Hip Hop Matters

Politics, Pop Culture, and the Struggle for the Soul of A Movement

Watkins, S. Craig

Book - 2005
Average Rating: 4 stars out of 5.
Hip Hop Matters
Random House, Inc.
From its humble beginnings in the Bronx to its transformation into a multibillion-dollar global industry, hip hop has stirred constant and contentious debate. Avoiding the simple caricatures that either celebrate or condemn this powerful movement, S. Craig Watkins produces one of the most thorough accounts of hip hop yet. Hip Hop Matters delves deeply into the phenomenal world that hip hop has created and comes up with a portrait that is as big, brave, and vibrant as the movement itself. Readers see the brilliance and blemishes of hip hop's entrepreneurial elite and also discover a thriving digital underground, hip-hop inspired literature, young political activists, and the movement's own intelligentsia.

Watkins punctuates this meticulously researched book with revealing anecdotes and astute analysis of the corporate takeover of hip hop, the culture's march into America's colleges and universities, and the rampant misogyny threatening hip hop's progressive potential. He also offers revealing portraits of some of hip hop's most intriguing personalities-Sylvia Robinson, Grandmaster Flash, Chuck D, Jay-Z, Hype Williams, and Eminem-and influential brands-FUBU and Def Jam.

Ultimately, we see how the struggle for hip hop reverberates in a world bigger than hip hop: global media, racial and demographic change, the reinvention of the pop music industry, urban politics, the moral and public health of young people, and their relentless desire to be heard and respected.

It is the spectacular convergence of these and other issues that makes hip hop one of the more compelling stories of our time. Which people and what forces are vying to control a movement that has become a lucrative pop culture industry as well as an insurgent voice for the young and the disenfranchised? Watkins's incisive and timely book decisively answers the question and shows why now, more than ever, hip hop matters.

Avoiding the easy definitions and caricatures that tend to celebrate or condemn the “hip hop generation,” Hip Hop Matters focuses on the fierce and far-reaching battles being waged in politics, pop culture, and academe to assert greater control over the movement. At stake, Watkins argues, is the impact hip hop will have in the lives of the young people who live and breathe the culture.

The story unfolds through revealing profiles, looking at such players as Detroit mayor Kwame Kilpatrick, widely recognized as America’s first hip-hop mayor; Chuck D, the self-described “rebel without a pause” who championed the Internet as a way to keep socially relevant rap music alive; and young activists who represent hip hop’s insurgent voice. Watkins also presents incisive analysis of the corporate takeover of hip hop; the culture’s march into America’s colleges and universities; and the rampant misogyny that undermines the movement’s progressive claims.

Ultimately, we see how the struggle for hip hop reverberates with a larger world: global media consolidation and conglomeration; racial and demographic flux; generational cleavages; the reinvention of the pop music industry; and the ongoing struggle to enrich the lives of ordinary youth.

Baker & Taylor
Explores the evolution of hip-hop and the backlash against it, from Detroit Mayer Kwame Killpatrick, the nation's first hip-hop mayor, to the reception of the music on college campuses, where debates over its misogyny thrive.

& Taylor

The author explores the evolution of hip hop and the backlash against it, from Detroit Mayer Kwame Killpatrick, the nation's first hip hop mayor, to the reception of the music on college campuses, where debates over its misogyny thrive.

Publisher: Boston : Beacon Press, c2005
ISBN: 0807009822
Branch Call Number: 784 W
Characteristics: 295 p. ; 23 cm.


From the critics

Community Activity


Add a Comment

There are no comments for this title yet.


Add Age Suitability

There are no ages for this title yet.


Add a Summary

There are no summaries for this title yet.


Add a Notice

There are no notices for this title yet.


Add a Quote

There are no quotes for this title yet.

Find it at NYPL


Other Formats

Buy It Now

Support your library, keep it forever!

View Purchase Options Learn more about this program

Your Cart

Hello! We noticed you have the following items in your cart right now:

If you'd still like to purchase the items you have in your cart, you can do that now.

You'll be able to purchase your eBook after you have checked out your current cart.

Hip Hop Matters
Watkins, S. Craig
Hip Hop Matters

To continue with your eBook purchase immediately, you can clear your cart by clicking below.

All items will be removed from your cart.

I'd like to keep browsing! I'll decide later.

Explore Further

Browse the Shelf

Subject Headings