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It's Bigger Than Hip Hop: The Rise of the Post-Hip-Hop Generation Hardcover – September 16, 2008

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Editorial Reviews

From Booklist

Asante (b. 1982) decries the negativity of much of mainstream hip-hop. Though people his age “were born into the hip-hop generation, they feel misrepresented by it and . . . see the dangers and limitations of being collectively identified by a genre of music they don’t even own.” Their “lack of ownership . . . has allowed corporate forces to overrun hip-hop with a level of misogyny and black-on-black violence” that has led “some young folks to disown the label ‘hip-hop generation.’” A similar argument could be made about nearly every underground movement that achieves pop-music supremacy, but Asante feels mainstream marketing of hip-hop has robbed his generation of a valuable voice for enunciating social and political criticism and made the music “a conservative instrument, promoting nothing new or remotely challenging to mainstream cultural ideology.” He declares that “post-hip-hop,” rather than marking the death of rap, represents a shift to a more inclusive movement incorporating culturally significant subject matter. Weighty, probably vital reading for keeping up with youth culture and pop music. --Mike Tribby

Review

"An empowering book that moves you to action and to question status quo America. Reading It's Bigger Than Hip Hop is motoring through a new generation of America with one of its best storytellers."

- Ari Bloomekatz, Los Angeles Times

"M.K. Asante, Jr. combines drive, skill and a commitment that buoys us all. The hip hop community should feel extremely blessed to have those qualities attached to its forward movement."

- Chuck D

"M.K. Asante, Jr. is a rare, remarkable talent that brings to mind the great artists of the Harlem Renaissance."

Philadelphia Inquirer

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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 304 pages
  • Publisher: St. Martin's Press; First Edition edition (September 16, 2008)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0312373260
  • ISBN-13: 978-0312373269
  • Product Dimensions: 6.4 x 1.1 x 9.5 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.1 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 4.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (20 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #673,808 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author

MK Asante is an award-winning author, filmmaker, hip hop artist, and professor who CNN calls "a master storyteller and major creative force." Asante's new book, "Buck," a memoir about his youth in Philadelphia, will be published by Random House on August 20, 2013. Asante studied at the University of London, earned a BA from Lafayette College, and an MFA from the UCLA School of Film and Television. Asante has toured over 40 countries as well as throughout the United States at hundreds of venues. He was awarded the Key to the City of Dallas, Texas. His essays have been published in USA Today and the New York Times. Visit mkasante.com for more.

Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

11 of 12 people found the following review helpful By Zella Llerena on November 2, 2008
Format: Hardcover
M.K. Asante Jr. is a gem. His book It's Bigger Than Hip Hop is one of the most in depth investigative books from our own community in quite some time. Asante's writing style is reminiscent of the great James Baldwin. The ancestors are watching and speak through Asante.

Hip Hop has become one of the most financially successful music genres of an entire century. Hip Hop reaches all ages, classes, races and countries. However, the image of Hip Hop that has spread in our communities and worldwide has changed over the years from its underground message of unity to consumerism/materialism by any means necessary. We have lost control of our own music yet when considering other black music genres from the past; blues, jazz, R &B we have never `owned' our music. History repeats itself. In retrospect, Ray Charles and Prince, to name a few, understood the need for us to own our lyrics, music, distribution houses, etc... (ex. When Prince wrote slave on his head to get out of a music contract and own his music).

Almost 40 years after the Civil Rights Movement and where are we? We integrated yet we never asked once what will happen to us after integration? We never had a plan. If considering that the former African-American segregated communities were small nations how is it that once we gained our `independence' we did not have a well thought out plan? Asante's book addresses some of those issues post-Civil Rights, post hip-hop. Every chapter needs to be read and analyzed in classrooms but specifically read between parent and child. This book needs to get in the hands of every African (Latinos too)
in the U.S., the rest of the Diaspora and Africa to fully understand our current state of affairs.

Chapter Glimpses:

Chapter 2: Keepin' It Real vs.
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful By The RAWSISTAZ Reviewers on January 9, 2009
Format: Hardcover
I was hip hop. A `70s baby, my teenage years stretched across hip
hop's awakening into proud and empowering lyrical expression. It
was a chain link of similarities, connecting the dots of every urban
experience, expressing the voice of every ghetto. Like Common, I
used to love H.E.R. But then, somewhere in my twenties, she abandoned
me. I became nothing more than a groupie, a video accessory and a
derogatory term. And my male counterparts became
unrecognizable, fake shadows of long forgotten pimps and, "keeping
it real," fools.

M.K. Asante remarkably captures the incredulous struggle that those
like me, the post hip hop generation, face when reconciling past hip
hop loyalty with current hip hop disdain.
IT'S BIGGER THAN HIP HOP is a classic work, a creative and
innovative approach to examining what hip hop was and is, and how
its growth and subsequent stagnation affect generations.

An example of his entertaining approach is demonstrated in Chapter
3, What's Really Hood?, when M.K. Asante engages in a colorful and
testy interview with "the ghetto." Yes, the ghetto finally speaks
and he has some truth to spread. As "the ghetto" explains his
history dating back from 1611, correlating past "ghettoization" with
modern Urban Renewal, he reminds the post hip hop generation of the
ignorance in blaming the poor for poverty.

In Chapter 10, Two Sets of Notes, M.K. Asante captures the struggle
of being taught incomplete truths, being fooled by "selective
memory," losing who we are as a people inside of the incessant white
lies.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By Miss Witness on September 26, 2008
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
I pre-ordered this book over the summer anticipating a great read, as I am a fan of M.K. Asante, Jr.'s poetry. I already have Like Water Running Off My Back Like Water Running Off My Back: Poems and Beautiful. & Ugly Too Beautiful. And Ugly Too. After reading It's Bigger Than Hop Hop, I am truly blown away by the insight and energy put into this new non-fiction work. I really enjoy the innovative interviews Asante conducts with the "Ghetto" and "Hip-Hop" and the call to action for 'Artivists' by any medium necessary. Unlike anything I've read so far about the corporate controlled hip hop industry, the book explores the break away from that fakeness by a new generation. And there is so much music I need to hear now after reading the myriad of quotations and excerpts included in this book. The photos are great too! A must read!!
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Format: Hardcover
I thoroughly enjoyed reading this book, in fact it was such a riveting read that I finished reading it in a matter of a few days. Mk Asante has made an enormous contribution to the discussion about the modern day African American society and the issues our community faces today; through skilfully weaving in the historical back ground of slavery, to incorporating contemporary issues and showing how many of the problems are in fact the same problems the Black community we're facing during slavery & after the abolition of Jim Crow laws etc. MK casts a light on why it is that the majority of our Black community is still living in poverty, marginalised by the system across all thinkable metrics - housing, education, city planning, prison incarceration etc.

It is so refreshing and enlightening to read MK's very detailed and thorough explanation of why it is that our society is the way it is today, he explains the incestuous relationship between elected politicians, policy makers and corporations that benefit from incarcerating Black people in droves - as the corporations use them as cheap labour, cheaper than outsourcing their business to SE Asia or other places. It is a very harsh reality he presents but he makes a clear point about how a lot of the laws, such as three strikes, are targeted towards our community. And not only are the laws that incarcerate our people discriminatory, but once the prisoners come out of prison a lot of their citizen rights are taken away from them, which eventually in many cases leads to more crime as the ex-con is pushed so far to the periphery of society that he cant but hustle to make a living.
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