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Hip Hop Matters: Politics, Pop Culture, and the Struggle for the Soul of a Movement

3.63  ·  Rating Details  ·  147 Ratings  ·  12 Reviews
Avoiding the easy definitions and caricatures that tend to celebrate or condemn the "hip hop generation," Hip Hop Matters focuses on fierce and far-reaching battles being waged in politics, pop culture, and academe to assert control over the movement. At stake, Watkins argues, is the impact hip hop has on the lives of the young people who live and breathe the culture. He p ...more
Paperback, 304 pages
Published August 1st 2006 by Beacon Press (first published 2005)
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Feb 20, 2008 B-MO rated it liked it
Recommended to B-MO by: Flint Public Library
My NOTES on this book are available at: my notes.

The book had some value to the political side of its focus in its use of case studies....The Bay Area story in particular. It also seemed to have some useful commentary on the creation of a hip hop intelligentsia, their views, and how they are viewed by the rest of the movement...This section had a very Gramsci 'n tint to intellectuals.....

The book also was a good resource if attempting to pinpoint what "hip hop" as an art
Jan 21, 2008 kevin rated it really liked it
Recommends it for: hip-hop nerds, teachers
Shelves: non-fiction, hip-hop
Watkins explores several rich topics in recent hip-hop history to make an argument for its importance to contemporary culture. He focuses especially on issues of race, gender, and political action. His energy and enthusiasm is evident in every line. Readers familiar with hip-hop will appreciate this love but skeptics might be turned off by some overly "fan-ish" passages.

People still hungry after reading Chang's essential "Can't Stop, Won't Stop" will find "Hip Hop Matters" an excellent follow-up
Jun 14, 2007 Sonia rated it really liked it
One of my Sociology professors from UT wrote this amazing piece on maintaining the authenticity of Hip Hop in a very commercialized music industry. His diverse background in both sociology and radio, TV and Film brings a unique insight in placing the evolution of Hip Hop music in a social/political context. He doesn't go so much in the history of hip hop music, but focuses his discussion on the mainstreaming of Hip Hop today.

It's nonfiction, written by an academic, but i found it to be a very en
Ryan Mishap
Apr 14, 2008 Ryan Mishap rated it liked it
Takes on the rise of hip-hop as a global force: how it came to happen, who controls the money, and the effects—good or bad. When Soundscan began tracking point-of-purchase sales, record companies were shocked to discover that country and rap were leading sales. The big companies backed rap stars, socially conscious hip-hop faded, even as it hip-hop spread around the world. Watkins also discusses sexism in rap and rappers entering the porn business. Also, how black people, in general, are portray ...more
May 16, 2009 m. rated it really liked it
Rather than give an intense historical recap of the hip-hop movement over the past 30 years, Watkins chooses a few important moments, and discusses their significance on the movement. For a reader who is looking to have a general understanding of hip-hop history, and the moments that changed its course. My only issues were the discussion on hip-hop as a agent of political change, as he presented no solid evidence, and the brevity of the chapter in regards to women in relation to hip-hop culture.
Rushay Booysen
Jun 01, 2012 Rushay Booysen rated it liked it
Does hip hop still matter! This book explores the early rise and influence of hip hop.It paves a timeline that seeks to point the influence of one of the most influential youth movements.Was a interesting read and refresher in making me aware of where this movement once was.
Feb 06, 2009 Krista rated it really liked it
Shelves: read-2009
I really enjoyed this book. I've read a fair number of hip hop memorials or history of hip hop in the US, but I've never actually seen it framed in this way. Really interested, both for historical content and the analysis of where hip hop is now.
Jan 03, 2015 Skyler rated it really liked it
One of the first books I've read that touches specifically on my area of study, though being published in 2005, it's quite dated. Despite this, Watkins argument that hip hop matters is passionately on display in every piece of this book.
Nov 01, 2007 Jalylah rated it it was ok
This was recommended to be by Deb Willis for my thesis. I just skimmed it and picked out some quotes to add to my thesis for her benefit. I don't recall too many aha moments in my brisk flip through. Hip hop books don't much do it for me.
Sep 10, 2012 Natasha rated it it was ok
Poorly written and dry. My eyes would pop open whenever I'd stumble upon some information of which I was previously unaware - this book's only saving grace.
Jan 05, 2014 Jennifer rated it really liked it
It is easy to read and interesting.
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