The Hip Hop Wars

What We Talk About When We Talk About Hip Hop--and Why It Matters


By Tricia Rose

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How hip hop shapes our conversations about race — and how race influences our consideration of hip hop

Hip hop is a distinctive form of black art in America-from Tupac to the Pulitzer Prize-winning Kendrick Lamar, hip hop has long given voice to the African American experience. As scholar and cultural critic Tricia Rose argues, hip hop, in fact, has become one of the primary ways we talk about race in the United States.

But hip hop is in crisis. For years, the most commercially successful hip hop has become increasingly saturated with caricatures of black gangstas, thugs, pimps, and hos. This both represents and feeds a problem in black American culture. Or does it? In The Hip-Hop Wars, Rose explores the most crucial issues underlying the polarized claims on each side of the debate: Does hip hop cause violence, or merely reflect a violent ghetto culture? Is hip hop sexist, or are its detractors simply anti-sex? Does the portrayal of black culture in hip hop undermine black advancement?

A potent exploration of a divisive and important subject, The Hip Hop Wars concludes with a call for the regalvanization of the progressive and creative heart of hip hop. What Rose calls for is not a sanitized vision of the form, but one that more accurately reflects a much richer space of culture, politics, anger, and yes, sex, than the current ubiquitous images in sound and video currently provide.


For Andre, Clark, and Coleman

HIP HOP IS NOT DEAD, but it is gravely ill. The beauty and life force of hip hop have been squeezed out, wrung nearly dry by the compounding factors of commercialism, distorted racial and sexual fantasy, oppression, and alienation. It has been a sad thing to witness. I am not prone to nostalgia but will admit, with self-conscious wistfulness, that I remember when hip hop was a locally inspired explosion of exuberance and political energy tethered to the idea of rehabilitating community. It wasn’t ideal by any means: Carrying many of the seeds of destruction that were part of society itself, it had its gangsters, hustlers, misogynists, and opportunists; it suffered from the hallmarks of social neglect and disregard; it expressed anger and outrage in sometimes problematic ways. But there was a love of community, a drive toward respect and mutuality that served as a steady heartbeat for hip hop and the young people who brought it into existence. These inspirational energies kept hip hop alive as a force for creativity and love, affirmation and resistance.
I wrote my first book on hip hop in the early 1990s, just before the dramatic changes that redefined hip hop—the ones to which this book is devoted—really set in. Black Noise: Rap Music and Black Culture in Contemporary America is a scholarly book that explored the cultural and political origins of rap music and hip hop culture. It argued for the value and importance of hip hop and emphasized the possibilities I felt the music and culture represented. It was a labor of intellect and heart. I was raised in the Bronx during the 1970s, so it was a personal subject for me. But I was also intellectually inspired by hip hop; I was fascinated by its challenges to musical rules, its ability to use the powerful tradition of black oration and storytelling to render stylistically compelling music dealing with the pleasures and pains lived by those with the least. The problems in hip hop were apparent to me, too, but I also felt that their overall impact on hip hop was dwarfed by hip hop’s potential. At the time, hip hop served as a rich alternative space for multicultural, male and female, culturally relevant, anti-racist community building. Its ability to revise and transform so much about American culture with so few resources was breathtaking.
But the world of hip hop on which Black Noise was based—the vision of hip hop on which a good deal of the field has been grounded—is not what dominates the U.S. airwaves and recording industry today. A few artists elsewhere around the globe, along with some who have slipped into American radio rotation and others in the so-called underground, reflect the extraordinary life force that remains. However, the gap between “then and now” for the most visible, most widely consumed hip hop is profound. Many progressive cultural critics simply work around this disjuncture by seeking out—and finding in the underground or on the commercial margins—less-promoted artists or songs that open up new spaces or challenge the existing mainstream obsession with black men and women as gangstas, pimps, and hoes. These alternative works are vitally important, and they need attention. At the same time, though, the terms of the commercial mainstream—and the artists who capitulate to them—need to be directly challenged. Simply pointing to alternatives has not been enough. The industry-generated focus in hip hop has largely been uninterrupted by positive attention directed toward marginalized hip hop artists. And, as corporate influence has expanded, the quality of the public conversation has contracted, disabling progressive responses to both the conservative attacks and the commercial manipulations that have brought hip hop to the ICU ward.
The terms of this public conversation have worried me for quite some time. I’ve lectured on hip hop widely for fifteen years and, in the last few of these, have spent a good deal of time emphasizing what has gone wrong with commercial hip hop and drawing attention to alternatives with the hope that smaller conversations would substantially contribute to a grassroots redirection of commercial hip hop. All the while, I grew incredibly frustrated with the terms of the public conversation, which seemed to be trapped in endless repetitions of silly, exaggerated claims by critics and supporters alike—repetitions that enervated the conversation and dulled critical development. In many of the smaller conversations I have had about these changes in hip hop, my challenges to the destructive forces of commercialized manufacturing of ghetto street life were embraced by some students, fans, and colleagues. But many others bristled at my emphasis; they wanted to point to the underground as proof that things were not so bad. It was as if the mere existence of underground artists meant that hip hop was healthy, and that because of such artists, these commentators didn’t have to confront either what the most powerful and commercially viable brand of hip hop had become or its vast influence on an entire generation’s creativity. By remaining silent or feigning disinterest in corporate mainstream hip hop, they could, it seemed, avoid being labeled “haters” in a world where haters are banished from hip hop and players are embraced. It became clear to me that the public hostility toward hip hop—matched only by the self-destructive terms of embrace—were disabling progressive critique of this latest incarnation of commercial hip hop.
I recall one particularly memorable conversation in which I described my disappointment with the repetition of the same arguments and counterarguments about hip hop, likening them to comedian David Letterman’s Top Ten feature—but my version was a top-ten list of the most popular and wrongheaded arguments about hip hop. It was then that The Hip Hop Wars, a sustained response to these debates, came into focus. Because of my interest in tackling the racial, gender, and sexual imagery and ideas being promoted at the heart of mainstream hip hop, this book does not focus on multicultural or international aspects of hip hop. It’s true that hip hop fans and artists come from many different national, ethnic, and religious backgrounds, and are diverse in terms of gender and sexual orientation as well. But the highly coveted commercial market for hip hop in the United States, to which this book is devoted, reconstructs hip hop as all-black and, because of this, black youth are marked by it and simultaneously invest in it heavily. Despite the diversity of fans and artists on the commercial margins, then, the public struggle over hip hop is waged over the images, stories, and market power associated with black male and female bodies. Likewise, the language, style, and attitudes associated with hip hop are coded and understood and performed as “black.” So, if hip hop is going to get well, if we’re going to learn from what has happened to it, we need to arm young black men and women, and everyone else, with powerful critical tools so that they can expose and challenge the state of commercial hip hop, divest it from this pernicious brand of blackness, and make far more room for a wide range of alternatives.

