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It's Bigger Than Hip Hop: The Rise Of The Hip-hop Generation

by M.K. Asante Jr.
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Product Details

  • Publisher: St. Martin's Griffin
  • Publishing date: 01/09/2009
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-13: 9780312593025
  • ISBN: 0312593023

Synopsis

It's Bigger Than Hip Hop takes a bold look at the rise of a generation that sees beyond the smoke and mirrors of corporate-manufactured rap and is building a movement that will change not only the face of pop culture, but the world.

M. K. Asante, Jr., a passionate young poet, professor, filmmaker, and activist who represents this new movement, uses hip hop as a springboard for a larger discussion about the urgent social and political issues affecting the hip-hop and post-hip-hop generations.

Through insightful anecdotes, scholarship, revolutionary rap lyrics, personal encounters, and conversations with youth across the globe as well as icons such as Chuck D and Maya Angelou, Asante illuminates a shift that can be felt in the crowded spoken-word joints in post-Katrina New Orleans, seen in the rise of youth-led organizations committed to social justice, and heard around the world chanting "It's bigger than hip hop."

M.K. Asante, Jr. is an award-winning poet, filmmaker and creative writing and screenwriting professor at Morgan State University. He is also the author of Like Water Running Off My Back and Beautiful. And Ugly Too. His films include the internationally acclaimed documentary, 500 Years Later and The Black Candle.
In It's Bigger Than Hip Hop, M.K. Asante, Jr. looks at the rise of a generation that sees beyond the smoke and mirrors of corporate-manufactured hip hop and is building a movement that will change not only the face of pop culture, but the world.

Asante, a young firebrand poet, professor, filmmaker, and activist who represents this movement, uses hip hop as a springboard for a larger discussion about the urgent social and political issues affecting the post-hip-hop generation, a new wave of youth searching for an understanding of itself outside the self-destructive, corporate hip-hop monopoly.
 
Through insightful anecdotes, scholarship, personal encounters, and conversations with youth across the globe as well as icons such as Chuck D and Maya Angelou, Asante illuminates a shift that can be felt in the crowded spoken-word joints in post-Katrina New Orleans, seen in the rise of youth-led organizations committed to social justice, and heard around the world chanting "It's bigger than hip hop."

"An empowering book that moves you to action and to question status quo America. Reading It's Bigger Than Hip Hop is motoring through a new generation of America with one of its best storytellers."—Ari Bloomekatz, Los Angeles Times

"M.K. Asante, Jr. combines drive, skill and a commitment that buoys us all. The hip hop community should feel extremely blessed to have those qualities attached to its forward movement."—Chuck D.

"M.K. Asante, Jr. is a rare, remarkable talent that brings to mind the great artists of the Harlem Renaissance."—The Philadelphia Inquirer

"This is the book that many of us have been waiting for. The wisdom and overstanding he exemplifies in this work will astound the reader as he opens a third eye and breaks it all down. Extremely well-researched, well documented and very well written, this book is well paced and will have no difficulty holding the reader's attention."—Hip Hop Weekly

"Nothing can be said about the young M.K. Asante Jr. if not that he is a visionary. The 23-year-old professor, poet and filmmaker believes hip-hop can save us all. The North Philly native argues that hip-hop is a misunderstood weapon of social change in the fight for racial equality, which has been colonized by the corporate media and sold back to Americans as 'Authentic Black Culture.'"—Campbell States, Philadelphia City Paper

"Asante brilliantly places hip hop on a continuum of musical creations originating in the rich experience of black Americans . . . One of the most striking parts of the book comes when Asante shows how media images have powerfully shaped not only the older generation's vision of black youth, but black youth's vision of themselves. In a skillful pun, the author points how the 'reel' images—on television and film, in magazine, and on the radio—have replaced the 'real' even as those who pretend to be real are only performing for the reel."—Markland Walker, The New Agenda

"M.K. Asante, Jr. takes a bold and extremely engaging step, defining a new era for young Black America in the wake of commercial hip hop's demise. With It's Bigger Than Hip Hop, he begins a new, groundbreaking dialogue about what the post-hip-hop generation is fighting against and what direction that group needs to be headed in."—Marcus Reeves, author of Somebody Scream! Rap Music's Rise to Prominence in the Aftershock of Black Power

"Positive young artist tries to show the way forward for oppressed African-Americans. Asante joins the throng of idealistic young academics, black and white, desperate to find messages of hope and change amidst the monotonous bluster and carnage of much hip-hop . . . He rightly bemoans the way in which hip-hop's calls for change have been swallowed by the white-owned consumerist maw. He's also correct in noting the ways in which the modern media-corporate-government Panopticon creates a near-inescapable matrix of oppression, from racist drug laws to for-profit prisons, that keeps black America in the ghetto."—Kirkus Reviews

