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The Hip Hop Wars: What We Talk About When We Talk About Hip Hop--and Why It Matters

really liked it 4.00  ·  Rating Details  ·  329 Ratings  ·  34 Reviews
Hip-hop is in crisis. For the past dozen years, the most commercially successful hip-hop has become increasingly saturated with caricatures of black gangstas, thugs, pimps, and ’hos. The controversy surrounding hip-hop is worth attending to and examining with a critical eye because, as scholar and cultural critic Tricia Rose argues, hip-hop has become a primary means by wh ...more
Paperback, 320 pages
Published December 2nd 2008 by Basic Civitas Books (first published January 1st 2008)
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Jun 04, 2009 Teresa rated it it was amazing
Shelves: hip-hop
The most important thing i took away from this book is media literacy. I learned to perceive the difference between art and autobiography in rap. Rose also helps you identify the intent behind attacks on hip-hop, how to recognize critism made on behalf of black youth and criticism made solely to pathologize black youth.

I also watched the documentary Hip Hop: Beyond Beats and Rhymes that Rose references. It's really good. The film reveals the way rappers try to emulate the dominant white masculi
Navidad Thelamour
“Hip Hop is not dead, but it is gravely ill. The beauty and life force of hip hop have been squeezed out, wrung nearly dry by the compounding factors of commercialism, distorted racial and sexual fantasy, oppression, and alienation. It has been a sad thing to witness.”

Rose’s survey on the current state of the hip hop industry is a dazzling display of contemporary cultural probing and criticism. The Hip Hop Wars dissects the music industry, particularly the sphere of hip hop music, and puts it
Apr 15, 2016 Robertha rated it did not like it
Shelves: abandoned
If you have enough basic critical theory in you to understand that a rapper, as person, is likely not his/her persona, then you probably already know too much to benefit from Rose's painfully detailed arguments to convince you of that same point. This was my second attempt at reading this, having recently heard it recommended from a trusted source, but no. Any adult with a basic sense of performativity and the falseness inherent to any artistic work should be weary; should you also be a middle-a ...more
Ms. Online
Moya Bailey

Review of The Hip Hop Wars: What We Talk About When We Talk About Hip Hop and Why It Matters
By Tricia Rose
Basic Civitas

And let the Church say, “Amen!” It’s unusual to begin a book review with a black church call and- response staple, but Tricia Rose’s timely mediation in The Hip Hop Wars had me testifying as I read. Her critique of the state of hip hop and her challenge to the contrived conversations that have developed around it are long overdue.

A professor of Africana stu
May 07, 2010 Sheehan rated it really liked it
Tricia Rose does a great job identifying and explicating the various arguments pro-/anti-hip hop, exposing the unspoken tenets of all the arguments. Finally, bringing the whole exposition together for an examination of the commonalities that exist among each side of the fracas, and the latent realities subconsciously at work among these opinions of hip hop.

Rose's work is well-written, a bit academic for the hip hop audience, but really gets into its paces late in the text when the pro-/anti- arg
Feb 08, 2009 Ebony rated it really liked it
Shelves: hip-hop
This is a much needed book and Tricia Rose was absolutely the best person to write it. I think it very appropriate that one of the first academic books on hip hop was written by the same woman who now challenges hip hop’s negative influences in a very accessible and intelligent and fair way. Rose doesn’t blame. She represents the arguments as they stand and then challenges each side to do better for themselves and for their communities. She represents both sides of each debate by historicizing h ...more
Jun 13, 2010 m. rated it liked it
Very basic look at both sides of the issues surrounding hip-hop, those who respect it, and those who find its substance offensive. It was an easy read, but did not hold my interest till the end. I actually did not finish. Decent read if you want to revisit some of the basic issues surrounding hip-hop, and have extra time on your hands. Tricia Rose is a very excellent and opinionated speaker, which is what I expected from this book. I do feel she help back, and stuck with very obvious observation ...more
Haneif Clouden
Haneif Clouden
Period 4/5