I’d like to say to all the industry people out there that control what we call hip hop, I’d like for people to put more of an effort to make hip hop the culture of music that it was, instead of the culture of violence that it is right now. There’s a lot of people that put in a lot of time, you know the break-dancers, the graffiti artists, there’s people rapping all over the world. . . . All my life I’ve been into hip hop, and it should mean more than just somebody standing on the corner selling dope—I mean that may or may not have its place too because it’s there, but I’m just saying—I ain’t never shot nobody, I ain’t never stabbed nobody, I’m forty-five years old and I ain’t got no criminal record, you know what I mean? The only thing I ever did was be about my music. So I mean, so, while we’re teaching people what it is about life in the ghetto, then we should be teaching people about what it is about life in the ghetto, me trying to grow up and to come up out of the ghetto. And we need everybody’s help out there to make that happen.
—Melle Mel, lead rapper of and main songwriter for the seminal rap group Grandmaster Flash and the Furious Five, in an acceptance speech during the group’s induction into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame, March 2007
HIP HOP IS IN A TERRIBLE CRISIS. Although its overall fortunes have risen sharply, the most commercially promoted and financially successful hip hop—what has dominated mass-media outlets such as television, film, radio, and recording industries for a dozen years or so—has increasingly become a playground for caricatures of black gangstas, pimps, and hoes. Hyper-sexism has increased dramatically, and homophobia along with distorted, antisocial, self-destructive, and violent portraits of black masculinity have become rap’s calling cards. Relying on an ever-narrowing range of images and themes, this commercial juggernaut has played a central role in the near-depletion of what was once a vibrant, diverse, and complex popular genre, wringing it dry by pandering to America’s racist and sexist lowest common denominator.
This scenario differs vastly from the wide range of core images, attitudes, and icons that defined hip hop during its earlier years of public visibility. In the 1980s, when rap’s commercial value began to develop steam, gangsta rappers were only part of a much larger iconic tapestry. There were many varieties of equally positioned styles of rap—gangsta as well as party, political, afrocentric, and avant-garde, each with multiple substyles as well. However, not only were many styles of rap driven out of the corporate-promoted mainstream, but since the middle to late 1990s, the social, artistic, and political significance of figures like the gangsta and street hustler substantially devolved into apolitical, simple-minded, almost comic stereotypes. Indeed, by the late 1990s, most of the affirming, creative stories and characters that had stood at the defining core of hip hop had been gutted. To use a hip hop metaphor, they were driven underground, buried, and left to be dug up only by the most deeply invested fans and artists.
Gangstas, hustlers, street crimes, and vernacular sexual insults (e.g., calling black women “hoes”) were part of hip hop’s storytelling long before the record industry really got the hang of promoting rap music. Gangstas and hustlers were not invented out of whole cloth by corporate executives: Prior to the ascendance of corporate mainstream hip hop, these figures were more complex and ambivalent. A few were interesting social critics. Some early West Coast gangsta rappers—N.W.A., and W.C. and the Maad Circle, for example—featured stories that emphasized being trapped by gang life and spoke about why street crime had become a “line of work” in the context of chronic black joblessness. Thwarted desires for safe communities and meaningful work were often embedded in street hustling tales. Eventually, though, the occasional featuring of complicated gangstas, hustlers, and hoes gave way to a tidal wave of far more simplistic, disproportionately celebratory, and destructive renderings of these characters. Hip hop has become buried by these figures and “the life” associated with them.
This trend is so significant that if the late Tupac Shakur were a newly signed artist today, I believe he’d likely be considered a socially conscious rapper and thus relegated to the margins of the commercial hip hop field. Tupac (who despite his death in 1996 remains one of hip hop’s most visible and highly regarded gangsta rappers) might even be thought of as too political and too “soft.” Even as he expressed his well-known commitment to “thug life,” his rhymes are perhaps too thoughtful for mainstream “radio friendly” hip hop as it has evolved since his death.
