Thursday, February 15, 2007

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

Avoiding the easy definitions and caricatures that tend to celebrate or condemn the hip hop generation, Hip Hop Matters focuses on the fierce and far-reaching battles being waged in politics, pop culture, and academe to assert greater control over the movement. At stake, Watkins argues, is the impact hip hop will have in the lives of the young people who live and breathe the culture. The story unfolds through revealing profiles, looking at such players as Detroit mayor Kwame Kilpatrick, widely recognized as America's first hip-hop mayor; Chuck D, the self-described rebel without a pause who championed the Internet as a way to keep socially relevant rap music alive; and young activists who represent hip hop's insurgent voice. Watkins also presents incisive analysis of the corporate takeover of hip hop; the culture's march into America's colleges and universities; and the rampant misogyny that undermines the movement's progressive claims. Ultimately, we see how the struggle for hip hop reverberates with a larger world: global media consolidation and conglomeration; 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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