My independent reading book –The Hip Hop Wars

My book the Hip Hop Wars is really based on facts.First,the book is basically taking on how the hip hop industry been for the past dozen years. Second,the book The Hip Hop Wars is basically telling the Hip hop causes for violence ,How the Hip Hop industry reflects on African American culture ,in most of all how Hip Hop is destroying African American values today in the industry !.
Last, my view from reading the Hip Hop
Michelle Mccrary
Jul 03, 2011 Michelle Mccrary rated it it was amazing
A must read for lovers of hip hop and of humanity. Even though it is a little heavy on the academic jargon, the overall clarity of the Rose's exceptional critique of the "hip hop wars" remains intact.
Nov 05, 2012 Bianca added it

We cannot attack a problem we don't understand, and I appreciate Rose's effort to provide us with a context - media literacy, self-knowledge, the legacy of hatred and misogyny in this country - so that we can understand why hip hop music has become what is has become and how we can make a choice to consume it or not.

Rose explores the five most often heard attacks and the five most common defenses of the music, unmasking the faulty and damaging logic within both and revealing the complexities at
Craig Werner
Sep 24, 2012 Craig Werner rated it liked it
A cogent if not particularly original summary of the (fairly pathetic) state of public discussion of hip-hop by someone who's been active in the discussion since the publication of her much more academic book, Black Noise. Rose identifies and discusses ten of the assertions about hip hop which recur, sometimes as attacks, sometimes as defenses. She's particularly, and properly, concerned with the predominance of demeaning images of women, but is careful not to fall into the traps of blaming them ...more
Eric Piotrowski
Jan 23, 2011 Eric Piotrowski rated it it was amazing
When he was first ousted as President of Haiti, Jean-Bertrand Aristide gave a talk at the University of Florida, which I was fortunate enough to hear. In response to a question about whether the best economic model were capitalist or communist, he told a story about a girl who had gone swimming in a lake. "Is the water warm or cool?" the girl's mother asked. "It's beautiful," she replied. (His implication that we need to find a third way mirrors King's.)

As with her first book, Tricia Rose produc
Aramat Edray
Dec 11, 2015 Aramat Edray rated it liked it
Read this book for my grad course and absolutely appreciated the insight provided. The author kept it engaging and very real to not only the history and issues that come about in the world of hip hop, but to challenge the reader to critically to think about the lyrics of hip hop music (which is a form of spoken word and art) that is stereotypical perpetuated within the African-American community and the consumers that purchase the music.
Jan 15, 2011 Brandon rated it liked it
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Feb 04, 2012 Latasha rated it really liked it
Tricia Rose begins, The Hip Hop Wars with the sentence, “HIP HOP IS IN A TERRIBLE CRISIS”…

Rose gives a thirteen chapter analysis on “Hip Hop Critics” and “Hip Hop Defenders.” The opening argument explores the criticism that Hip Hop glorifies violence. Tricia uncovers the inferences born in the mid-1990s by N.W.A, who released a “dedication” to the LA Police Department titled, “*uck the Police.” In contrast a Hip Hop heavy hitter states:

“I honestly feel it’s a lot more important things [to worry
Natalie S.
Jun 09, 2012 Natalie S. rated it really liked it
The format of this text is brilliant. Rose claims that hip-hop is in crisis, but also emphasizes that criticisms of hip-hop often rely on racist and sexist logic. Meanwhile, supporters of hip-hop often blindly defend its consistently anti-woman, violent content. So she spends the first half of the book analyzing the top arguments against hip-hop and the second half analyzing the arguments in defense of it in order to encourage listeners to remain critical of the media they consume without writin ...more
Dec 13, 2009 Marie-christelle rated it it was ok
this should be interesting - she explores both sides of the war: those who defend the ills of Hip-Hop and those who are sick of it....

WHY I'M READING THIS BOOK - I'm a big advocate for media and music literacy: learning the language of what we see and what we hear. If society doesn't learn how to filter what we take in - we should expect nothing better than garbage in, garbage out...point, blank. So I'm curious how this book speaks on media/music literacy.

