Lester K. Spence, “Stare in the Darkness: The Limits of Hip-hop and Black Politics” (University of Minnesota Press, 2011)
Hip-hop has, within a short time span, moved from a free-flowing expression of urban youth to a global–and highly marketable–musical genre. Its influence in culture, fashion, film, and music is ubiquitous, and theories about hip-hop’s importance in the political sphere… Read More
Kevin Fellezs, “Birds of a Fire: Jazz, Rock, Funk, and the Creation of Fusion” (Duke UP, 2011)
To introduce his book Birds of Fire: Jazz, Rock, Funk, and the Creation of Fusion (Duke, 2011), Kevin Fellezs quotes Jeff Beck: “For Christ’s sake, I wish somebody would make up a name for this kind of music, ’cause it… Read More
Heather Augustyn, “Ska:  An Oral History” (McFarland, 2010)
“Before reggae there was rock steady, and before that, ska,” writes Cedella Marley in the foreword to Heather Augustyn’s 2010 book Ska: An Oral History (McFarland, 2010). By way of interviews with dozens of ska musicians, Augustyn traces the history… Read More
Kimbrew McLeod and Peter DiCola, “Creative License: The Law and Culture of Digital Sampling” (Duke University Press, 2011)
One hallmark of important art, in any medium, is a thoughtful relation with artistic precursors. Every artist reckons with heroes and rivals, influences and nemeses, and the old work becomes a part of the new. In Adam Bradley’s seminal monograph… Read More
Eric C. Schneider, “Smack: Heroin and the American City” (University of Pennsylvania Press, 2008)
When I arrived at college in the early 1980s, drugs were cool, music was cool, and drug-music was especially cool. The coolest of the cool drug-music bands was The Velvet Underground. They were from the mean streets of New York… Read More
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