From Publishers Weekly
Journalist Reeves proves himself an insightful and capable historian in this collection of essays examining the rise of ten distinct hip-hop movements and their respective avatars. The author displays a remarkable talent for linking lyrics and interviews with broad artistic and historical themes. Locating each artist within their larger social context, he also uses artist lyrics as apertures to overriding socio-political motifs, combing through tracks and imputing rhymes to the relevant racial struggles of the day. This method is convincing when applied to early hip-hop pioneers such as Afrika Bambaataa, Kool Herc, and Grandmaster Flash, whose art stood in direct response to the urban decay of their communities, or used side-by-side with a discussion of the feminist movement in a history of Salt-N-Pepa. It is less effective when connecting politics and more contemporary hip-hop practitioners. For example, Reeves curiously intertwines Jay-Z's iced-out swagger with the Affirmative Action dispute of the late 1990's, and DMX's thug spirituality with the incarceration and release of Black Panther leader Geronimo Pratt. That these links are harder to forge perhaps speaks to hip-hop's ever-growing disengagement from identity politics and the hardships of the communities it claims to represent.
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“A sweeping, painstakingly thorough . . . history of hip-hop.” —Baz Dreisinger, The New York Times Book Review
“Extending the historical analysis found in other works on the genre, such as Jeff Chang’s Can’t Stop Won’t Stop: A History of the Hip-Hop Generation
, Reeves underscores the importance of rap as an art form that continues to evolve while remaining a viable means through which to channel future discourse of post–black power America.” —Library Journal
“Pay attention: one of the most compelling writers of our generation has arrived. Somebody Scream!
is a deeply imagined, finely balanced, and richly detailed narrative of our nation’s complicated, contradictory, often explosive post–black power journey.” —Jeff Chang, author of Can’t Stop Won’t Stop: A History of the Hip-Hop Generatio
“A muscular narrative of rap music . . . [Reeves’s] attempt to suss out what exactly rap means in the modern black community is incisive and hopeful without succumbing to the hyperbolic claims common to music journalists.” —Kirkus Reviews