Fear of a Hip- Hop Planet: America’s New Dilemma
Is Gangsta Rap just black noise? Or does it play the same role for urban youth that CNN plays in mainstream America? This provocative set of essays tells us how Gangsta Rap is a creative "report" about an urban crisis, our new American dilemma, and why we need to listen.
Increasingly, police, politicians, and late-night talk show hosts portray today's inner cities as violent, crime-ridden war zones. The same moral panic that once focused on blacks in general has now been refocused on urban spaces and the black men who live there, especially those wearing saggy pants and hoodies. The media always spotlights the crime and violence, but rarely gives airtime to the conditions that produced these problems.
The dominant narrative holds that the cause of the violence is the pathology of ghetto culture. Hip-hop music is at the center of this conversation. When 16-year-old Chicago youth Derrion Albert was brutally killed by gang members, many blamed rap music. Thus hip-hop music has been demonized not merely as black noise but as a root cause of crime and violence.
Fear of a Hip-Hop Planet: America's New Dilemma explores—and demystifies—the politics in which the gulf between the inner city and suburbia have come to signify not only a socio-economic dividing line, but a new socio-cultural divide as well.
D. Marvin Jones, Fear of a Hip- Hop Planet: America’s New Dilemma (2013).