Blowin’ Up at Pop Matters

July 22, 2016
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From a recent review of Jooyoung Lee’s Blowin’ Up: Rap Dreams in South Central, at Pop Matters:

One of the many powers of hip-hop, of course, is the intimacy it offers. Spend enough time listening to a certain rapper, and you begin to feel like you know that person as well as you do your own friends. Chuck D’s famous pronouncement that hip-hop is “CNN for black people”, pointed though it is, seems to miss part of the story. Hip-hop is CNN for white people, too, if you acknowledge the media’s systematic neglect of America’s black population. Through hip-hop, rappers are telling the stories that many journalists, and their publications, couldn’t be bothered to cover.

As a white hip-hop fan, there’s a seductive tendency to congratulate one’s self for gaining cultural competencies in African American culture, as if memorizing Tupac lyrics and attending Wu-Tang concerts confers a master’s degree in black studies. But the truth is that even in its rawest, most detailed form, hip-hop gives only what is at best a keyhole-sized view of the African American experience.

Jooyoung Lee’s Blowin’ Up: Rap Dreams in South Central represents a jump through the keyhole into the world of hip-hop as it is lived by some of the art form’s most dedicated practitioners.

To read more about Blowin’ Up, click here.

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