Review of Tricia Rose. 2008. The Hip Hop Wars: What We Talk About When We Talk About Hip Hop-And Why It Matters. New York: Basic/Civitas Books

Bothwell, Beau

As hip hop slowly settles into middle age, the pitched battles of its younger years have frozen in a stalemate. Critics of hip hop repeat the same attacks they leveled at NWA, decrying violence, misogyny, and homophobia in hiphop lyrics, and in the most extreme cases branding its creators as Typhoid Marys for a particularly virulent social pathology. Defenders respond with rebuttals codified in the early 1990s, lauding the aesthetic value and social relevance of their favorite corners of the hip-hop world, eliding any problems inherent in the rest, and questioning the true motives of hip hop’s critics. As Tricia Rose tells it, these arguments have remained essentially static, even as hip hop experienced two remarkable-though opposing-developments.


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August 18, 2022