Eric Piotrowski's Reviews > The Hip Hop Wars: What We Talk About When We Talk About Hip Hop--and Why It Matters

The Hip Hop Wars by Tricia Rose
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it was amazing
bookshelves: hip-hop, politics, nonfiction

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 produces the exact book we need about hip-hop, exactly when we need it. By deconstructing the polarized positions of the hip-hop wars (especially the "holy trinity of commercial hip-hop", as she calls it -- the hustler, pimp and ho), Rose leads us to a third path and demonstrates -- with a critical, transformational love for hip-hop -- why we must walk it.

This is no rigid screed, but neither is it a milquetoast plea for moderation. THHW insists on enlightened approaches to the crucial issues facing this art form which means so much to us. Half of the time I found myself nodding enthusiastically in agreement, thinking (and once exclaiming aloud): "Yes, exactly! That's what I've been saying!" And the other half I was shaking my head with something close to awe, thinking: "Wow, she's so right."

I really can't say enough about this book. It's the perfect antidote to the tired go-nowhere back-and-forth of the last ten years.

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