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

By Morgan, Jo-Ann | Journal of American Culture (Malden, MA), September 2006 | Go to article overview

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


Morgan, Jo-Ann, Journal of American Culture (Malden, MA)


Hip Hop Matters: Politics, Pop Culture, and the Struggle for the Soul of a Movement S. Craig Watkins. Boston: Beacon Press, 2005.

With a nod to Cornel West's influential title, S. Craig Watkins's Hip Hop Matters offers much to consider in pondering the rhetorical question embedded within. For whom does a book on hip hop matter? Hip Hop Matters welcomes a general reader with cliffhanging denouements to suspend anticipation. As an example, the chapter titled "A Great Year in Hip Hop" ends with a hint of things to come: ". . . despite all the noise rap music made in the first half of 1998, the hip-hop movement would have much more to say over the course of the next six months" (66). Afficionados will already know the pivotal personnel of 1998, along with the rags-to-riches legends of today's performers. For these readers, Watkins's probe into the evolution of hip-hop music and lifestyle provides a social and political context. But, while Hip Hop Matters will appeal to young scholars, those who really need this book are their teachers.

We academics continue extolling the virtues of the great European arts of the past, yet often neglect to engage with our own times, especially disavowing the mostly urban and youthful hip-hop arts as "popular," commercial, or worse. Watkins's book offers older scholars access into the changing face of contemporary American culture and the political and economic factors fueling the various hip-hop arts of graffiti, break dancing, and fashion. It is rap music-the MCs, DJs, and producers-that most occupies Watkins. Especially provocative is his analysis of socially conscious rappers Ice Cube, of the groundbreaking N. W. A. (Niggaz With Attitude), and Chuck D. of Public Enemy, both coming on the scene around 1989. We learn how their potentially subversive challenges to the mainstream were ultimately contained by a "corporate take over" during the 1990s (58).

The outsider's point of view first gave rap its resonance within alienated segments of society, but gradually that voice became fashioned by powerful capitalist elites, making a potentially radical popular art little different from the high arts in sustaining the status quo. …

The rest of this article is only available to active members of Questia

Already a member? Log in now.

Notes for this article

Add a new note
If you are trying to select text to create highlights or citations, remember that you must now click or tap on the first word, and then click or tap on the last word.
One moment ...
Default project is now your active project.
Project items

Items saved from this article

This article has been saved
Highlights (0)
Some of your highlights are legacy items.

Highlights saved before July 30, 2012 will not be displayed on their respective source pages.

You can easily re-create the highlights by opening the book page or article, selecting the text, and clicking “Highlight.”

Citations (0)
Some of your citations are legacy items.

Any citation created before July 30, 2012 will labeled as a “Cited page.” New citations will be saved as cited passages, pages or articles.

We also added the ability to view new citations from your projects or the book or article where you created them.

Notes (0)
Bookmarks (0)

You have no saved items from this article

Project items include:
  • Saved book/article
  • Highlights
  • Quotes/citations
  • Notes
  • Bookmarks
Notes
Cite this article

Cited article

Style
Citations are available only to our active members.
Buy instant access to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

(Einhorn, 1992, p. 25)

(Einhorn 25)

1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

Cited article

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

Settings

Typeface
Text size Smaller Larger Reset View mode
Search within

Search within this article

Look up

Look up a word

  • Dictionary
  • Thesaurus
Please submit a word or phrase above.
Print this page

Print this page

Why can't I print more than one page at a time?

Help
Full screen

matching results for page

    Questia reader help

    How to highlight and cite specific passages

    1. Click or tap the first word you want to select.
    2. Click or tap the last word you want to select, and you’ll see everything in between get selected.
    3. You’ll then get a menu of options like creating a highlight or a citation from that passage of text.

    OK, got it!

    Cited passage

    Style
    Citations are available only to our active members.
    Buy instant access to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn, 1992, p. 25).

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn 25)

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences."1

    1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

    Cited passage

    Thanks for trying Questia!

    Please continue trying out our research tools, but please note, full functionality is available only to our active members.

    Your work will be lost once you leave this Web page.

    Buy instant access to save your work.

    Already a member? Log in now.

    Oops!

    An unknown error has occurred. Please click the button below to reload the page. If the problem persists, please try again in a little while.