Tuesday, January 22, 2008

Notes on Hip Hop Matters

Hip Hop Matters by S. Craig Watson 2005

The book had some value to the political side of its focus in its use of case studies....The Bay Area story in particular. It also seemed to have some useful commentary on the creation of a hip hop intelligentsia, their views, and how they are viewed by the rest of the movement...This section had a very Gramsci 'n tint to it....organic intellectuals.....

The book also was a good resource if attempting to pinpoint what "hip hop" as an art form means politically and culturally...similar to how groups like the surrealists of France have been analyzed.

The best that this book had to offer however, was its very descriptive narrative of how and why hip hop has gone from being labeled as a fad to an all pervasive cultural experience, Highlight on Jay-Z/Eminem for this segment.....race highly factored.

p2 Author notes "hip hops claim to fame is its claim to authenticity in its undaunted portrayals of ghetto youth.
4 Author noes that it is "market forces, rather then commitment to some essential truth that drives hip hop.
5 Hip Hop has earned a reputation as a cultural movement committed to defying the cultural and political mainstream
5 Hip Hops biggest battle is with itself
5 Never has been a consensus in hip hop as to what hip hop was
6 Discussion of issues moving through hip hop
21 "message rap" has established the expectation for some in the movement that rap should be used as a form of socially conscious dialogue
22 something insurgent about the elaborate pursuit of pleasure
25 Idea of channeling "the anger and bitterness of being outside the mainstream into something constructive"
39 Rap in late 90's defined pop as much as any genre
45 The cultural underground as a source of music innovation
47 Suge Night like Barry Gordie....wanted to package black culture and style it for mainstream consumption
52 Gangsta rap changed mainstream youth culture, which had developed a more contrary tone"
52 Introduction of "gritty urban realism" Idea of realism
53 Hip hop of today is of past...its not actionary any longer but conservative in its ways
Abrahm Tertz idea of socialist realism....I think it would be fair to call Plato an early proponent of realism rather then an early realist...he believed in one supreme way of life, a world held in order by a philosopher king....and thought it was ok to change or make up new stories even about gods which would further his gain...by showing life only as they thought it should be rather then as it was, or had been.
59 Gordon Parks, legendary photojournalist viewed his camera as weapon
Into Move the Crowd
145 Russel Simmons star power as helping to bring attention to the movement
147 Simmons notes taht he packages urban culture for mainstream consumption
148 Creation of Hip Hop Summit action network discussed
149 Hip Hop has made mostly symbolic moves against establishment authority and because of this have not been able to affect the institutions which impact young peoples lives.
149 Intense clash between politicaly driven and profit driven
149 Today there are kids who have not known a world without hip hop (nurture vs newness, what differences are found in viewpoint's on the movement between those who helped create the movement due to their particular place in space/time, and those who have grown up, being nurtured by hip hop, due to their particular place, is hip hops cultural meaning the same? Does the image of anti-establishment still mean anything to people who have grown up knowing it as establishment?)
150 Idea that because hip hop has such a close connection to blacks and latino youth that social politics will be closely associated
150 Idea of Hip Hop ever gaining a national political platform will be difficult because of the complexity and the movements ever changing constituency
151 Idea that Hip Hop has a build up "political energy" which must be harnesed
154 Author contends that Russel Simmons Hip Hop political group is simply borrowing from the civil rights movement for its ideas on how to act
155 use of slogans with very little "meaning" discussed
157 Simmens notes that it is a celebertys duty to make "showing up at rallies cool"
159 Politcal discourse in hip hop remains mesmorized by the legacy of civil rights
162 Author notes what his agenda for hip hop is
---->Into Young voices in the hood
164 "In the Bay Area" (author notes bay area is one of the liveliest political scenes in hip hop)
164 Author contends that the intersection of Hip Hop and politics has "empowered a generation of youth to believe they not only have the right but the obligation to make a difference in the world
167 California Governor Wilson "relied on nostalgia, the symbolic power of language, and what amounted to carefully coded race speak"
174 For many of hip hops youth the rise of the prison industrial complex was "all to real"
***180 what distinguished Hip Hop generation's struggle with social and economic injustice from that of civil rights era was that it was generational rather then all racial
180 Organizers of anti-jail movement understood hip hop resonance with the culture of the youth
185 Author contends ability to change local politics but not to be showed the limitation of protest politics
186 Thrust of this chapter is that those in hip hop must begin to expand into institutions of power if they actually want to possess power rather then simply its Aura
192 Author notes widening gap between hip hop generation and civil rights generation
210 Assertion noted by author that some feel move toward sexually explicit imagery is a move toward authentically representing the ghetto inspired origins
211 Hype Williams notes films ability to tell story visually
218 Hypes hip hop world was a "monument to hyper capitalism and consumerism"
220 Few empowering images of young black girls in hip hop
233 Hip Hop archive discussed
235 Hip Hop Fiction "The coldest winter ever"
239 Author notes that these new urban or hip hop influenced writers is part of a larger tradition in hip hop of creation of a street based intelligentsia that has drawn most of its cred from its connections with the ghetto...they did not only speak for, but were the disposed...ie KRS-one...this is a very very good representation of what Gramsci was talking about when he spoke of an "organic intellectual"
240 era of message rap...KRS-one, Chuck D, Sister Souljah...discuss notes that they began to cover major political issues of the period
240 Author notes these artists understand potential of hip hop in a different way than the commercial hip hop forces...they recognized that hip hop gave their communities a voice in the popular media
241 edutainment discussed
241 Temple of hip hop discussed
243 KRS-one philosophy was "hip hop is a way of life to be cultivated and not a lifestyle brand to be consumed"
246 Key sectors of hip hop have not embraced hip hop intellectuals due to their perceived disconnect from the movement.

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