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Hip Hop America
Cover of Hip Hop America
Hip Hop America
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From Nelson George, supervising producer and writer of the hit Netflix series, "The Get Down, Hip Hop America is the definitive account of the society-altering collision between black youth culture and the mass media.
From the Trade Paperback edition.
From Nelson George, supervising producer and writer of the hit Netflix series, "The Get Down, Hip Hop America is the definitive account of the society-altering collision between black youth culture and the mass media.
From the Trade Paperback edition.
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  • From the book

    Table of Contents

    Title Page


    Copyright Page


    chapter 1 - post-soul

    chapter 2 - hip hop wasn't just another date

    chapter 3 - gangsters—real and unreal

    chapter 4 - the "i" of me

    chapter 5 - black owned?

    chapter 8 - the permanent business

    chapter 7 - sample this

    chapter 8 - where my eyes can see

    chapter 9 - new jack swing to ghetto glamour

    chapter 10 - national music

    chapter 11 - the sound of philadelphia—dunking

    chapter 12 - capitalist tool

    chapter 13 - too live

    chapter 14 - skills to pay the bills

    chapter 15 - funk the world

    chapter 16 - "da joint!" and beyond

    chapter 17 - we ain't goin' nowhere: twenty-first-century bling

    sources / further reading







    Nelson George is the author of ten nonfiction books on African-American culture and of four novels. He has received two ASCAP-Deems Taylor Awards, a Grammy, and two American Book Awards from the Before Columbus Foundation for Hip Hop America and Elevating the Game. Hip Hop America and The Death of Rhythm & Blues were also finalists for the National Book Critics Circle Award. He has written for national magazines, including Playboy, Billboard, Esquire, Spin, Essence, and The Village Voice, and has written and produced several television programs as well as two feature films. His new film Everyday People recently premiered on HBO. He was born in Brooklyn, New York, where he still lives.

    for my family

    Published by the Penguin Group
    Penguin Group (USA) Inc., 375 Hudson Street, New York, New York 10014, U.S.A.
    Penguin Group (Canada), 10 Alcorn Avenue, Toronto, Ontario, Canada M4V 3B2
    (a division of Pearson Penguin Canada Inc.)
    Penguin Books Ltd, 80 Strand, London WC2R 0RL, England
    Penguin Ireland, 25 St Stephen's Green, Dublin 2, Ireland (a division of Penguin Books Ltd)
    Penguin Group (Australia), 250 Camberwell Road, Camberwell, Victoria 3124, Australia
    (a division of Pearson Australia Group Pty Ltd)
    Penguin Books India Pvt Ltd, II Community Centre, Panchsheel Park, New Delhi—110 017, India
    Penguin Group (NZ), cnr Airborne and Rosedale Roads, Albany, Auckland 1310, New Zealand
    (a division of Pearson New Zealand Ltd)
    Penguin Books (South Africa) (Pty) Ltd, 24 Sturdee Avenue, Rosebank, Johannesburg 2196,
    South Africa

    Penguin Books Ltd, Registered Offices:
    80 Strand, London WC2R 0RL, England

    First published in the United States of America by Viking Penguin, 1998
    Published in Penguin Books 1999
    This edition published 2005

    Copyright © Nelson George, 1998

    All rights reserved

    George, Nelson.
    Hip hop America / by Nelson George.
    p. cm.
    Includes bibliographic references (p. ) and index

    eISBN : 978-1-101-00730-3

    1. Rap (music)_History and criticism. 2. Hip-hop_United States. 3. Popular culture_United States. 4. Music and society_United States. I. Title.

    ML3531.G46 1998
    782.421649_dc21 98-23414

    The scanning, uploading and distribution of this book via the Internet or via any other means without the permission of the publisher is illegal and punishable by law. Please purchase only authorized electronic editions, and do not participate in or encourage...

About the Author-
  • Nelson George is an award-winning author of both fiction and nonfiction. He has written for Playboy, Billboard, Esquire, the Village Voice, Essence, and many other national magazines, as well as writing and producing television programs and feature films.

  • Publisher's Weekly

    September 28, 1998
    George (The Death of Rhythm and Blues) calls this wide-ranging history of hip-hop a "book of memory" and compares his relationship with the music to a love affair. A portrait not just of the music but of the whole culture coalescing around beats and rhymes, from graffiti to break dancing and basketball, George's narrative sometimes jumps from topic to topic like the fragmentary soundscapes of his subject. Nonetheless, he does follow a loose, anecdotal trajectory from the "post-soul" era of the early 1980s through the Old School to the New School, through gangsta rap to the latest innovators. Often, detours seem to be taken solely because George couldn't bear to drop material, and the writing can seem hasty. One may disagree with certain assessments (he says of trendy vocalist and hip-hop impresario Puff Daddy, "Never in the history of postwar black pop has a single man done so much so well"), but quibbling aside, the author's knowledge and passion run deep. George conveys a continuing excitement and personal investment rather than pretending critical distance, still rethinking his own past positions. Most refreshingly, while an advocate, he is blunt and perceptive in areas where traditional hip-hop advocates can be blindly protective. The book is at its best when George is more commentator than chronicler; one wishes more space had been devoted to exploration of many provocative issues raised in passing: Is democracy good for art? Why no great women rappers? One such thought George offers is that art can be suffocated when "loved too well by the people intended to make uncomfortable"; the best audience for these memories may turn out to be those outsiders rather than hip-hop purists.

  • Library Journal

    July 1, 2004
    If there's anyone qualified to write a solid and entertaining tome on the culture, politics, and business of hip-hop, it's George, who started covering rap in the early 1970s. He not only chronicles the scene's nascent years but also the story of rap as an art form and a cultural and economic force through today. (LJ 9/15/98)

    Copyright 2004 Library Journal, LLC Used with permission.

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