This consolidation and “dumbing down” of hip hop’s imagery and storytelling took hold rather quickly in the middle to late 1990s and reached a peak in the early 2000s. The hyper-gangsta-ization of the music and imagery directly parallels hip hop’s sales ascendance into the mainstream record and radio industry. In the early to middle 1990s, following the meteoric rise of West Coast hip hop music producer Dr. Dre and of N.W.A., widely considered a seminal gangsta rap group, West Coast gangsta rap solidified and expanded the already well-represented street criminal icons—thug, hustler, gangster, and pimp—in a musically compelling way. This grab bag of street criminal figures soon became the most powerful and, to some, the most “authentic” spokesmen for hip hop and, then, for black youth generally.
For the wider audience in America, which relies on mainstream outlets for learning about and participating in commercially distributed pop culture, hip hop has become a breeding ground for the most explicitly exploitative and increasingly one-dimensional narratives of black ghetto life. The gangsta life and all its attendant violence, criminality, sexual “deviance,” and misogyny have, over the last decade especially, stood at the heart of what appeared to be ever-increasing hip hop record sales. Between 1990 and 1998, the Recording Industry Association of America (RIAA) reported that rap captured, on average, 9-10 percent of music sales in the United States. This figure increased to 12.9 percent in 2000, peaked at 13.8 percent in 2002, and hovered between 12 and 13 percent through 2005. To put the importance of this nearly 40 percent increase in rap/hip hop sales into context, note that during the 2000-2005 period, other genres, including rock, country, and pop, saw decreases in their market percentage. The rise in rap/hip hop was driven primarily by the sale of images and stories of black ghetto life to white youth: According to Mediamark Research Inc., increasing numbers of whites began buying hip hop at this point. Indeed, between 1995 and 2001, whites comprised 70-75 percent of the hip hop customer base—a figure considered to have remained broadly constant to this day.1
I am not suggesting that all commercial hip hop fits this description, nor do I think that there is no meaningful content in commercial hip hop. I am also not suggesting that commercially successful gangsta-style artists such as Jay-Z, Ludacris, 50 Cent, T.I., and Snoop Dogg lack talent. It is, in fact, rappers’ lyrical and performative talents and the compelling music that frames their rhymes—supported by heavy corporate promotion—that make this seduction so powerful and disturbing. They and many others whose careers are based on these hip hop images are quite talented in different ways: musically, lyrically, stylistically, and as entrepreneurs. The problems facing commercial hip hop today are not caused by individual rappers alone; if we focus on merely one rapper, one song, or one video for its sexist or gangsta-inspired images we miss the forest for the trees. Rather, this is about the larger and more significant trend that has come to define commercial hip hop as a whole: The trinity of commercial hip hop—the black gangsta, pimp, and ho—has been promoted and accepted to the point where it now dominates the genre’s storytelling worldview.
The expanded commercial space of these three street icons has had a profound impact on both the direction of the music and the conversation about hip hop—a conversation that has never been just about hip hop. On the one hand, the increased profitability of the gangsta-pimp-ho trinity has inflamed already riled critics who perceive hip hop as the cause of many social ills; but, on the other, it has encouraged embattled defenders to tout hip hop’s organic connection to black youth and to venerate its market successes as examples of pulling oneself up by the bootstraps. The hyperbolic and polarized public conversation about hip hop that has emerged over the past decade discourages progressive and nuanced consumption, participation, and critique, thereby contributing to the very crisis that is facing hip hop. Even more important, this conversation has become a powerful vehicle for the channeling of broader public discussion about race, class, and the value of black culture’s role in society. Debates about hip hop have become a means for defining poor, young black people and thus for interpreting the context and reasons for their clearly disadvantaged lives. This is what we talk about when we talk about hip hop.

