Black Noise by Tricia Rose
Rap Music and Black Culture in Contemporary America (Music Culture)

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From its beginnings in hip hop culture, the dense rhythms and aggressive lyrics of rap music have made it a provocative fixture on the American cultural landscape. In Black Noise: Rap Music and Black Culture in Contemporary America, Tricia Rose, described by the New York Times as a "hip hop theorist," takes a comprehensive look at the lyrics, music, cultures, themes, and styles of this highly rhythmic, rhymed storytelling and grapples with the most salient issues and debates that surround it.

Assistant Professor of Africana Studies and History at New York University, Tricia Rose sorts through rap's multiple voices by exploring its underlying urban cultural politics, particularly the influential New York City rap scene, and discusses rap as a unique musical form in which traditional African-based oral traditions fuse with cutting-edge music technologies. Next she takes up rap's racial politics, its sharp criticisms of the police and the government, and the responses of those institutions. Finally, she explores the complex sexual politics of rap, including questions of misogyny, sexual domination, and female rappers' critiques of men.

But these debates do not overshadow rappers' own words and thoughts. Rose also closely examines the lyrics and videos for songs by artists such as Public Enemy, KRS-One, Salt N' Pepa, MC Lyte, and L. L. Cool J. and draws on candid interviews with Queen Latifah, music producer Eric "Vietnam" Sadler, dancer Crazy Legs, and others to paint the full range of rap's political and aesthetic spectrum. In the end, Rose observes, rap music remains a vibrant force with its own aesthetic, "a noisy and powerful element of contemporary American popular culture which continues to draw a great deal of attention to itself."

About Tricia Rose

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TRICIA ROSE is a professor of Africana Studies at Brown University and author of numerous articles on black culture, rap music, and contemporary popular culture.
Published April 29, 1994 by Wesleyan. 257 pages
Genres: Biographies & Memoirs, Political & Social Sciences, Arts & Photography. Non-fiction

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Rap music often blasts African American rage into mainstream American culture and with its call-and-response choruses and violent, no-holds-barred lyrics, questions societal tradition and authority. T

Apr 04 1994 | Read Full Review of Black Noise: Rap Music and Bl...

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According to Rose, an American studies professor at U.C.–Santa Cruz, this is especially true for black women, who are most often seen only in stereotypical roles (e.g., welfare mothers, voracious sexual playthings).

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Rose addresses sexism, both in the plight of women rappers and in rap lyrics, partially excusing the latter by saying, ``Rap's sexist lyrics are also part of a rampant and viciously normalized sexism that dominates the corporate culture of the music business.'' Supporting her thesis are direct in...

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