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Popular Culture as Oppositional Culture: Rap as Resistance Author(s): Theresa A. Martinez Reviewed work(s): Source: Sociological Perspectives, Vol. 40, No. 2 (1997), pp. 265-286 Published by: University of California Press Stable URL: http://www.jstor.org/stable/1389525 . Accessed: 27/02/2012 11:29
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Copyright ? 1997 Pacific Sociological Association
Vol. 40, No. 2, pp. 265-286 ISSN 0731-1214
POPULAR CULTURE AS OPPOSITIONAL CULTURE: Rap as Resistance
THERESA A. MARTINEZ*
ABSTRACT: Bonnie Mitchell and Joe Feagin (1995) build on the theoryof oppositionalculture, arguing that African Americans,American Indians, and Mexican Americansdraw on their own cultural resourcesto resist oppression under internal colonialism. In this paper, rap music is identified as an important African American popular cultural form that also emergesas aform of oppositionalculture. A briefanalysis of the lyrics of political and gangsta rappersof the late 1980s and early 1990s, provides key themesof distrust, anger, resistance,and critiqueof a perceivedracist and discriminatory society. Rap music is discussed as music with a and social critique,and as a heraldof messageof resistance,empowerment, the Los Angeles riots of 1992.
INTRODUCTION The Watts riots of 1965 along with major riots that broke out in Cleveland, Newark, and Detroit shocked the nation and the world in their devastation and their intensity (Baskin et al. 1971, 1972). T.M. Tomlinson (1970) interviewed Blacks in the late 1960s in the aftermath of the Los Angeles riots of 1965 and found that these inner city residents were angry with their living conditions so much so that rioting seemed a necessary means to call attention to their plight.1 Recently, the American public reeled from the aftershocks of yet another series of riots in Los Angeles and other major cities across the nation in May of 1992. This second wave of riots seemed an unnerving rerun of the earlier violence in Watts, set to the tune of 90's complexity (Sears 1993). The present work comes in the aftermath of the second wave of rioting in May of 1992, focusing on a controversial popular cultural form in the African American community: rap. Bonnie Mitchell and Joe Feagin (1995) argue that nonEuropean groups, such as African Americans, American Indians, and Mexican Americans, draw on their
*Direct all correspondence to: Theresa A. Martinez, Department of Sociology, University of Utah, Salt Lake City, UT 84112.
SOCIOLOGICALPERSPECTIVES Volume 40, Number 2, 1997
own cultures to resist oppression under dominant ideologies and, in turn, influence the dominant culture. Their families, their spirituality, their music, among other cherished aspects of culture, become viable forms of oppositional culture (Stuckey 1987; Scott 1990). This paper suggests that political and gangsta rap music artists of the late 1980s and early 1990s were utilizing a bold form of oppositional culture in protest and condemnation of perceived racial formation, institutional discrimination, and urban decay in the inner cities. The message of resistance and social critique within the voices of these rappers, in fact, may have been an effective herald of the Los Angeles riots of 1992. Instead of seeking the cause of the rioting among the rioters (Sears 1993), political and gangsta rappers urged that America focus on inner city poverty, institutional discrimination, and governmental neglect2 for oppositional culture does not emerge in a vacuum or without cause. OPPOSITIONAL CULTURE: A RESPONSE TO INSTITUTIONAL DISCRIMINATION, RACIAL FORMATION, AND URBAN DECAY Our nation's history is a lengthy and bloody story of European invasion and the systematic domination and subjugation of nonEuropean peoples. The creation of white European privilege was brought about by means of invasion of the Americas and the taking of social, economic, and political power by force of more advanced technology and firepower (Blauner 1972). Michael Hechter (1975, 1978) argues that once privilege was wrested by forced, it became institutionalized: "The super-ordinate group, now ensconced as the core, seeks to stabilize and monopolize its advantages through policies aiming at the institutionalization and perpetuation of the existing stratification system" (Hechter 1975:39). This stabilization of stratification is institutional discrimination-discrimination built into the existing structure of societal institutions such as