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Between God and Gangsta Rap: Bearing Witness to Black Culture Paperback – January 30, 1997

ISBN-13: 978-0195115697 ISBN-10: 0195115694 Edition: Reprint

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Between God and Gangsta Rap: Bearing Witness to Black Culture + Know What I Mean?: Reflections on Hip-Hop + The Hip Hop Wars: What We Talk About When We Talk About Hip Hop--and Why It Matters
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Product Details

  • Paperback: 240 pages
  • Publisher: Oxford University Press; Reprint edition (January 30, 1997)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0195115694
  • ISBN-13: 978-0195115697
  • Product Dimensions: 0.5 x 5.3 x 7.9 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 9.6 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 2.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (4 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #568,111 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

"[P]reacher and public intellectual" Dyson (Making Malcolm) offers a lucid, mostly stimulating roundup of op-eds, reviews and articles about books, music, people and politics. An ordained Baptist minister, at 35 he has his finger on the pulse of the younger generation, so he can criticize the NAACP for losing touch with the grass roots and criticize gangsta rap for sexism and homophobia-but observe that attacks on it divert attention from more important threats to society as a whole. A few articles seem ephemeral, but most pieces on music-from Sam Cooke to Vanessa Williams to Public Enemy-reveal a fan's enthusiasm filtered through the screen of racial history. Dyson opens and closes the book with personal essays: a reflective letter to his incarcerated brother and an almost mawkish letter to his (third) wife in which he recounts his painful path to maturity in relationships. In Dyson's best essay, on the culture wars, he calls for the nation "to own up to its rich and creolized practice"; thus he recalls his own sturdy education in Detroit, where wise mentors fed him black culture high and low and fueled his omnivorous intellectual appetite.
Copyright 1995 Reed Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

From Library Journal

Dyson (Making Malcolm, Oxford Univ., 1995), a Baptist minister and professor of communications at the University of North Carolina, has written a complex work on race and identity and what is needed to heal the country. The book comprises a series of essays following three themes: Testimonials, or lives of contemporary black men; Lessons, or the politics of black culture, from the Panthers to the current Congress; Songs of Celebration, which cross musical and cultural lines, from gospel to pop and gangsta rap. The book examines the impact of the O.J. Simpson case on the country, as well as the forces of politics and religion brought to bear on American blacks from the start of the Civil Rights movement to the present. This timely account is recommended for all academic and public libraries.?Kevin Whalen, Union P.L., N.J.
Copyright 1996 Reed Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

9 of 10 people found the following review helpful By AfroerotiK on February 10, 2006
Format: Paperback
To say that preacher, professor, and hip-hop prophet Michael Eric Dyson is a brilliant scholar and prolific writer is to not only make a gross underassessment of his intellectual acumen, but also belies his impact on the transliterative interpretation of Black, urban vernacular and culture into academic fare. Dyson stands poised to ascend to the position of 21st century nouveau Negro Literati-he's an academician and theologian extraordinaire with his finger acutely on the pulse of the ghetto fabulous, and the not so fabulous. His attempt to bridge the gap between the pulpit and the projects, between the hallowed halls of scholastic academy and the temporal alleyways of municipal despair, is to not only be commended, but also to be acknowledged as groundbreaking scholarship. Dyson has created in himself a new paradigm, the rapping apostle who champions the words of the socially oppressed, economically poor, and melanin-rich youth across Amerikkka.

While I stand in agreement with a great number of Dyson's arguments and commentaries on Black culture, and I respect and revere his ability to render unbiased and unpopular examinations of historical African American icons, I find him dangerously lacking in his self-proclaimed position of feminist. I cannot in good consciousness harshly critique Professor Dyson's intent when it comes to addressing the issue of gender in the African American community but I most assuredly take issue with his content.

The esteemed professor identifies himself as a benevolent champion to the "fairer" sex while hiding behind a thinly-veiled patriarchal and misogynistic mask. Whatever his public beliefs on misogyny might be, Dr.
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11 of 13 people found the following review helpful By Christie_Jones@merck.com on March 17, 1998
Format: Paperback
Dyson has set a big task for this little book. He has staked out alot of ground to cover and that's where this book falls short. Maybe three of the essays are worth pursuing, in particular the piece on African American preaching and some of the personal reflections, especially the story about his brother and family, but other pieces, sound more like snipets that appeared in Vibe and seem better suited to liner notes. And please, no more OJ stuff, this man has become a cultural hang nail - enough already!
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7 of 8 people found the following review helpful By soulonice on February 11, 2005
Format: Paperback
This book is filled with Dr. Dyson tackling many subjects, including the O.J Simpson trial, Michael Jordan, Mariah Carey and the issues surrounding her identity in the eyes of the viewing public (black and white), and others as well. It's not necessarily a tough read; the title of the book is simply misleading. While I read it, I could see the link he attempts to make with his audience while he discusses various subjects, but it is pretty difficult to follow. It's "Between God and Gangsta Rap", but it takes a long time to bridge the links together, and that is what frustrated me. I didn't need certain issues in the book to understand others, but it may take that for other people who read it. The one piece I did enjoy was one about a pastor who is revered in the African-American community, Gardner "Wash" Taylor. Besides that, the book didn't do too much for me, and that is unfortunate, because I am a huge Michael Eric Dyson fan. It will really just depend on what type of reader you are as to whether you like or dislike the book, or whether you finish or don't finish it.
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16 of 23 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on June 15, 2000
Format: Hardcover
Dyson has very little to say here, and some of what he says is almost embarrassing. The rationale for this book is not at all clear, beyond the royalties. The whole thing is very poorly edited, and Dyson's writing sputters--a brilliant one-liner followed by a pointless anecdote which the reader can see coming a mile away. This is all style and no substance, and the style is nothing to write home about, either. I get the sense that this book was the brainchild of some literary agent or publishing house--the author just doesn't have anything much to say, and doesn't say it very well. Dyson has gifts, but seems to pour them out without much care. I have read all of his books, and this is the worst one. The consistent and avoidable flaws in Dyson's work is lack of research, reliance on rhetoric, and failure to polish the writing. This one appears to have been written in the airport lounge on the way to his next speaking gig.
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