This book offers a non-academic analysis of hip hop and why white kids love all aspects of hip hop culture. The book also uses hip hop as a lens to examine race relations in the US.
This is not a dry, academic read, and it is well-researched without listing the litany of facts. The book is written for a lay audience. Parents might find this useful to get a "handle" on their kids' fascination w/ hip hop culture. The audience for this book is a wide lay audience. It's an engaging read and most will read it quickly.
The author's section on Wiggas/Wanstas was the most compelling to me. The author did a great job of exploring how people (whites) might feel powerless in their own lives based on issues of class or just being angry about their situation and how hip hop music might speak to them, might take them to a different place.
I appreciated the tone and the writing style. This a book worth reading.
This book had a lot of potential, but ended up being very disappointing. There was an interesting look at the data on radio listeners and who the primary audience of hip hop music actually is, as well as a somewhat interesting look at the role of Eminem as a white rapper. But overall, the book seemed to just meander through a series of unconnected and insignificant discussions, including interviews with random individuals who have no position or influence in the music industry or any other industry and in-depth explorations of certain movies that the author happens to think are important for reasons that really aren't apparent (especially as most people have never even heard of some of them). The author also uses several undefined terms (like "old racial politics" and "new racial politics," as well as many others) and makes a number of unsupported assertions throughout the book (far too many to catalog here), demonstrating a real lack of intellectual rigor.
Perhaps most importantly, the author is so immersed in hip-hop culture, from esoteric conferences to limited-circulation topical literature, that he seems pretty disconnected from larger reality. He doesn't seem to have an accurate picture of the demography of America, and vastly overestimates the influence of hip hop in American culture and politics. As a result, he spends pages analyzing "hip hop voters," which is a voting bloc of questionable existence in the first place, and talks a lot about particular election organizing efforts that don't seem to have had any impact on elections -- or anything else, for that matter. Towards the end of the book, he makes a very dramatic and overwrought statement that epitomizes these shortcomings: "Hip-hop is the last hope for this generation and arguably the last hope for America." Hip hop is certainly a pat of American culture, and its dimensions and implications are worth exploring, but these kinds of statements are just not credible or helpful in any way. I'm really not sure what world the author is living in, but it doesn't seem to be the one the rest of us are living in.
I grew up in the late 70's and early 80's, when hip - hop culture was largely appreciated and also dominated by African and Carribean Americans and Hispanics. At that time, I recall most white kids I did come across were into rock and/or heavy metal, and really didn't give hip-hop a second thought. But, there were a few, and I do mean a serious I can count on one hand few, that did listen to it, and actually loved it. In that time a few (again, a very serious few) would even fully embrace the culture. When Hip-hop became more commercially available through mainstream media, that's when I began to notice more and more white kids getting into rap. I recommend this book to anyone that has an interest in, or study society and pop culture. It give should help to shed some light on this subject.
This book starts out strong but fades away quickly.The author just makes assumptions on reasons why white kids love hip hop.More interviews and a deeper insight would have been nice.The author talked about movies like bulworth but failed to mention whiteboyz one of the best insights on white kids and hip hop but in a funny way.Don't waste your time and money.