The State of the Conversation on Hip Hop

The excessive blame leveled at hip hop is astonishing in its refusal to consider the culpability of the larger social and political context. To many hot-headed critics of hip hop, structural forms of deep racism, corporate influences, and the long-term effects of economic, social, and political disempowerment are not meaningfully related to rappers’ alienated, angry stories about life in the ghetto; rather, they are seen as “proof” that black behavior creates ghetto conditions. So decades of urban racial discrimination (the reason black ghettos exist in the first place), in every significant arena—housing, education, jobs, social services—in every city with a significant black population, simply disappear from view. In fact, many conservative critics of hip hop refuse to acknowledge that the ghetto is a systematic matrix of racial, spatial, and class discrimination that has defined black city life since the first half of the twentieth century, when the Great Black Migration dramatically reshaped America’s cities. For some, hip hop itself is a black-created problem that promotes unsafe sex and represents sexual amorality, infects “our” culture and society, advocates crime and criminality, and reflects black cultural dysfunction and a “culture of poverty.” As hip hop’s conservative critics would have it, hip hop is primarily responsible for every decline and crisis worldwide except the war in Iraq and global warming.
The defenses are equally jaw-dropping. For some, all expression in commercialized hip hop, despite its heavy manipulation by the record industry, is the unadulterated truth and literal personal experience of fill-in-the-blank rapper; it reflects reality in the ghetto; its lyrics are the result of poverty itself.2 And my favorite, the most aggravating defense of commercial hip hop’s fixation on demeaning black women for sport—“well, there are bitches and hoes.” What do fans, artists, and writers mean when they defend an escalating, highly visible, and extensive form of misogyny against black women by claiming that there are bitches and hoes? And how have they gotten away with this level of hateful labeling of black women for so long?
The big media outlets that shape this conversation, such as Time/Warner, News Corporation, Bertelsmann, General Electric, and Viacom, do not frame hip hop’s stories in ways that allow for a serious treatment of sexism, racism, corporate power, and the real historical forces that have created ghettos. When well-informed, progressive people do get invited to appear on news and public affairs programs, they wind up being pushed into either “pro” or “con” positions—and as a result, the complexity of what they have to say to one side or the other is reduced. Although the immaturity of “beef” (conflict between rappers for media attention and street credibility) is generally considered a hip hop phenomenon, it actually mirrors much of the larger mainstream media’s approach to issues of conflict and disagreement. Developing a thoughtful, serious, and educated position in this climate is no easy task, since most participants defend or attack the music—and, by extension, young black people—with a fervor usually reserved for religion and patriotism.