schools, churches, banks, and hospitals. Stokely Carmichael and Charles Hamilton (1967) stress the institutional racism implied the economic, social, and political domination of African Americans in the United States. As discrimination can pervade societal institutions with or without the intention of individuals, so also is government central to the creation, legitimation, and maintenance of subordination of nonEuropean groups. Michael Omi and Howard Winant (1986) take this point further with their theory of racialformation.Omi and Winant assert that the United States Constitution counting African slaves as three-fifths of a person, the internment of Japanese Americans during World War II, the explicit declaration of naturalization laws that the only white immigrants could qualify, and the denial of suffrage to women, are all historical examples of government's role in institutionalizing discrimination. William Julius Wilson (1987) suggests that historic and contemporary discrimination, such as racial formation and institutional discrimination, are a decisive factor in the creation of an underclass in the urban inner city. Wilson describes major structural changes in America's major cities such as the transformation from a manufacturing-based to a service-based economy, movement of manufacturing industries out of central cities, and technological innovations, among other
as Culture Culture Oppostional Popular
factors which have negatively impacted inner city rates of joblessness and lead to increased social isolation of inner city residents. These changes have had a profound effect on the urban landscape of cities like New York, Detroit and Los The Angeles. In PostmodernGeographies: Reassertionof Spacein CriticalSocial Theory, Edward Soja writes: One can find in Los Angeles not only the high technologyindustrialcomplexes of the Silicon Valley and the erraticsunbelt economy of Houston, but also the industrialdecline and bankrupturbanneighborhoodsof rustbelt far-reaching Detroitor Cleveland.Thereis a Bostonin Los Angeles, a LowerManhattan and a South Bronx,a Sao Paulo and a Singapore.(Soja1988:193) Mike Davis echoes this in City of Quartz, where he describes Los Angeles as a segregated city with a bipolar occupational structure. Several decades of severe under-investment in the urban infrastructure and housing together with ridiculously low property taxes for the most wealthy and permissive zoning laws for speculators have all but caused the collapse of the middle class and insured a substandard quality of life for the inner city poor. In Davis' words, Los Angeles is itself a "junkyard of dreams" that "recalls the hyperbole of Marcuse's One-Dimensional Man" (Davis 1990:86). Interestingly, while Wilson notes the decisive contribution of institutional discrimination and racial formation to the problems associated with deteriorating inner cities and the growth of the underclass, he effectively subsumes racist practices under class exploitation and repression and therefore offers nonracial remedies or race-blind policies as solutions to the problems faced by the "truly disadvantaged." However, Stephen Steinberg makes clear the problematic nature of this approach as he asserts: In the traditionof the color-blindleft, Wilsonhas advanceda class analysisthat totally subsumes race to class. The chief problemwith this approachis that it obscuresthe role that racismplays in the productionand reproductionof the black underclass....Forthe black underclass is not merely the accidentalbyproductof colorblind economicforces,but the end productof a system of occupationalapartheidthatcontinuesdown to the present.In the final analysis,this is what is most disturbing about Wilson's thesis...it absolves the nation of responsibilityfor coming to terms with its racistlegacy, and takes race off the nationalagenda.(Steinberg see 1995:148-149,155; also Logonand Molotch1987; Steinberg1995;Feaginand Vera 1995;Oliver and Shapiro1995) Racist actions and policies, Steinberg argues, cannot be reduced to a subset of class relations while racial remedies and racial consciousness are a viable and necessary method of making race part of the national agenda as an antidote to the very problems Wilson asserts are part of the daily life conditions of the underclass. Part of this racial consciousness is reflected in the response of oppressed groups. African Americans and other oppressed groups such as American Indians and Mexican Americans have discovered varying ways to resist systematic injustice.
