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Rap and Hip Hop Culture

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  • Edition: 2nd
  • Format: Paperback
  • Copyright: 2021-05-03
  • Publisher: Oxford University Press

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Rap and Hip Hop Culture traces the ideological, social, historical, and cultural influences on a musical genre that first came to prominence in the mid-1970s in one of New York's toughest neighborhoods, the South Bronx. Orejuela describes how the arts of DJing, MCing, breakin' [b-boying], and graffiti developed as a way for this community's struggle to find its own voice. He addresses rap's early successes on the pop charts; its spread to mainstream culture; the growth of "gangsta rap" and mainstream society's reaction to it; the commercial success of rap music from the '90s through today; and the diffusion of hip hop throughout the world as a global phenomnenon. Throughout, this enlightening text highlights key performers, producers, and voices in the rap and hip hop movements, using their stories to illuminate the underlying issues of racism, poverty, prejudice, and artistic freedom that are part of rap and hip hop's ongoing legacy.

Author Biography

Fernando Orejuela, Ph.D. is a Senior Lecturer in the Department of Folklore and Ethnomusicology at Indiana University. Dr. Orejuela specializes in youth culture and popular entertainments in the United States, focusing on hip hop, social justice issues and cultural or subcultural traditions. He teaches courses on hip hop culture, Latino hip hop, subcultures and youth music scenes, critical race/ethnic theory and music, musical subcultures and social movements, children's folklore and service learning, as well as sports and gaming cultures. He served as a consulting scholar for the National Museum of African American Music in Nashville, Tennessee, and is a member of the advisory team for Carnegie Hall's Digital Timeline: A History of African American Music. He is the co-editor of Black Lives Matter and Music (Indiana University Press, 2018) and his chapter "Play, Game, and Sport in American Folklore and Folklife" appears in The Oxford Handbook of American Folklore and Folklore Studies (Oxford University Press, 2019).

Table of Contents


Chapter 1 What Is Hip Hop? What Is Rap?
Learning Objectives
A Few Definitions to Guide Our Study
The Key Players
The DJ 3
The MC
Breaking (B-Boys/B-Girls)
Hip Hop Chronology
Hip Hop's Roots
Chapter Summary
Study Questions
Key Terms

Chapter 2 Hip Hop's Ground Zero: The South Bronx and Urban America
Learning Objectives
The South Bronx: Where Hip Hop Was Born
The Lure of the Gang Lifestyle
The Gang Leader
From Street Gangs to Social Clubs
Chapter Summary
Study Questions
Key Terms

Chapter 3 Graffiti Art and Breaking
Learning Objectives
Graffiti Art
The Emerging Youth Graffiti Scene
Graffiti Clubs
The Importance of Style
Style Wars
The Second Generation
Graffiti in the Marketplace
Graffiti and the Transit Authority
The End of the Graffiti Era
B-Boying and Breaking
Comparing the Martial Art and the Dance
African American Roots of Breakdancing
Tap Dancing
Jitterbug and Dance Contests
James Brown
B-Boy, Breaking, and Breakdancing
Kool Herc's Contribution
The Term "B-Boy"
Listening Guide: Listening to James Brown: "Give It Up or Turnit A Loose"
Listening Guide: Listening to Jimmy Castor Bunch: "It's Just Begun"
Early Style
The Foundational Years: 1974-1977
Latinos Contribute to the Dance Form: 1976-1977
Hitting the Clubs
B-Boying as Performance Spectacle
West Coast Style
Chapter Summary
Study Questions
Key Terms

Chapter 4 Rap's African and African American Cultural Roots
Learning Objectives
Rap's Pop Culture Roots
African Roots of Rap as Oral Expression: The Jeli Tradition
Storytelling Genres
Boasting (Praising Oneself)
Playing the Dozens/Signifyin'
African American Girl Culture
MC Battles
Chapter Summary
Study Questions
Key Terms

Chapter 5 Old-School DJs and MCs
Learning Objectives
The First Wave: DJs and the Early Party Scene
DJ Kool Herc
Herc's Blueprints
Competition and the Ensuing DJ Battle Culture
Afrika Bambaataa
Grandmaster Flash
"Quick Mix Theory" and Other DJ Techniques
The Founding Fathers' Contributions
The Role of the DJ
"Digging the Crates": [Re]searching for the Perfect Beat
Techniques and Gear
Sources for Beats: Funk
The DJ Needs an MC
The MC Emerges
DJs Overshadowed by Their MCs
The Hip Hop Name
The Second Wave: "Rapper's Delight" Changes Everything
Listening Guide: Listening to the Sugarhill Gang: "Rapper's Delight"
The New Guard: Early Commercial Old-School Rap
Listening Guide: Listening to Grandmaster Flash and the Furious Five: "The Adventures of Grandmaster Flash on the Wheels of Steel"
Crossing Over: The New Wave Connection
New Technologies and New Experimentation
Chapter Summary
Study Questions
Key Terms

Chapter 6 The Golden Era
Learning Objectives
From Old School to New School: Concept of Rappin'
Second Generation of Rappers
New-School Innovations
A Survey of New-School Styles and Themes (1980s-1990s)
Rap-Rock Fusion: The Emergence of Run-D.M.C. and the Beastie Boys
Listening Guide: Listening to Run-D.M.C.: "Rock Box"
Response Rap/Dis Rap: Putting Beef on Wax
Rap Ballads
Listening Guide: Listening to LL Cool J: "I Need Love"
Feminist Themes
Listening Guide: Listening to Queen Latifah: "Ladies First"
Novelty/Humorous Rap
Freestyle: a.k.a. Latino Hip Hop
Listening Guide: Listening to Nayobe: "Please Don't Go"
Hardcore Rap
Dirty/Booty Rap
Rap: Just a Fad?
Chapter Summary
Study Questions
Key Terms