Why We Should Care About Hip Hop

The inability to sustain either a hard-hitting, progressive critique of hip hop’s deep flaws or an appreciation for its extraordinary gifts is a real problem, with potentially serious effects that ripple far beyond the record industry and mass-media corporate balance sheets. We have the opportunity to use the current state of commercial hip hop as a catalyst to think with more care about the terms of cross-racial exchanges and the role of black culture in a mass-mediated world. Indeed, we should be asking larger questions about how hip hop’s commercial trinity of the gangsta, pimp, and ho relates to American culture more generally. But, instead, we have allowed hip hop to be perceived by its steadfast defenders as a whipping boy (unfairly beaten for all things wrong with American society and blamed as a gateway to continued excessive criticisms of black people’s behavior) and charged by its critics as society’s career criminal (responsible for myriad social ills and finally being caught and brought to trial). Not much beyond exhaustion, limited, and one-sided vicious critique, and nearly blind defense is possible in this context. Very little honest and self-reflective vision can emerge from between this rock and hard place.
Why should we care about hip hop and how should we talk about it? Serial killer, whipping boy, whatever, right? It’s just entertainment—it generates good ratings and makes money for rappers and the sputtering record industry, but it doesn’t matter beyond that. Or does it? In fact, it matters a great deal, even for those who don’t listen to or enjoy the music itself. Debates about hip hop stand in for discussion of significant social issues related to race, class, sexism, and black culture. Hip hop’s commercial trinity has become the fuel that propels public criticism of young black people. According to some critics, if we just got rid of hip hop and the bad behavior it supports (so the argument goes), “they’d” all do better in school, and structurally created racism and disadvantage would disappear like vapor. This hyper-behavioralism—an approach that overemphasizes individual action and underestimates the impact of institutionalized forms of racial and class discrimination—feeds the very systematic discrimination it pretends isn’t a factor at all.
The public debates about hip hop have also become a convenient means by which to avoid the larger, more entrenched realities of sexism, homophobia, and gender inequality in U.S. society. By talking about these issues almost exclusively in the context of hip hop, people who wouldn’t otherwise dare to talk about sexism, women’s rights, homophobia, or the visual and cultural exploitation of women for corporate profit insinuate that hip hop itself is sexist and homophobic and openly criticize it for being so. It’s as if black teenagers have smuggled sexism and homophobia into American culture, bringing them in like unauthorized imports.
This conversation about the state of hip hop matters for another reason as well: We have arrived at a landmark moment in modern culture when a solid segment (if not a majority) of an entire generation of African-American youth understands itself as defined primarily by a musical, cultural form. Despite the depth of young black people’s love of the blues, jazz, and R&B throughout various periods in the twentieth century, no generation has ever dubbed itself the “R&B generation” or the “jazz generation,” thereby tethering its members to all things (good and bad) that might be associated with the music. Yet young people have limited their creative possibilities, as well as their personal identities, to the perimeters established by the genre of hip hop. No black musical form before hip hop—no matter how much it “crossed over” into mainstream American culture—ever attracted the level of corporate attention and mainstream media visibility, control, and intervention that characterizes hip hop today. It is now extremely common for hip hop fans of all racial and ethnic backgrounds, especially black fans, to consider themselves more than fans. They’re people who “live and breathe hip hop every day.”
This level of single-minded investment, forged in the context of sustained blanket attacks on hip hop music and culture, makes objective critique nearly impossible. Of course, this investment is itself partly a response to the deep level of societal disregard that so many young, poor minority kids experience. As Jay-Z says in the remixed version of Talib Kweli’s “Get By,” “Why listen to a system that never listens to me?” For anyone who feels this way about anything (religion, patriotism, revolution, etc.), critical self-reflection is hard to come by. The more under attack one feels, the greater the refusal to render self-critique is likely to be. But such fervor is also the result of market manipulation that fuels exaggerated brand loyalty and confuses it with black radicalism by forging bonds to corporate hip hop icons who appear to be “keeping it real” and representing the ’hood. In turn, the near-blind loyalty of hip hop fans is exploited by those who have pimped hip hop out to the highest bidder. Members of the hip hop generation are now facing the greatest media machinery and most veiled forms of racial, economic, sexual, and gender rhetoric in modern history; they need the sharpest critical tools to survive and thrive.
Another reason this conversation is important is that the perceptions we have about hip hop—what it is, why it is the way it is—have been used as evidence against poor urban black communities themselves. Using hip hop as “proof” of black people’s culpability for their circumstances undermines decades of solid and significant research on the larger structural forces that have plagued black urban communities. The legacy of the systemic destruction of working-class and poor African-American communities has reached a tragic new low in the past thirty years.
Since the early 1980s, this history has been rewritten, eclipsed by the idea that black people and their “culture” (a term that is frequently used when “behavior” should be) are the cause of their condition and status. Over the last three decades, the public conversation has decidedly moved toward an easy acceptance of black ghetto existence and the belief that black people themselves are responsible for creating ghettos and for choosing to live in them, thus absolving the most powerful segments of society from any responsibility in the creation and maintenance of them. Those who deny the legacy of systematic racism or refuse to connect the worst of what hip hop expresses to this history and its devastating effects on black community are leveling unacceptable and racist attacks on black people.