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Michael Hechter (1975, 1978) suggests that subordinate groups will use their own culture to resist oppressive circumstances. For example, the Irish in the United Kingdom, who share a common history of oppression, will resist subordination through forms of cultural solidarity which can lead to protest. Bonnie Mitchell and Joe Feagin (1995) build on the work of Hechter (1975, 1978) and add to a theory of oppositionalculture or culture of resistance.They argue that nonEuropean groups in the United States draw on their own cultural resources to resist oppression under oppressive circumstances. These groups will develop an oppositional culture or "culture of resistance" that embodies "a coherent set of values, beliefs, and practices which mitigates the effects of oppression and reaffirms that which is distinct from the majority culture" (Mitchell and Feagin 1995:68).3 For oppressed groups, Mitchell and Feagin assert, oppositional culture can mean everything from extended kinship networks that function in the face of harsh economic circumstances, to civil rights movements that direct the energies of the group to legal redress of grievances, to finding expression in artistic and cultural mediums that voice or visualize either cultural pride or protest and critique of the dominant culture.4 Mitchell and Feagin stress that part of African American oppositional culture has been "their own art and music" along with a "critical assessment of the dominant culture" (Mitchell and Feagin 1995:73). Sterling Stuckey (1987) and James Scott (1990) recognize African American music as critical and resistant to the dominant group. Stuckey argues that slave spirituals not only drew on traditional Christian motifs, but infused African expression into the mix, creating an expression of protest in song. James Scott suggests that slaves, always in fear of white retaliation, developed frontstage behaviors reserved for intentional deception of white audiences and backstage behavior which reflected overt critiques of the dominant hegemony. According to Scott, in this world of backstage discourse and disguised resistance tactics, songs, jokes, and gossip, among other modes of communication, can be "hidden transcripts" or vehicles which act as critiques of the powerful. It is to this "hidden transcript" motif that Tricia Rose speaks when she writes: Undersocial conditionsin which sustainedfrontalattackson powerfulgroups are strategically unwise or successfully contained, oppressed people use language,danceand music to mock those in power, expressrage,and produce fantasiesof subversion...[that]quiteoften serve as the culturalglue thatfosters communalresistance.(Rose1994:100) It is the central argument of this paper that a present day African American popular cultural expression is yet another form of oppositional culture in the face of perceived institutional discrimination, racial formation, and urban decay (Rose 1994:99). Specifically, this paper builds on Mitchell and Feagin's (1995) arguments along with those of Stuckey (1987), Scott (1990) and Rose (1994), to assert that the political and gangsta rap of the late 1980s and early 1990s was an ardent form of resistance and a definite expression of oppositional culture, bringing to light long perceived problems in our nation's inner cities, and effectively heralding the 1992 Los Angeles riots that shocked a nation and a globe. Before making this case,
Culture Culture Oppostional as Popular
however, it is important to understand the complexity involved in discourses of resistance. THE CONTINUUM OF ACCOMMODATION TO RESISTANCE: FACING THE GRAY AND THE CONTRADICTORY The development of counterstances, or resistant stances to domination, is never a simple, straightforward process for subordinated groups. The relationship between dominant and subordinate groups encourages, enforces, fosters and even coerces a full continuum of moves, countermoves, negotiations, protests, submissions, struggles, neutralities, alliances, accommodations, and resistances. In sum, complex and contradictory relations emerge which result in a web of interactions which make "resistance" itself a contested arena of discourse. T.J.Jackson Lears, taking his cue from Antonio Gramsci, notes that subordinate groups under capitalism may oppose the "general direction imposed on social life" (Lears 1985:568)-the cultural hegemony-of the dominant group; however, they may never act on their grievances. Subordinate groups, in fact, may not yet have discovered a language to oppose it-a discourse of resistance; may be effectively barred from voicing opposition by economic and/or political constraints; may