 5 out of 5

    Guy Warburton

  13. 4 out of 5

    Suzana Režić Miler

  14. 5 out of 5

    Shade Green

  15. 4 out of 5

    Fabiola Rivera (Amrit Sukhmani Kaur)

  16. 4 out of 5

    Ahmad Oates

  17. 4 out of 5

    Cameron Tulloch

  18. 4 out of 5

    Roy

  19. 4 out of 5

    Vero Nica

  20. 4 out of 5

    Jersey

  21. 4 out of 5

    Alyx

  22. 4 out of 5

    leeyonard

  23. 5 out of 5

    Sada

  24. 4 out of 5

    Janssen

  25. 4 out of 5

    Karen Workun

  26. 4 out of 5

    Julius Bailey

  27. 5 out of 5

    Jeff Chang

  28. 4 out of 5

    Ellen Hampton

  29. 4 out of 5

    Brian

  30. 4 out of 5

    Claire

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