The Hip Hop Obama Reader

Author: Assistant Professor of Social Science Travis L Gosa
Editor:
ISBN: 019934180X
File Size: 58,53 MB
Format: PDF, ePub, Mobi
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Before the presidential candidacy and election of Barack Obama, hip hop was clearly in trouble. Nas's 2006 album, Hip Hop is Dead, seemed to articulate the growing concern among many performers, fans, and academics that nihilistic gangsterism and a lack of musical creativity were eclipsing three decades of hip hop's creative innovation, as well as its dedication to counter-hegemonic movements and discourse. On the eve of Obama's election, many pondered whether the first African American president might trigger a renaissance of socially conscious lyrics and creativity. The "Obamafication of rap" thesis, which anticipated such a renaissance, was presented by Reverend Al Sharpton, the rapper Common, and by a number of leading hip hop scholars. These predictions were not simply responses to the President's willingness to embrace hip hop in his campaign, but to hip hop's clear desire to embrace him as well. By the time Obama took office, the dominant narrative declared that America's first black president would change hip hop for the better and bring a gravely ill cultural movement back to life. The Hip Hop & Obama Reader offers the first systematic analysis of hip hop and politics before and during the Obama era. Over the course of 14 chapters, leading scholars and activists offer new perspectives on hip hop's role in political mobilization, grassroots organizing, campaign branding, and voter turnout, as well as the ever-changing linguistic, cultural, racial, and gendered dimensions of hip hop in the U.S. and abroad. Inviting readers to reassess how Obama's presidency continues to be shaped by the voice of hip hop and, conversely, how the voice of hip hop itself has been shaped by Obama, The Hip Hop & Obama Reader critically examines hip hop's potential to effect social change in the 21st century. This volume is essential reading for scholars and serious fans of hip hop, as well as those interested in the shifting relationship between democracy and popular culture.
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