fear that they will be defined as "deviant" if they subscribe to an oppositional belief system; or may act in ways that work against their own interests-as accomplices in their own subordination. Most importantly, subordinate groups may not act on their own needs, Lears suggests, because of deeply embedded strands of dominant discourse-discourse which can and will influence and suppress actions against dominant group interests. Lears warns against a binary focus on subordinate group relations to dominant groups-resistance versus accommodation-citing language in that language "can make us conscious of the endless ambiguities involved in communication and remind us that most meanings are not reducible to any binary scheme, even though they may be shaped in part by structures of power" (1985:593). Looking at life under the "peculiar institution" of slavery, George P. Rawick (1972) and Eugene Genovese (1976) note the complex relationship of subordinate groups to dominant hegemonic orders. Resistance, in these instances, was an intricate weave of African cultural heritage with American repression. As Rawick asserts, the African slave community were conscious and viable individuals who had identifiable cultures, values, languages, community ties, musical heritages, kinship circles and age-old traditions who essentially "made themselves" out of a rich heritage which was, in turn, effected and influenced by the systematic subordination they experienced day to day (Rawick 1972:11-12). Genovese argues that paternalism created a core of resistance within accommodation. The lord and protector had absolute economic, social, and political control over life on the plantation; therefore, the slave was in no position to oppose this hegemony and ownership from the stance of equality-slaves were forced to accept life conditions that they could not avoid. However, Genovese asserts, slaves translated paternalism into peoplehood with religion acting as the "organizing center of their resistance" (1976:659).
SOCIOLOGICAL PERSPECTIVES Volume40, Number2, 1997
Within the realm of popular culture subordinate group relations and responses to dominant hegemonic frameworks take on more layers of meaning and theorists have explored the contradictory and complex nature of those meanings. Some theorists suggest that popular culture or mass culture is a lifeless, disconnected pacifier of working class people that cannot aspire to the position of "high" culture. Others refuse this dichotomous view and suggest that popular culture can, in fact, be a tool of resistance to dominant hegemonic frameworks, all the while noting that popular culture is itself a "terrain of political and social conflict" (Mukerji and Schudson 1991:1) emerging from and contributing to the intricate relationship between subordinate and dominant groups and, as Lears suggests, the very gray areas that always exist in such relations. Theodor Adorno argues that popular music, symptomatic of mass culture and unlike "high" culture, is a pacifier that no longer moves the masses to question the relations of production-the ruling class-but is depoliticized within its own operatic farce illuminating just how alienated individuals are from each other and themselves (1976:27). Herbert Marcuse suggests that bourgeois art creates unreachable images for ordinary working people (1968:99) and becomes a profound silencer of realities, effectively masking the "unfreedom" existent in capitalist contexts where men and women have no power in democracy. For Marcuse, "this is the real miracle of affirmative culture. Men can feel themselves happy even without being so at all" (Marcuse 1968:121,122; see also Marcuse 1964). Walter Benjamin, while not unaware of the uses and abuses of aesthetics in history which existed in the service of ritual, posited that popular culture in the "age of mechanical reproduction," is very much political with progressive and even revolutionary potential, something not encountered in the ritualistic cultproducing, and aura-intensifying "high" art of the past (Mukerji and Schudson 1991:39). As Simon Frith suggests: Benjaminargued that the technology of mass production was a progressive force, the means by which the traditionalauthority and "aura"of art was broken...Thetechnologyof the mass media had...opened up new possibilities for cultural work...the development of a socialized means of expression enabledthe developmentof a socialistaesthetic.(Frith1981:47) Echoing Benjamin and Frith, John Clarke et al. (1976), Raymond Williams, and Paul Gilroy note the tension inherent in the relationship between subordinate group popular culture and dominant hegemonic culture, yet argue for the viability of popular cultural resistance. Clarke et al. argue that subcultures borrow from, adapt to, apply, and transform their "parent" cultures, creating a highly variable repertoire of responses to hegemony, and while these responses are not always "counter-hegemonic" (1976:44-45), Clarke et al. suggest that they insure survival and resistance. Stuart Hall (1981) underscores this point, arguing that while cultures of resistance always and everywhere emerge within and are influenced by the "relations of cultural power and domination" (1981:232), they are part of an "arena of consent and resistance" (1981:239) and, therefore, capable of
