Hip-Hop and Philosophy: Rhyme 2 Reason (Popular Culture and Philosophy)

Hip-Hop and Philosophy: Rhyme 2 Reason (Popular Culture and Philosophy)

Tommie Shelby

Language: English

Pages: 288

ISBN: 0812695895

Format: PDF / Kindle (mobi) / ePub

Hip-Hop and Philosophy: Rhyme 2 Reason (Popular Culture and Philosophy)

Tommie Shelby

Language: English

Pages: 288

ISBN: 0812695895

Format: PDF / Kindle (mobi) / ePub


Is there too much violence in hip-hop music? What’s the difference between Kimberly Jones and the artist Lil' Kim? Is hip-hop culture a "black" thing? Is it okay for N.W.A. to call themselves niggaz and for Dave Chappelle to call everybody bitches? These witty, provocative essays ponder these and other thorny questions, linking the searing cultural issues implicit — and often explicit — in hip-hop to the weighty matters examined by the great philosophers of the past. The book shows that rap classics by Lauryn Hill, OutKast, and the Notorious B.I.G. can help uncover the meanings of love articulated in Plato's Symposium; that Rakim, 2Pac, and Nas can shed light on the conception of God's essence expressed in St. Thomas Aquinas's Summa Theologica; and explores the connection between Run-D.M.C., Snoop Dogg, and Hegel. Hip-Hop and Philosophy proves that rhyme and reason, far from being incompatible, can be mixed and mastered to contemplate life's most profound mysteries.

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importance of possession. For Alcibiades possession is that familiar feeling of being under a spell when in love. Hit by the voo-doo that makes Salt-N-Pepa wanna shoop, the lover is drawn involuntarily to her beloved.28 Alcibiades claims that Socrates’s words have the power to possess in just this way. When that true playa Big Sockratease spits game it hypnotizes those who hear his words: “I swear to you, the moment [Socrates] starts to speak, I am beside myself: my heart starts leaping in my

aesthetics that opposes art to real life and seeks to keep it in a realm apart. Pragmatist and rap aesthetics cannot accept this solution, since we insist on art’s deep connection to life, its use as a tool for structuring one’s ethics and lifestyle, a means of political engagement to raise consciousness and promote greater freedom. Art is a mere distraction if it is separated from life. But if art is deeply violent, if its power cannot be confined to the quarantined white cube of gallery space

faith in us, patience, hard work, and amazing creativity in moving from rhyme to reason. Big ups to the Open Court crew, especially to David Ramsay Steele, a.k.a. Da Voice in da Machine, for sage advice and for hyping us to rock the boulevard and the bourgeoisie. Props to Zick Rubin for doing what he does so well. Good lookin’ out Z! Props also to Lidet Tilahun for research assistance. We are grateful to our home institutions, Harvard University and Texas A&M University, for their financial

Latin American countries to this roster of loose membership. We may wonder, however, about the consequence of investing so much of a claim to black authenticity into what is in practice and sentiment black adolescent culture. From a philosophical perspective, there is already a fallacy and a form of decadence at work when part of a community subordinates the whole, when what is in effect a subgroup eliminates the legitimacy of the larger community from which it has sprung. One effect is that

in a box, just like our life on the block.232 Of course, prison is in many ways worse than “life on the block.” The point is that people in difficult social circumstances are more willing to take risks, especially when they’re angry or desperate. This fact, which might be called “the ghetto factor,” substantially weakens the effectiveness of punishment as a deterrent. We’re left with incapacitation, and herein lies a deeper story. It begins with an agonizing recognition of the prospects

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