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The Real Hiphop: Battling for Knowledge, Power, and Respect in the LA Underground Paperback – April 13, 2009

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Product Details

  • Paperback: 224 pages
  • Publisher: Duke University Press Books (April 13, 2009)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0822343851
  • ISBN-13: 978-0822343851
  • Product Dimensions: 8.9 x 6.1 x 0.7 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 12 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 3.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (1 customer review)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #787,969 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews


“Executive director of The HipHop Archive and one of the leading scholars of hip-hop culture, Morgan has written a thorough, inspiring ethnographic study that looks at West Coast hip-hop culture through the lens of the underground venue known as Project Blowed. . . . The book’s strengths are the numerous fascinating primary sources, especially the excerpts of rhymes recited during battles at Project Blowed and its introductory chapter, in which Morgan offers the best concise scholarly history to date of hip-hop. Essential.” - A.-P. Durand, Choice

“Youth across the globe have been marginalized, abused, neglected, and incarcerated, but Marcyliena Morgan gives hope to current and future generations by providing background on the start of hip-hop and revealing its multifaceted layers. . . . The Real Hiphop is a testament to the versatile creativity of underground artists who use words to make change.” - Nicolette Westfall, Feminist Review blog

The Real Hiphop is a book written with the eyes of an ethnographer, the ears of a true hip hop head, and the love of a scholar whose commitment to her subject runs broad and deep. By chronicling the history of an unfairly neglected underground music scene and by championing the potentially transformative influence of a popular music genre more broadly upon the academy, it offers a significant contribution to popular music studies.” - Adam Bradley, Journal of Popular Music Studies

“Given the book’s layered treatment of underground hiphop and its practitioners, The Real Hiphop is a strong ethnographic and analytical treatment that is well positioned to be of use to students and scholars across
a number of disciplines.” - Raymond Codrington, American Ethnologist

“Morgan’s musings on power, language, and mistrust feel no less pertinent now than they must have a dozen years ago in Leimart Park.” - Nate Chinen, Pennsylvania Gazette

“Marcyliena Morgan’s high-level analysis and incisive explication of how underground hiphop works centers on two brilliant, ethnographic chapters on Project Blowed, one focusing on a Thursday-night MC battle (chapter three) and one on young women’s negotioations of race and feminism in the social world of underground hiphop and in relation to the sexualization of women in commercial hiphop (chapter four).” - Michael Nevin Willard, Southern California Quarterly

The Real Hiphop is a powerful argument for hiphop’s continuing salience and centrality to any serious discussion about the state of contemporary Black life. Marcyliena Morgan unearths the socio-cultural particularities of hiphop as a dynamic musical genre and a complex way of life, and she links her analysis to the ethnographic particulars of Los Angeles, which crackles to life from the opening vignette.”—John L. Jackson Jr., author of Harlemworld: Doing Race and Class in Contemporary Black America

“In The Real Hiphop, Marcyliena Morgan has written a brilliant account of the origins of hiphop and the process through which it is created and evolves, from its most elemental and raw forms into the highly processed and polished versions that have become the lingua franca of popular American culture over the past few decades. Using her considerable skills as an linguistic anthropologist, Morgan—the founder of the world’s only hiphop archive—raises the analysis of hiphop to an entirely new level of scholarship, explicating it as a linguistic, sociological, and political phenomenon. This book is full of astonishing insights and subtle analysis. It is a must read for any student or scholar seeking to understand what is arguably the most important popular cultural phenomenon in the past thirty years.”—Henry Louis Gates Jr., Alphonse Fletcher University Professor, Harvard University

About the Author

Marcyliena Morgan, Professor of African and African American Studies at Harvard University, is the founder and executive director of the Hiphop Archive and the author of Language, Discourse, and Power in African American Culture.

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By Tanya Jackson on April 7, 2014
Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
I had to read this for a class (anthropology) but I find the material relevant to life. It shows readers the world of hip hop that's different from the negative mainstream perspective.
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