The Mark of Criminality
Rhetoric, Race, and Gangsta Rap in the War-on-Crime Era
University of Alabama Press 2017
New Books in African American StudiesNew Books in American StudiesNew Books in Arts & LettersNew Books in CommunicationsNew Books in Critical TheoryNew Books in MusicNew Books in Peoples & PlacesNew Books in Politics & SocietyNew Books Network June 12, 2019 Lee Pierce
On this episode, Dr. Lee Pierce (she/they)–Asst. Prof. of Communication at SUNY Geneseo–interviews Bryan McCann (he/his)–Associate Professor of Communication at Louisiana State University–on a dope new work of cultural criticism The Mark of Criminality: Rhetoric, Race, and Gangsta Rap in the War-on-Crime Era (University of Alabama Press, 2017). The Mark of Criminality positions the work of key gangsta rap artists–Dr. Dre, Snoop Dogg, and Tupac Shakur–as well as the controversies their work produced, squarely within the law-and-order politics and popular culture of the 1980s and 1990s to reveal a profoundly complex period in American history when the meanings of crime and criminality were incredibly unstable. McCann argues that, among other well-circulated meanings, the mark of criminality was a source of power, credibility, and revenue. By understanding gangsta rap as a potent, if deeply imperfect, enactment of the mark of criminality, we can better understand how crime is always a site of struggle over meaning.