Plus just want to see how the author exp
Stephen Yates
T. Rose hammers down on 'modern' hip hop, weigh political and conscious hip hop positively as a key answer for African Americans. Very good in its outline - a number of key debates occurring mostly outside hip hop circles, the kinds of things that occur on TV when non-hip hoppers talk about the genre. Emphaiszes the sexualization and inauthentic violence which now is a part of hip hop. Also demonizes the commercialization of the genre, which as an argument has some racial overtones. Probably her ...more
Nov 10, 2015 Monika rated it really liked it
Shelves: nonfiction
I knew I liked this book when I initially reviewed it for adoption, but I especially enjoyed going through it more slowly this semester. The arguments Rose offered reflected many of the views in the class, and she challenged us all to be thoughtful in our positions. I hope the author will continue to update this work; my students had many questions that could be addressed in a next edition (twitter and hip hop, religion and the rise of commercial Christian rap artists, the increase of digital on ...more
Dec 28, 2008 Karlyn rated it it was amazing
Shelves: music
Hip Hop Wars breaks down the attacker/defender dichotomy that has become commonplace in arguments about commercial rap. In process, Rose returns structural racism, corporation/business and profit motives, harmful black stereotypes, sexism and white consumers into an explanation of what hip hop has become. Hip Hop Wars is the most insightful and complex analysis of commercial hip hop and the much deeper issues of race, gender and class it addresses that I've read.
Oct 06, 2009 E rated it it was amazing
I recommend this book to any hip hop fan who have ever felt that unease and horror that spreads as your head bops to a hot beat of a song that's also spewing oodles of homophobia and misogyny. Tricia Rose looks into such tensions and presents the top arguments of hip hop critics and hip hop defenders. Her analysis is insightful and inspiring and allows us to move the conversation on hip hop beyond a polarizing conversation.
Oct 05, 2009 Tatiana rated it liked it
Recommended to Tatiana by: bitch magazine
Shelves: non-fiction
An incredibly well-structured look at both the main criticisms and defenses of hip hop by delving into the similarities and complications inherent in both. Blew my mind quite a few times, but also gave me the language to articulate my own internal conflicts about hip hop. Plus she gives a surprising amount of jumping-off-points for solutions and large amount of resources to look into.
Apr 19, 2009 Anna rated it really liked it
AMAZING book! Tricia Rose deftly deconstructs why so much commercial hip hop--and both criticisms *and* defenses of it--are problematic due to racist and sexist assumptions and stereotypes. An enjoyable and well-written contribution to a debate that's still going strong, particularly in the age of entertainment corporations' monopoly.
Mar 27, 2009 Leah rated it really liked it
Shelves: wishlist
This book is a great read for anyone wanting to take a look at the commerciatlization of hip hop and the effect it has had on the poor as well as people of different racial groups and especially the women of these groups. Very informative and the writer takes many different approaches looking at the situation from all angles.
Dec 29, 2009 Jenna added it
Who said the ladies couldn't make it, you must be blind
If you don't believe, well here, listen to this rhyme
Ladies first, there's no time to rehearse
I'm divine and my mind expands throughout the universe
A female rapper with the message to send the
Queen Latifah is a perfect specimen
Chi Chi
Jan 05, 2009 Chi Chi rated it it was amazing
The first book I read in '09, and I doubt I'll read anything better. Rose dissects arguments made against and in defense of hip hop in the last fifteen years, and shows us what both sides are doing wrong, and challenges us all to do better.
Feb 04, 2012 Diana marked it as to-read
Shelves: partially-read
I really want to like this book, and it seems like the kind that I would appreciate. But I never seem to be in the right frame of mind for it. Twice now, I have picked it up, read a few chapters, and put it away. I will give it another chance soon!
Anyone who is concerned with what this election means to America should read this book. This book is about oppression, media, class - all the things that Hip Hop is really about.
Yashi McGowan
Dec 17, 2012 Yashi McGowan rated it it was amazing
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She graduated from Yale University where she received a BA in Sociology and then received her Ph.D. from Brown University in the field of American Studies. She has taught at NYU, University of California at Santa Cruz and is now a Professor of Africana Studies at Brown University.

Professor Rose is most well-known for her ground-breaking book on the emergence of hip hop culture. Black Noise: Rap M
More about Tricia Rose...

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