Black Noise: Rap Music and Black Culture in Contemporary America is a great read about hip-hop culture.
It is written by Tricia Rose, who is a Professor and Chair of the Department of Africana Studies at Brown University.
In fact, any of the people who tried to argue with me that Rap Isn’t Music, should read this book. I guarantee that if they do, they will eat their words.
One important thing to note is that rap music didn’t originally begin as a recorded music genre. Instead, it was a part of a community event and was deeply embeded in hip-hop culture. Rap music was not a fad or a quick way to make money. Rose explicitly states that the music cannot be understood outside of the culture of hip-hop and I completely agree.
This book was refreshing to read. It’s an intelligent exploration of rap music and hip-hop culture and I’m glad to add it to my Recommended Reads.
Here is a review of the book that appears on her website.
Rose thoroughly analyzes several facets of the musical genre and provides an effective antidote to the severely flawed hip-hop coverage in mainstream media. She accurately traces rap’s sonic history (proving thereby that music does not require conventional melody or harmony) and gives substantial information about the innovative rhythmic manipulations made possible by the techniques of sampling. She also makes clear the connections between rap’s beginnings and the political turmoils that afflicted black and Latino urban neighborhoods throughout the 1970s and 1980s. In discussing what is probably rap’s most controversial aspect–lyrics supposedly advocating “cop killing”–Rose vividly delineates the social conditions that bring about such fierce responses to real-life police brutality. Finally, she examines the often neglected role of women in rap in rewarding depth. Fans, scholars, and detractors alike stand to learn a great deal by studying Rose’s commendable treatise. (Aaron Cohen, Booklist)