How do young men use drill music and social media to gain power? In his new book, Ballad of the Bullet: Gangs, Drill Music, and the Power of Online Infamy
(Princeton University Press, 2020), Forrest Stuart
uses ethnographic and interview methods to explore the lived experiences of young men on Chicago’s south side. Stuart peels back the layers on what is commonly referred to as the digital divide, or the idea that there is unequal access to and use of technology, to instead find what he refers to as digital disadvantage (read the book to find out more!). The book tackles issues including who the audience really is for drill music and the social media output produced by these young men, and how they are sometimes exploited in the process. Exploration of authenticity, micro-celebrity, and self-branding contribute to larger understandings of race, stratification, and power in America.
Sarah E. Patterson is a Postdoctoral Fellow at the University of Michigan.