Hip Hop America

Hip Hop America

3.75 (498 ratings by Goodreads)
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This is an account of the history of hip hop music, from its roots in the late 1970s to its emergence as the cultural force it is today, influencing everything from films to advertising, fashion to sports. Nelson examines why it has held a steady grip on American popular culture for over 20 years.show more

Product details

  • Paperback | 240 pages
  • 129.5 x 204.7 x 12.4mm | 174.18g
  • Penguin Books Ltd
  • London, United Kingdom
  • 0140280227
  • 9780140280227

Review Text

An informative, though often frustrating, survey of the history of one of today's most popular musical forms. Veteran journalist George (Blackface, 1994, etc.) expands this view of hip-hop far beyond artists and discs; he looks also at such related phenomena as graffiti, cinema, and commercial culture. The author eyes the business behind music, especially the shift from traditionally white management of record companies to increasing black leadership. An irony: the occasional anti-Semitism found in hip-hop music. Using the ouster of Public Enemy's Professor Griff for anti-Jewish statements as an example, George points out that despite Griff's views, Public Enemy had a large Jewish backing that stayed put behind the band in the face of fallout from the Jewish establishment. George's examination of racism in regard to both the Public Enemy case and also the outcry over Luther Campbell's obscenity trials in Florida is right on the money. Unfortunately, he relies too heavily on the first person in his writing - it's invasive. One can't help but wonder if George's ego is also his Achilles heel. Equally troubling is his general acceptance of the Nation of Islam as a positive force; he even labels NAACP head Benjamin Chavis's defection to Farrakhan as "progressive." Some of his omissions are curious, such as his failure to mention Keith Haring in his discussion of graffiti (even though Haring went on to illustrate an album cover for De La Soul) and his decision not to cite Arrested Development's near-masterpiece video for "Tennessee." There's much history here that makes for good reading. Too bad George couldn't keep a better professional distance and include an even wider view of the subject at hand. (Kirkus Reviews)show more

Rating details

498 ratings
3.75 out of 5 stars
5 20% (99)
4 43% (213)
3 32% (157)
2 5% (24)
1 1% (5)
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