At once the most lucrative, popular, and culturally oppositional musical force in the United States, hip-hop demands the kind of interpretation Imani Perry provides here: criticism engaged with this vibrant musical form on its own terms. A scholar and a fan, Perry considers the art, politics, and culture of hip-hop through an analysis of song lyrics, the words of the prophets of the hood. Recognizing prevailing characterizations of hip-hop as a transnational musical form, Perry advances a powerful argument that hip-hop is first and foremost black American music.
Perry offers detailed readings of the lyrics of many hip-hop artists, including Ice Cube, Public Enemy, De La Soul, krs-One, OutKast, Sean "Puffy" Combs, Tupac Shakur, Lil' Kim, Biggie Smalls, Nas, Method Man, and Lauryn Hill. Perry shows that while its message may be disconcerting, rap often expresses brilliant insights about existence in a society mired in difficult racial and gender politics. Hip-hop provides a unique public space where the sacred and the profane impulses within African American culture unite. The audiobook contains language that some may find offensive.
The book is published by Duke University Press.
"Imani Perry's Prophets of the Hood is an extraordinary and brilliant book.... With lucid explanations, crisp writing, and sharp analysis, Perry has managed to actually say some very important things in a strikingly fresh manner...a stunning, magnificent work of art." (Michael Eric Dyson, named by Ebony as one of the 100 most influential black Americans, is the author of 16 books and is currently university professor of sociology at Georgetown University.
"Imani Perry has written the most subtle and nuanced treatment of hip hop that I know." (Cornel West, Princeton University)
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