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The Hip Hop Wars: What We Talk About When We Talk About Hip Hop--and Why It Matters Paperback – December 2, 2008

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Editorial Reviews

About the Author

Tricia Rose is a professor of Africana Studies at Brown University. She specializes in twentieth- and twenty-first-century African-American culture and politics, social thought, popular culture, and gender issues. The author of the seminal Black Noise, she lives in Providence, Rhode Island.

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Product Details

  • Paperback: 320 pages
  • Publisher: Basic Civitas Books; 11.2.2008 edition (December 2, 2008)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0465008976
  • ISBN-13: 978-0465008971
  • Product Dimensions: 6.1 x 0.7 x 9.2 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.3 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 3.9 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (13 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #7,121 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

16 of 19 people found the following review helpful By Kalyana on December 9, 2008
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
There are very few people I know who look at hip hop not just with a critical eye, but with such a far reaching all encompassing perspective. Tricia Rose will flip how you have ever viewed (and listened to) hip hop, leaving you wondering how you could have missed it all along, while at the same time wondering what you can do about it: as a reader and/or an artist. As a brilliant author and professor, allow her to teach you about hip hop...4 real. Its nice to have such an astounding critically thinking woman in the game!
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53 of 71 people found the following review helpful By Drew on December 14, 2008
Format: Paperback
Black Noise was a very interesting, poignant analysis of the development of hip hop. Tricia Rose provided insight on the social, political, technological, and economic factors that contributed to the creation of hip hop. It appears, however, that Rose is no longer a hip hop expert. If anything, she is only an expert on the early days of hip hop (up to the 90s) but her ignorance to recent hip hop developments is painfully obvious in this book.

I don't believe that she has listened to hip hop seriously in 10 years nor do I believe she understands the sentiment of young (16-28 year old) hip hop fans and followers. The people who buy 50 cent, TI, Lil Wayne or Jay-Z cds and understand their music as "autobiographical" are the same people following Us weekly's coverage of Britney Spear's mental breakdown with schadenfreude-istic pleasure, or buying Mylie Cyrus cds and fighting to the death to attend her concerts, naive consumers whose reductive understanding of culture feeds their need for sensational media. The parents of these idiotic consumers are the only ones who are causing all this political concern (them, and the bougie blacks like Bill Cosby who are overly concerned with what whites think of us).

Most rappers are aware and vocal of the fact that they are producing a persona, a character. Jay-Z, TI, Lil Wayne and even Cam'Ron have all explicitly said in one interview or on their albums / mixtapes that they draw a distinction between who they are as people, and the character that they are crafting in their music for entertainment purposes (interviews Rose does not cite). Why does Jay-Z get shot at the end of his 99 problems video? It was supposed to represent the death of Jay-Z the character and rebirth of Sean Carter the person (didn't last long...but that was the point).
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13 of 17 people found the following review helpful By Witness on April 26, 2009
Format: Paperback
Having recently discussed _The Hip Hop Wars_ with numerous students and people, it has become increasingly clear to me how necessary Rose's arguments are to the hyperbolic and contentious context currently shaping the national conversation on hip hop. The book's most significant contribution is to demonstrate that hip hop is so heavily coded with implied and symbolic meanings; and that we can no longer afford to think of hip hop simply as "innocent music and artistry." Nor is it enough that there are numerous underground artists doing something different than what mainstream hip hop promotes.

If the history of this country wasn't so fraught with old and new forms of racism, perhaps that approach to hip hop would be possible. Instead, we have a context in which hip hop is constantly made to stand in as a representation of all black people and to stand in for various forms of "deviance." Rose demonstrates how representations circulated by mainstream hip hop allow people to excuse themselves from dealing with their own complicity in racism, sexism, homophobia and systemic inequality. By taking both hip hop's critics and defenders to task, Rose insists that there are very real consequences to leaving these matters unaddressed.

Stepping into a club and seeing the ways so many men and women, boys and girls of all races mimic what they see in mainstream hip hop representations tells us that the 'hip hop trinity' is schooling youth to interact in ways that often reinforce sexism/racism/homophobia while leaving the larger forces that drive systemic inequality invisible.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By Phuong on July 12, 2013
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Tricia Rose is a great writer and analyst. She touches on every little issues that you can think of. She provides a full analysis of hip-hop and the importance of hip-hop with activism, patriarchy, misogyny, and more. If you are interested in knowing more about hip hop through such an awesome writer's point of view, this is the book for you.
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2 of 3 people found the following review helpful By John B. Simms on July 21, 2011
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Dr. Rose's book is a testament to the power of intelligent, nuanced examinations of our complex world. She looks at 10 arguments about Hip Hop (5 in support and 5 against), peers back at the historical basis of these points, and washes off all the fluff. This results in a book whose complexity extends as deep as you are willing to go. Some of my 13-year-olds understand the surface arguments separate from one another. Others understand how the two function simultaneously. The majority of my students comprehend that each argument usually results in a superficial understanding of a complex issue- issues requiring a great deal of reflection on one's own perceptions and how those perceptions are influenced by the communities in which we live. It's a heavy lift for kids this age. Someone who knows their community in and out and yet is willing to admit the fact they still don't know enough to really "KNOW" that community is going to love working with the Hip Hop generation on this book. Good luck to Dr. Rose and all who engage this very worthwhile book.Pedagogy of the OppressedPedagogy of Freedom: Ethics, Democracy, and Civic Courage (Critical Perspectives)Literacy: Reading the Word and the World
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