Popular Culture as OppostionalCulture
resisting and contradicting the very hegemony of which they are a part. Raymond Williams suggests that while literature, art, and music are part of the dominant hegemonic model and contribute to it, they are also capable of expressing "emergent practices and meanings," which the dominant culture will consistently seek to transform and absorb (Williams 1991:420; see also Wilson 1981). Paul Gilroy suggests that artistic expression among slaves was both an expression of and a production of "that 'transvaluation of all values' precipitated by the history of racial terror in the new world" (Gilroy 1993:133). From this ground of very public and legal injustice-slavery, Gilroy suggests, came dance, art, and music in the service of resistance. Gilroy writes: Artistic expression, expanded beyond recognition from the grudging gifts offered by the mastersas a token substitutefor freedom from bondage, thereforebecomes the means towardboth individual self-fashioningand communal liberation.(Gilroy1993:138) Yet popular culture, including music, is a part of capital production and consumption, as Adorno attests. This problematizes yet another aspect of the translation of popular culture to resistance. Simon Frith expounds on the critical relationship between popular culture and dominant ideology as he explores the complex matrix of rock meanings, rock producers, and rock consumers. Frith notes the highly contradictory nature of rock as communal expression and rock as money-maker. Yet, Frith refuses to accept Adorno's overall dismissal of mass culture as business. On the contrary, he writes: I don't believe that pitting art versus business like this actually helps us in analyzing a mass culture like rock...To reduce pop history to the struggles of clowns is to ignorethe criticalissue:the music musician... heroes and corporate industry's strategies of market control... have been developed precisely see because the marketis one they can'tcontrol.(Frith1981:89, also Grossberg 1992) Frith argues that independent labels, especially, make it possible for emerging sounds and ideas to make their way into the public sphere. This is echoed by Herman Gray (1988) who argues that while independent jazz record companies exist in a complex web of conflicting choices, priorities, and loyalties precisely because they are part of the music industry complex, they are "also potential sites for the production of different even alternative, cultures" (1988:134-135). The foregoing discussion highlights and amplifies the direct, indirect, and often convoluted maneuvers which make up relations between dominant and subordinate cultural discourses both within and outside the plane of popular culture. However, there is profound disagreement among these thinkers over the capacity of popular culture to resist the dominant hegemonic model. The present piece finds the work of Adorno and Marcuse on mass culture highly problematic given the contemporary discourse on popular culture which makes clear the complexity of relations between dominant hegemonic models and subordinated groups. As the work of Lears (1985), Clarke et al. (1976), Hall (1981), Williams (1991), Frith
PERSPECTIVES Volume 40, Number2,1997 SOCIOLOGICAL
(1981), and Gilroy (1993) would assert, popular culture may be embedded within and even contribute to a dominant hegemonic framework, but it is still capable of resisting that framework (See also Mukerji and Schudson 1991). Rap music is, perhaps, one of the most intriguing examples of such resistance. RAP: MUSIC WITH A MESSAGE Rap made its debut on the American cultural scene in the mid 1970s as one form of hip hop culture (Baker 1993b; Costello and Wallace 1990; Beckman and Adler 1991; Toop 1991; Rose 1994). Hip hop, which included rap, graffiti, and breakdancing emerged out of the social dislocations and structural changes that formed the postindustrial urban climate of the South Bronx-one of the poorest communities in New York and the nation facing "social isolation, economic