Jeffrey G. Ogbar


On his book Hip-Hop Revolution: The Culture and Politics of Rap

Cover Interview of September 29, 2009

A close-up

I think that my Chapter 4, “Gangstas, Militants, Media, and the Contest for Hip-Hop,” provides some new perspective on the intense debates surrounding the culture, and reflects a good part of what the book is about.

As mentioned, I explore many of the arguments used against hip-hop.  Unlike many of those who write about the debates, I give voice to the rappers who are often some of the most eloquent critics of their peers who are often charged with bastardizing the art.

For example, groups like Jurassic 5, the Roots or Mos Def have established their own standards for “realness” in hip-hop that veer far from commercial rappers like Lil Wayne, 50 Cent or Young Jeezy.  But, the former group happens to offer social commentary as well, speaking out against various forms of oppression, while providing absolutely amazing lyricism and creativity.

Also, this chapter provides a level of demographic analysis not seen on any study of hip-hop.  It refutes pervasive myths promulgated by many public intellectuals and cultural critics on various ends of the political spectrum.