"As the title suggests, poet Asante looks at hip-hop as not just a type of music but a cultural force. He envisions hip-hop—a phrase probably derived, he notes, from the African Wolof word hipi, to open one's eyes and see, and an Old English word that means to spring into action—being used as a tool for social change. Hip-hop started in the poor, urban African American community of the Bronx, New York, in the activists' and was rooted in social activism. Asante argues that contemporary mainstream hip-hop does not adequately address the issues of the black community and that artists (or 'artivists') who deal with real social issues (e.g., poverty, drugs, police brutality) are censored by the larger corporations that control and own the distribution of music. Asante expertly blends historical information about hip-hop and the civil rights movement with personal narrative, interviews with artists, and quotations from civil rights leaders and classic poetry to create an original and daring work. This well-researched book is recommended for . . . academic libraries."—Jennifer Zarr, Library Journal


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  • A Different Kind of Prison
    From Amazon

    I was hip hop. A `70s baby, my teenage years stretched across hip hop's awakening into proud and empowering lyrical expression. It was a chain link of similarities, connecting the dots of every urban experience, expressing the voice of every ghetto. Like Common, I used to love H.E.R. But then, somewhere in my twenties, she abandoned me. I became nothing more than a groupie, a video accessory and a derogatory term. And my male counterparts became unrecognizable, fake shadows of long forgotten pimps and, "keeping it real," fools. M.K. Asante remarkably captures the incredulous struggle that those like me, the post hip hop generation, face when reconciling past hip hop loyalty with current hip hop disdain. IT'S BIGGER THAN HIP HOP is a classic work, a creative and innovative approach to examining what hip hop was and is, and how its growth and subsequent stagnation affect generations. An example of his entertaining approach is demonstrated in Chapter 3, What's Really Hood?, when M.K. Asante engages in a colorful and testy interview with "the ghetto." Yes, the ghetto finally speaks and he has some truth to spread. As "the ghetto" explains his history dating back from 1611, correlating past "ghettoization" with modern Urban Renewal, he reminds the post hip hop generation of the ignorance in blaming the poor for poverty. In Chapter 10, Two Sets of Notes, M.K. Asante captures the struggle of being taught incomplete truths, being fooled by "selective memory," losing who we are as a people inside of the incessant white lies. His poem reminded me of my public school frustration, when black and brown history was a footnote on the school agenda and I had to join the Youth NAACP and, to my Baptist mother's horror, the Nation of Islam seminars in an attempt to learn about me. M.K. Asante won me over early on, when he articulated how the reel becomes the real. It's an argument you thought you heard before, but never quite applied in this way. But M.K. Asante's logic makes perfect sense, especially if you, like me, often wonder why a suburban black boy tries so hard to be "thug life" or a middle class black child works overtime to prove his "realness." It's a mind- boggling epidemic that I never understood, until now. IT'S BIGGER THAN HIP HOP speaks candidly to the post hip hop generation, challenging us to take a deeper look and a more introspective approach into who and what we really are, reminding us that the struggle is ever present. Reviewed by a. Kai for The RAWSISTAZ Reviewers

  • I Used To Love H.E.R.
    From Amazon

    What do popping collars and bling have to do with a revolution? How are people who know nothing about hip hop defining its culture? It's Bigger Than Hip Hop by M.K. Asante Jr. shows how these things, and more, have everything to do with hip hop's transformation. Asante Jr. goes beyond surface facts like the first rap song to top music charts or defining acronyms (i.e. D.J., M.C., etc.). The author eloquently cannon-balls into the grudge today's youth have with what hip hop stands for because of what it stood for initially. From the perspective of a generation deep in awareness and appreciation of the need hip hop used to fill, readers will learn why hip hop no longer represents them, what they feel is needed for its resurrection, and what was ultimately sacrificed when we became all about the Benjamins. Asante Jr. examines conversations with his college students, rap lyrics, speech sound bytes, etc and hits on political, historical, racial, and economical issues that play vital roles in the unrest and revolution-ready, conscious young adults of today. The author's passion for the topic is what gripped me from the first page. As a self-professed hip hop head, it was challenging to wrap my thoughts around, and accept, how disabled the culture has become. When I began having my own uncomfortable moments with hip hop, I could not quite define why. It's Bigger Than Hip Hop describes in detail the exact reasons I was on the brink of discontent. Moving beyond what this book has clarified for me, the writing is fresh, excerpts were used effectively, and the pictures painted parallel free verse poetry. Readers who enjoy hip hop culture and those who have grown weary of hip hop would really enjoy It's Bigger Than Hip Hop. Reviewed by Darnetta Frazier APOOO BookClub