fragility, truncated communications media, and shrinking social service organizations" (Rose 1994:33-34; see also Kozol 1995). While hearkening back to longstanding black cultural traditions such as signifying, toasting, and the dozens, rap was also influenced by Afro-Caribbean music (Rose 1994; Kelley 1994; Toop 1991). Rappers were early hip-hop DJs, under small independent labels, using what equipment was available to them: "They turned two turntables into a sound system through the technical addition of a beat box, heavy amplification, headphones, and very, very fast hands" (Baker 1993a:88). Among the earliest hip-hop DJs were Kool DJ Herc (1987), Afrika Bambaataa, and Grandmaster Flash (Toop 1991; Baker 1993a; George 1992; Rose 1994). These DJs introduced into broadcast the "scratching" that occurs when a record is cued up and rapidly moved back and forth over the same beat (Toop 1991). With the replacement of the turntable for the digital synthesizer, rappers could vocalize their words over a background laced with borrowed, edited, and combined digital sound bytes (Costello and Wallace 1990:85). Borrowing from various other recordings is a technique called "sampling"-used by rappers as a "mother methodology" and "understood in-Scene as an outlaw credential" (Costello and Wallace 1990:105). Rap selected samples ranging from African drums and doo-wop croons to Malcolm X's voice and James Brown's shouts in what could only be called a "hybrid" (Baker 1993a:89). According to law professor Regina Austin, rappers are hip hop subversives in their appropriation of others' sound and speech, and in their refusal to adhere to mores of "professional courtesy" (Austin 1992:1812-1813). Rap has moved, in recent years, into the "limelight of the formal economy" and major recording companies have bought up many of the small independent sampler labels. Sampling itself has been curtailed as royalties are paid, while rap is becoming more and more commercially successful and some rappers are getting rich (Austin 1992:1814). Much of the contemporary discourse on rap recognizes the complexity of rap's relationship to the dominant culture, as well as capitalist production and consumerism, yet seems to agree that ultimately rap is the voice of urban African American youth, and that this voice is a form of resistance to and survival within the dominant social order. Clarence Lusane points out the many contradictions in rap-it is at one and the same time a consciousness raising, politically progres-
Culture as Culture Oppostional Popular
sive, liberatory popular cultural form and a commodified, exploited, sexist, and materialist popular cultural form. Lusane concludes that rap follows in a long line of black popular music that, while existing in a contradictory and tense space, will continue to "deconstruct and destroy racist images of black youth while at the same time construct a new humanity and society that is more egalitarian and just than the one in which they live and function" (Lusane 1993:49; see also Kuwahara 1992 and McDonnell 1992). Robert Walser addresses rap as music and addresses "the coherence and complexity of music which has been so widely dismissed as monotonous and impoverished" (Walser 1995:199). Walser's analysis and transcription uncover a world of complex musical details and meanings in the work of Public Enemy that translate into experiences of power, freedom, coherence, and the enactment of "survival in a complex, dangerous world" (1995:211) for audiences white and black. Paraphrasing George Lipsitz (1990), Walser stresses that "in a world where more and more people feel dislocated and disenfranchised, the culture of people who have historically lived with the contradictions of being outsiders becomes increasingly relevant to everyone" (Walser 1995:210). While Houston Baker recognizes that rap may be commercially successful and that much of rap has been reduced to dance tunes, he stresses that rap's message is still threatening to the powers that be. He recounts that one of the main popular music stations in Philadelphia "proudly advertises its 'no-rap workday,"' equating rap with subversion of the workday "for rap has become an international, metropolitan hybrid from New Delhi to Ibadan, it is busy interrupting the average workday" (Baker 1993a:94). And the interruption is a lyrical message of "antiestablishment injunctions, libido urgings, and condemnations of coercive standardizations" (Baker 1993a:94). Tricia Rose argues that rap is a product of African American oral tradition deeply rooted in a highly technological urban landscape that exists in contested public performance space (Rose 1988, 1991). Further, Rose argues that