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Prophets of the Hood


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Table of Contents

Introduction 1
1. Hip Hop's Mama: Originalism and Identity in the Music 9
2. My Mic Sound Nice: Art, Community, and Consciousness 38
3. Stinging Like Tabasco: Structure and Format in Hip Hop Compositions 58
4. The Glorious Outlaw: Hip Hop Narratives, American Law, and the Court of Public Opinion 102
5. B-Boys, Players, and Preachers: Reading Masculinity 117
6. The Venus Hip Hop and the Pink Ghetto: Negotiating Spaces for Women 155
7. Bling Bling...and Going Pop: Consumerism and Co-optation in Hip Hop 191
Notes 205
Index 223

Promotional Information

Focuses on the socially relevant aspects of Hip Hop music: its treatment of the identity of the black subject in a white society, new definitions of blackness and its commercialization.

About the Author

Imani Perry is a Professor in the Center for African American Studies at Princeton University.


"Perry's a law professor at Rutgers, but she's also a hip-hop head, so she gets the music right." Paste Magazine "Compelling... Clearly interest in Hip-Hop Studies is only growing and Imani Perry's Prophets of the Hood is yet another example of how far the field has come as a legitimate site of scholarly production." Online at AOL Black Voices "an intertextual discussion, transcending the usual knee-jerk reactions, of how hip-hop's women have gone from MC Lyte to today's lifeless--and often light mulatta--capitalist commodities par excellence." L.A. Weekly "Imani Perry has written the most subtle and nuanced treatment of hip hop that I know. Her complex view of hip hop as black democratic space subject to prophetic utterance and mainstream cooptation is powerful. Her call for the local engagement and global vision of the underground to revitalize hip hop is compelling. Her seminal work should silence all naive or ignorant trashers of this vital cultural form!" Cornel West, Princeton University "Imani Perry's Prophets of the Hood is an extraordinary and brilliant book. Eschewing a rigid division between the 'positive' and 'negative' in hip-hop, she takes the discussion of rap to new depths and greater heights with a probing analysis of the poetic and political dimensions of the art form. With lucid explanations, crisp writing and sharp analysis, Perry has managed to actually say some very important things in a strikingly fresh manner. With the story-telling skills of Nas, the passion of 2Pac, the lyrical dexterity of Lauryn Hill, the verbal mastery of Talib Kweli and the conceptual acuity of KRS-One, Perry has produced a stunning, magnificent work of art." Michael Eric Dyson, author of Holler if You Hear Me: Searching for Tupac Shakur.

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