  • WAKE UP!!!!!!!!!!
    From Amazon

    M.K. Asante Jr. is a gem. His book It's Bigger Than Hip Hop is one of the most in depth investigative books from our own community in quite some time. Asante's writing style is reminiscent of the great James Baldwin. The ancestors are watching and speak through Asante. Hip Hop has become one of the most financially successful music genres of an entire century. Hip Hop reaches all ages, classes, races and countries. However, the image of Hip Hop that has spread in our communities and worldwide has changed over the years from its underground message of unity to consumerism/materialism by any means necessary. We have lost control of our own music yet when considering other black music genres from the past; blues, jazz, R &B we have never `owned' our music. History repeats itself. In retrospect, Ray Charles and Prince, to name a few, understood the need for us to own our lyrics, music, distribution houses, etc... (ex. When Prince wrote slave on his head to get out of a music contract and own his music). Almost 40 years after the Civil Rights Movement and where are we? We integrated yet we never asked once what will happen to us after integration? We never had a plan. If considering that the former African-American segregated communities were small nations how is it that once we gained our `independence' we did not have a well thought out plan? Asante's book addresses some of those issues post-Civil Rights, post hip-hop. Every chapter needs to be read and analyzed in classrooms but specifically read between parent and child. This book needs to get in the hands of every African (Latinos too) in the U.S., the rest of the Diaspora and Africa to fully understand our current state of affairs. Chapter Glimpses: Chapter 2: Keepin' It Real vs. Reel, The Truth about Commercialized Hip Hop artists (Not really hood at all but rather came from the middle class and two parents' home, ex. ODB) But why would ODB or any other artist sell their soul like that? Chapter 3: What's Really Hood? A Conversation with the African-American Ghetto? This will be a classic in literature. A one on one interview with Asante and Hip Hop. Chapter 5: It's Bigger Than Hip Hop: Time Line (1965 -1991) A historical time line that puts politics, hip hop, our history in perspective. Chapter 6: Old White Men (or, Who Owns Hip Hop) Who really owns Hip Hop? Viacom? Bald Head Israeli's? Discusses Mos Def's underground never aired classic "The Rape Over". Chapter 7: Beyond Jena: Free `Em All.Assata Shakur, Political Prisoners, Slave working Prisoners. Chapter 8: FTP, F' the Police. Cameras on our blocks, police brutality. Interview with Dead Prez. Chapter 9: Universal Language: Black and Brown. Common Struggles. Immortal Technique. Chapter 10: Two Sets of Notes: Asante suggests to students to take two sets of notes, theirs and ours. Chapter 12: (State Property) The linguistics of Clothes. State Property Brand Beanie Sigel. Marketing death and eternal imprisonment to black boys/men.French philosopher Focault. The history of the prison. Chapter 13: Conquering the division. Middle class vs. Underclass, Elders vs. Youth. Are we saying the same thing but not getting through to each other? Chapter 14: A Lesson Before Dying: A Phone Interview with Hip Hop. Final Interview with Asante and Hip Hop

  • A must read!!
    From Amazon

    I pre-ordered this book over the summer anticipating a great read, as I am a fan of M.K. Asante, Jr.'s poetry. I already have Like Water Running Off My Back Like Water Running Off My Back: Poems and Beautiful. & Ugly Too Beautiful. And Ugly Too. After reading It's Bigger Than Hop Hop, I am truly blown away by the insight and energy put into this new non-fiction work. I really enjoy the innovative interviews Asante conducts with the "Ghetto" and "Hip-Hop" and the call to action for 'Artivists' by any medium necessary. Unlike anything I've read so far about the corporate controlled hip hop industry, the book explores the break away from that fakeness by a new generation. And there is so much music I need to hear now after reading the myriad of quotations and excerpts included in this book. The photos are great too! A must read!!

  • BRILLIANT
    From Amazon

    The title says it all. This book is a brilliant document of 21st century Black thought and life. I especially dug the combination of scholarship, poetry, creative non-fiction, analysis, conscious rap lyrics and LOVE that the author transfers through the page. All of these elements are needed when dealing with the huge issues he tackles in this book. This is not another dry academic hip hop book or anything like that. This book actually needs it's own category. I most definitely recommend this for all thinking people!

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