  • "While the depth of Tricia Rose's analytical skills is breathtaking, even more impressive is that at its heart, The Hip Hop Wars is a hopeful, inspiring book that speaks to the necessity of a community-centered vision for justice for all."—Henry Louis Gates, Jr
  • "In The Hip Hop Wars, Tricia Rose has thrown down the gauntlet and taken up the brutal issues that confront hip hop culture. Dispatching hip hop's haters and sycophants with equal skill, she has given us a bracing and brilliant salvo from the front line of hip hop's war for definition and survival."—Michael Eric Dyson
  • "Tricia Rose is the distinguished dean of hip hop studies in America. Her recent book not only affirms this grand status but also transforms our understanding of the present and future of hip hop-and race-in America. Rose's courageous voice and progressive vision are so badly needed at this time!"—Cornel West
  • "A loving, smart, and searing critique from the pioneer of Hip Hop studies, The Hip Hop Wars breaks the impasse between those who always regarded the music as the source of our contemporary moral panic, and those hardcore defenders willing to justify anything in the name of 'keeping it real.' Tricia Rose not only brings sanity and intelligence to the debate, but at the back of every criticism, complaint, and concern is a social justice agenda. If you care about our future, read this book."—Robin D. G. Kelley, author of Freedom Dreams: The Black Radical Imagination
  • "The Hip Hop Wars is Crisis of the Negro Intellectual for the new millennium. Tricia Rose's take on hip hop is smart, provocative, analytical, and gutsy."—Jill Nelson, author of Volunteer Slavery: My Authentic Negro Experience
  • "The Hip Hop Wars is a conversation changing book. It gives music fans, political progressives, parents, pop culture aficionados and scholars what we need to put a stop to stupid arguments-and address what really matters when we talk about hip hop."—Lisa Duggan, author of Twilight of Equality
  • "Works such as Rose's The Hip Hop Wars...based on a deep love for the music and a concern for the people who make it, listen to it, and care about it-we need a lot more of those."
    Current Musicology
  • "[Tricia Rose is] a poetic voice of equanimity and strategic anger...Rose has the capacity to parse out the different threads of argument, examine them, and then tear them apart...The fact that she's traveling the middle path here, neither defending nor attacking hip hop, makes for a really nuanced, thought-provoking reading...It's harder to write when you're not making grand pronouncements and one-sided judgments. Rose does a beautiful job."
  • "The book's clear strength is Rose's strong voice and tight research. Her exploration of the infamous Imus-gate, the effect of governmental policies such as incarceration over rehabilitation, and the question of what to expect from "role models" are all sound and compelling...Rose is definitely a fair critic."
    Buffalo News
  • "Renowned cultural critic Rose ventures again into the world of hip-hop and produces another work that should challenge common feelings about the subject...It's Rose's convincing arguments and challenges of assumptions that make this an important title."
    Library Journal
  • "In this impassioned and brilliant book, Tricia Rose shows how hip hop has been harmed by both its friends and its foes, how the myths spread by both its attackers and defenders hurt the people who created hip hop in the first place. In an age where both government policy and private profiteering have promoted the organized abandonment of Black communities, debates about hip hop hide larger agendas about race, sex, and money. The Hip Hop Wars exposes the music industry and its myths, but even more important, explains what we can and must do about them."—George Lipsitz, author of Footsteps in the Dark
  • "A powerful blueprint for artists and community organizers who dare reclaim the magnificence of hip-hop culture from the matrix of mainstream distortions, The Hip-Hop Wars persuasively argues the ways that hip-hop in the last decade has become synonymous with Blackness. Hip-hop's most fierce cultural critic has given us an essential tool for deciphering both hip-hop and race in a post-racial global world."—Bakari Kitwana, author of Why White Kids Love Hip-Hop

On Sale
Dec 2, 2008
Page Count
320 pages
Civitas Books

Tricia Rose

About the Author

Tricia Rose is a professor of Africana Studies at Brown University. She specializes in twentieth- and twenty-first-century African-American culture and politics, social thought, popular culture, and gender issues. The author of the seminal Black Noise, she lives in Providence, Rhode Island.

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