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Black Noise: Rap Music and Black Culture in Contemporary America (Music & Culture)

4.02  ·  Rating details ·  578 Ratings  ·  27 Reviews
From its beginnings in hip hop culture, the dense rhythms and aggressive lyrics of rap music have made it a provocative fixture on the American cultural landscape. In Black Noise: Rap Music and Black Culture in Contemporary America, Tricia Rose, described by the New York Times as a "hip hop theorist," takes a comprehensive look at the lyrics, music, cultures, themes, and s ...more
Paperback, 257 pages
Published May 15th 1994 by Wesleyan (first published April 29th 1994)
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Feb 11, 2008 rated it really liked it
Recommends it for: geeks
A pioneering work in the scholarly research of hip hop. I still refer to it constantly, as does just about anyone in the field. One of the finest passages, I think, is her discussion of sampling practices - especially those of Public Enemy - as a postmodern composition device that preferences sounds and ideas to musical notes. It might change the mind of anyone who thinks making hip hop music is simple or mundane.
Oct 24, 2012 rated it it was amazing
For some, the world of hip hop may be difficult to navigate through the various images it portrays, dense lyrical work, and bass thumping beats. Very few individuals have the skills to breakdown the components of hip hop and get to the heart of what makes this musical genre a successful and widely embraced culture. Tricia Rose’s Black Noise is an insightful book that provides an array of in-depth research and commentary on wha
sarah louise
Uh-mazing. Everyone should have as nuanced and valued an understanding of rhythm and repetition in rap/hip-hop as Tricia Rose. Any given aesthetic taste aside, the cultural value of the music and the expression of continuity and fluidity/change is utterly fascinating, meaning-making.
Nov 15, 2007 rated it it was amazing
Recommends it for: white teens in the suburbs
A very engaging book. a must read for any hip hop/ cultural studies junkie (which I am)
May 24, 2007 rated it liked it
Recommends it for: Hip-hop admirerers
Anyone who loves hip hop and wants to more abuot the controversial history- this book is a good start.
Benjamin Martin
Jul 03, 2017 rated it really liked it
Shelves: own
A quite selective yet insightful read on rap culture.
Feb 20, 2013 rated it it was amazing
this book was a genuine pleasure. it's a seminal text. i have a disagreeable habit of avoiding these. it was worth it. (it not un-often is. go figure.) she goes through most of all the big issues that people were having in the 1990s: sampling, misogyny, violence, commodification, racism, etc. it's finely written. it's full of all the hopefulness you'd expect opening a new terrain of inquiry, inaugurating critical rap studies and all. sure toop and hebidge were before her, but black studies often ...more
Natalie S.
The best book to read if you want to know more about hip hop's history and biggest challenges. The chapters on hip hop as resistance (Prophets of Rage) and hip hop's history of seizing urban spaces (All Aboard the Night Train) were incredibly revealing. The narrative Rose tells is comprehensive, easily understandable, and oftentimes poetic.

The book was, however, published in 1994 and desperately needs a new volume. Then again, I also haven't been exposed to much analysis of 80s/90s hip hop, and
This is a brilliant book, despite some elements that I disagree with. Rose has clearly been immersed in hip hop for decades, and this 1994 book is often called the best book on hip hop. Despite being very much of its time, its wide acclaim is easy to understand. While specific to black cultural discourses (one wonders what a book like this would look like had it talked more about Latino/a involvement in hip hop), the book's refreshing focus on political economy--supposedly lacking in American Cu ...more
Sophie Zali
Dec 27, 2012 rated it it was ok
"...Black culture in contemporary America", en effet ce livre est très afro-centré !
En même temps, c'est annoncé dès le début, on est pas surpris.
Sans cesse décrire le hip-hop et la musique rap comme des produits inhérents à la culture et aux traditions afro-américaines, c'est réducteur à la fin ! Oui on est d'accord, mais PAS QUE !
Situer cette caractéristique, non sans importance, dans le temps ne serait pas de trop... les temps changent. Le hip-hop aussi.
Par ailleurs, on notera que Rose dép
Theon Hill
Rap music persists as a misunderstood genre in American culture. In this valuable text, Tricia Rose attempts to uncover the shroud of mystery that surrounds the controversial form of expression. Although this book dates back to 1994, Rose's thoughts remain pertinent to contemporary discussions of the role of rap music within American culture. Specifically, I found her thoughts on the historical, sociological, political, and economic contexts from which the rap music emerged to be be particularly ...more
Oct 04, 2012 rated it really liked it
A very academic book about rap culture in the mid 90s. As a rap fanatic this book held interest for me but the language and ideas are complicated and unless you are interested in hip hop culture this is not for you. Essentially this is a college level text about rap but also African American culture in contemporary America.

Each chapter covers separate ideas so it is possible to dip in and see if this is a book you may be interested in reading.
Jul 10, 2013 rated it liked it
Honestly I think that this is a good book in the context of the early to mid 1990s. But because it was published in 1994, I felt like it misses so much. I kept wanting explanations or an examination of hip hop culture in the later 1990s at least. I'd be interested to read a subsequent book about the changes over time that brought us to contemporary rap. This book is about to be 20 years old, I'm sure someone has written about all that by now.
Feb 24, 2009 rated it it was ok
This book would be interesting if it would stop trying so hard to be academic. If I have to read another paragraph which dissects the hip hop music of the streets into neat little post-modern segments and ideas I'm going to have to spork someone. Good god, shut up and dance already.
Just haven't been in the mood for the academic...
May 18, 2014 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: library, 2014
Clear, concise, and still relevant. Rose packs a lot into this seminal work.
May 07, 2008 rated it it was amazing
Changed the way I look at hip-hop outside of the "Stuff White People Like" sub-genre.
Lo-zo Avz
Feb 10, 2014 rated it really liked it
An eye opening contextualization of rap music. READ IT!
Malik Gaither
Dec 17, 2013 rated it it was amazing
i love how it describes the scene of hip-hop and rap culture. it is very in depth and i just love the book.
May 21, 2015 rated it really liked it
4 star.
If you are looking for a early study about Hip Hop culture,then this is your book.
Apr 03, 2016 rated it it was amazing
need to give it a deep read later but this is good stuff.
Natasha Robinson
Jan 08, 2010 rated it liked it
this bok keeps you going about life that we have no idea about and it makes you really wonder what is going on
Apr 29, 2013 rated it it was amazing
Available now on Kindle as well!
Oct 09, 2014 rated it liked it
Good read, but a little too academic for my taste. I did learn a few things on hip hop and the highlights were the evaluation of women in the genre.
rated it it was amazing
Aug 24, 2015
Brian Carnell
rated it it was amazing
Jun 10, 2012
rated it really liked it
Jan 03, 2018
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Jul 21, 2013
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Feb 04, 2015
Matthew Whitehouse
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Jan 25, 2018
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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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