Chapter 7 Hardcore: "Message Rap" and "Gangsta Rap"
Learning Objectives
Hardcore Rap
Flashback: "The Message" That Almost Didn't Happen
Lyrical Referencing: Sister Souljah
Visual References and Message Rap
Political Empowerment: Public Enemy
Listening Guide: Listening to Public Enemy: "Burn Hollywood Burn"
From Cultural Movement to Political Movement to Popular Movement
Hardcore, Too: From Gangsta Style to Gangsta Rap
Earliest Gangsta Style
Think Like a Gangsta
The L.A. Gangsta Rap Scene
Listening Guide: Listening to Ice-T: "Rhyme Pays"
Listening Guide: Listening to N.W.A.: "Straight Outta Compton"
Rap Music as a Conduit for Political Culture
Afrocentric Rap
Five Percent Rappers
Consideration of Black Nationalism and Rap Music: Wasn't Old School also "Message Rap"?
Gangstas and Stock Characters from Folklore: Two Types of Hustlers
Popular Culture Media Images in Gangsta and X-rated Rap: Blaxploitation and Gangster Films
Chapter Summary
Study Questions
Key Terms

Chapter 8 Hardcore II: Gangsta in the '90s and Responses from Within the Rap Community
Learning Objectives
Keeping It Real? Issues Underscoring the Representation and Exploitation of Rap
Harsh Messages of Gangsta and X-rated Rappers
X-rated Rap/Miami Bass
Controversy with Gangsta and X-rated Rap
Parents Music Resource Center (PMRC)
Charges of Obscenity and Censoring Hip Hop
1994 Senate Hearings Against Gangsta Rap
The Emergence of G-Funk
Listening Guide: Listening to "Fuck With Dre Day (and Everybody's Celebratin')"
Followers of G-Funk
Pop Rap Goes Hardcore
East Coast-West Coast Rivalry: Not Just Biggie and 2Pac
Responding to Gangsta Rap's Domination
Spiritual Themes
Lauryn Hill
Rastafarian Themes
Black Feminist Spirituality and Values
Listening Guide: Listening to Lauryn Hill: "Doo Wop (That Thing)"
Christian Rap
Rap and Judaism
Jazz-Rap Fusion
Jazz-Rap Fusion Movement in the 1990s
Listening Guide: Listening to Us3: "Cantaloop (Flip Fantasia)"
Listening Guide: Listening to A Tribe Called Quest: "Excursions"
Women in Hip Hop and Rap
Women as Objects from a Male Rapper Perspective
Women as Subject: Towards a Womanist Approach to Hip Hop
White Rappers in the 1990s
Chapter Summary
Study Questions
Key Terms

Chapter 9 Hip Hop Culture and Rap Music in the Second Millennium
Learning Objectives
Hip Hop: Into the New Millennium (1995-Today)
What Is Underground Hip Hop?
The South
Southern Hip Hop Styles
Southern Message Rap
Southern Gangsta
Bounce Music (New Orleans)
Listening Guide: Listening to David Banner, Featuring Lil' Flip: "Like a Pimp"
Lil Wayne Phenomenon
Chopped and Screwed (Houston)
Listening Guide: Listening to Three 6 Mafia, Featuring UGK and Project Pat: "Sippin' on Some Syrup"
Crunk (Memphis and Atlanta)/Crunk & B
Snap Music (Atlanta)
Cocaine Rap
South as Pop
Underground Rap as Independent or Alternative Rap Music
Rhymesayers Entertainment
The Underground Scene in Los Angeles: The Good Life Caf? and Project Blowed
The Millennials (or the Millennial Generation)
Pharrell Williams and Kanye West
Young Innovators
Drake and Nicki Minaj
Listening Guide: Listening to Kanye West, Featuring Rick Ross, Jay-Z, Nicki Minaj, and Bon Iver: "Monster"
Hip Hop Futurism
Chapter Summary
Study Questions
Key Terms

Chapter 10 New Terrain, Political Turmoil, Defiance, & Cultural Movements in the 2010s
Learning Objectives
I Like What You Are, But I'm in Love with What You Have the Potential to Be
Hip Hop Arts and Communication: The Newer Normal
Hamilton's Affair with Hip Hop: Izza Broadway Takeover
Trap: Southern Style for a Pop Fandom
Hip Hop and the Political Preserve: Conscious Rap's Second Coming
"We gon' be alright! We gon' be alright!"
Music and Activism at the End of the Decade
Women Rappers' Fourth Wave Ascendance
Chapter Summary
Study Questions
Key Terms

Chapter 11 Global Hip Hop
Learning Objectives
This is Why They Show Me Mad Love All Around the World
"Our" Beginning
Global Linguistics
A Twist on Disenfranchised Communities
Around the World in a Few Examples
In Ghana
In China
In France
In Latin America
Indigenization and Crossover Success
Non-US English Rapping
Chapter Summary
Study Questions
Key Terms
Learning Objectives

Learning Objectives
What Is Hip Hop? Round Two
Chapter Summary
Key Terms


Supplemental Materials

What is included with this book?

The New copy of this book will include any supplemental materials advertised. Please check the title of the book to determine if it should include any access cards, study guides, lab manuals, CDs, etc.

The Used, Rental and eBook copies of this book are not guaranteed to include any supplemental materials. Typically, only the book itself is included. This is true even if the title states it includes any access cards, study guides, lab manuals, CDs, etc.

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