political rap and gangsta rap are perceived as an internal threat to American cultural development and social order in their vocal and obvious critique of hegemonic structures and in their very sound.6 Not only are rap's critiques of hegemonic discourse threatening, just as other black popular cultural forms like jazz and rock 'n roll were in the past, but rap's loud vocalization of resistance is also. Dominant group perception of rap as violent and loud emerges, for Rose, out of a fear of black resistance and defiance. Black youth, an already perceived threat to dominant culture, who dress, gesture, and loudly speak from a posture of self-affirmation and possession are perceived as dangerous. Rose discusses one music critic who describes raps rhythms as "monotonous" precisely because they "energized and stimulated the black, youthful audience" (1991:286). Ultimately, for Rose, rap is the voice of urban African American youth in an era of neglect and crisis. "The drawing power of rap is precisely its musical and narrative commitment to black youth and cultural resistance, and nothing in rap's commercial position and crosscultural appeal contradicts this fact" (Rose 1994:19). Some rap, especially gangsta rap, has been upbraided for its openly hostile attitude toward women. Deeply misogynist lyrics have haunted a popular cultural
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form known for its consciousness-raising potential on other social issues such as police brutality and deteriorating health care. Kelley (1994) notes that misogyny may have its basis in economic dislocation and concomitant ruptures in the African American family as well as a pervasively patriarchal American culture. Tricia Rose (1994) argues similarly that rap "tales of sexual domination falsely relieve [males] lack of self-worth and limited access to economic and social markers for heterosexual masculine power. Certainly, they reflect the deep-seated sexism that pervades the structure of American culture" (Rose 1994:15) and the music business itself. Finally, Robin Kelley (1994) and Tricia Rose (1994) place gangsta rap in the context of post-industrial Los Angeles in the mid-1980s as popular cultural messengers of urban neglect, Brian Cross (1993) suggests the West Coast/East Coast connections between gangsta and political rap, and Houston Baker (1993b) echoes Kelley and Rose in a discussion of political rap as the East Coast messenger of postmoder inner city decay. Kelley discusses the contradictions in gangsta rap as urban storytelling and misogynist nihilism, but argues that gangsta rap is essentially a vocal critique of a blighted inner city Los Angeles whose poverty rate and joblessness deeply affected communities like Compton and Watts. "The criminalization, surveillance, incarceration, and immizeration of black youth in the postindustrial city have been the central theme in gangsta rap, and at the same time, sadly constitute the primary experiences from which their identities are constructed" (Kelley 1994:208). Rose's discussion of gangsta rap in Los Angeles amounts to a definition of the genre as she writes, LosAngeles rappersfromComptonand Watts,two areasseverelyparalyzedby economicredistribution, the postindustrial developed a West Coaststyle of rap that narratesexperiencesand fantasiesspecific to life as a poor young, black, male subjectin Los Angeles (Rose1994:59). Cross argues that the work of West Coast gangtsa rappers was contradictory from the outset, like that of its East Coast cousins. That is, to borrow from Toop, it was a "'money-minded craze for gory social realism" (Cross 1993:48). It emerged, Cross suggests, from an already "established frame of politicized music" (1993:54) set by groups like Public Enemy. According to Cross, Public Enemy's work arises along a "continuum of resistance"-from Garvey to Malcolm to Mandela-in the political struggle for their community, taking no prisoners and finger pointing at "the FBI, the CIA, the government, the whole system..." (1993:49). The message of L.A. gangsta rap lies along this same continuum, Cross asserts, and the year 1988-a significant year in the evolution of Public Enemy and the dawn of L.A. gangsta rap-was the year of the reawakening of the "sleeping giant of minority resistance in the U.S." (1993:53). Cross notes that respect from the East Coast for West Coast style has been slow to emerge with some collaboration between coasts finally beginning to take shape by the early 1990s (1993:39). Baker argues that the work of such political rap groups as Public Enemy is "primarily interpretive, if not homiletic, in its effect" (Baker 1993b:46). "It was an articulate cry to the world about the insufferable poverty, relentless police
