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Signifying Rappers: Rap and Race in the Urban Present

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9780880015356: Signifying Rappers: Rap and Race in the Urban Present
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The author of Infinite Jest and his co-writer discuss rap and popular culture, power, money, racial politics, and language in the first book to seriously consider rap and its position as a vital force in American culture. "Brilliantly written . . . (with) great wit, insight, and in-your-face energy."--Review of Contemporary Fiction.

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Based primarily on the authors' experiences hanging out with the owners of a small rap music production company, the first part of this long essay on understanding rap describes the setting in which this subversive music has arisen--the urban ghetto, in this case, the North Dorchester section of Boston. We get a vivid picture of rap's real-life context in an area of poverty, drugs and various types of radical activity, an environment closed to upscale whites by the barriers of fear and oppression. The music similarly remains for whites, assert the authors, "like little more than looking at something venomous in a tightly closed jar." Much of the book is devoted to a critical explication and validation of rap, including literary and historical analysis, placing it, for instance, in the context of African oral tradition. But away from the stark truths of reportage, the authors--Costello is an assistant district attorney in Manhattan; Wallace wrote the novel The Broom of the System --often get mired in theoretical hyperbole and digression. They claim to be the first whites to appreciate its political radicalness and artistic value, calling rap "quite possibly the most important stuff happening in American poetry today."
Copyright 1990 Reed Business Information, Inc.

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9780880012553: Signifying Rappers: Rap and Race in the Urban Present

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Publisher: Ecco Pr, 1990
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