Race and Class: Hip-Hop

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Two MCs and one DJ [Experience Music Project]

Hip-hop is a major American cultural tour de force. It’s music, but it’s not just music. It’s a culture, an ethos, and a generation. And wrapped up in hip-hop are clues about race, class, the market, the rise in the rate of incarceration of black men over the last twenty years, globalization, and a number of other heady issues not immediately suggested by your local Top 40 radio station.

As part of our continuing series on race and class in America we’re going to try and tackle hip-hop. In the first of two shows, we’ll try and understand hip-hop’s impact and influence in America, as well as try and decode it a little. Is it, as cultural critic Stanley Crouch calls it, “the new black minstrelsy,” or, “Birth of a Nation with a back beat”? Or is it, as cultural critic Patricia Rose calls it, the “affirmation of collective self in the face of a society that despised the black and brown poor”? We’re working on a list of other questions here. Please add your own, and suggestions for guests.

Jeff Chang

Author of Can’t Stop, Won’t Stop: A History of the Hip-Hop Generation

Blogger, Can’t Stop Won’t Stop

Founding Editor, ColorLines Magazine

Founder of hip-hop indie label Quantum Projects

(Thanks to jbracken)

Bakari Kitwana

Author of The Hip-Hop Generation and Why White Kids Like Hip-Hop

Former Executive editor of The Source

(Thanks to RichardNash)

Boots Riley

Frontman for hip-hop group The Coup

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