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brutality, and frustrated hopes of the black urban scene...It presented its own clear black understanding of the inner city's economic and political abandonment" (Baker 1993b:46). Political and gangsta rap, then, describe a continuous landscape, according to these authors, a landscape and a legacy left behind by slavery and still speaking in the 90s (Steinberg 1995:136). SETTING THE TONE: A FEW WORDS ON MECHANICS For the present analysis, rap music was explored as one of the most significant forms of popular culture emerging from the African American community (Rose 1994; Baker 1993a, 1993b; Austin 1992; Toop 1991). In the following analysis, only those song lyrics written and performed by what are considered to be political or gangsta rappers were used. After some research into rap music, which included reading articles in books, magazines, and newspapers, and talking with a rap music disc jockey in Salt Lake City together with a producer in the record industry, certain names kept appearing and were the most often cited as gangsta or political. Specifically, NWA (Niggas With Attitude), Ice-T, and Ice Cube were cited as gangsta rappers, while Public Enemy was cited as a political rap group. Song lyrics from two albums by Ice Cube, one album by NWA, one album by IceT along with an Ice-T single on a sound track album, and two albums by Public Enemy, were examined. All of these albums were released in the late 1980s and early 1990s.7 A content analysis was not performed on these lyrical data rather the "respondents" were allowed to speak for themselves, providing an overall tone rather than a random selection of words (Babbie 1992). The analysis focused on the lyrics themselves with each song emerging thematically. Rap music artists often proclaim in their songs and in their interviews that their music has a message, that they simply want someone to listen (Beckman and Adler 1991; Ice-T and Glenn 1990; Ridenhour et al. 1991d). This "listening" was attempted by means of an examination of artists' lyrics. The music was the artists' rendering of the experiences of those who live in the "hood," that is, the slum neighborhood. Song lyrics were chosen that were illustrative and typical of emergent themes in the rap lyrics.8 It is not claimed that the rap music artists chosen represent all rap music or the views of all inner city ghetto residents, nor that rap artists must emerge from the inner city experience to be authentic (See note 7). Still, this research is significant for at least three reasons. First, this work would add to a body of research on rap music as one of the most important aspects of popular culture in the inner city. Second, this analysis would add to a body of literature on the theory of oppositional culture. And last, this research links popular culture to our understanding of the social fabric following in a long line of sociological study which examines this linkage (Coser 1971; Benjamin 1969; Becker 1976, 1982; Rose 1994; Bourdieu 1984; Pratt 1990). A final point needs clarification. This study does not attempt to analyze those lyrics which often gain the most publicity with regard to rap music-explicitly misogynist or sexist lyrics. Although they were evident in the analysis, they were beyond the scope or interest of this particular paper.
SOCIOLOGICAL PERSPECTIVES Volume40, Number2,1997 THE LYRICS/VOICES OF RESISTANCE: A BRIEF ANALYSIS9
The messages gleaned from lyrical analysis of rap music artists describe the social reality of life in the inner city slum, as well as the world view of those who inhabit this social reality. Each song entailed a unique trace-forward starting point from which to understand the meaning of the lyrical message (Lofland and Lofland 1995). Yet, common meanings emerged, which are discussed as multiple themes, revealing a general structure to these lyrics. Distrust of the Police The credibility of the police is often called into question in these rap music lyrics. The songs speak of corrupt policemen with racist attitudes who are more than ready to harm young black men. In Public Enemy's "Get the Fuck Outta Dodge," police are people you learn to distrust. Sgt. Hawkes and I'm down wit' the cop scene ... Packin'a nine can'twait to use it Crookedcop yah that'smy music (Ridenhourand Houston 1991) This song also implies that the only reason the young man was stopped was because he was black: "Yeah, yeah, yeah/B[lack]-boy nigga in a pickup...Here we go the run around/Blamin' me for the hardcore roar" (Ridenhour and Houston 1991). NWA's "Fuck tha Police" by NWA (Niggas with Attitude) reflects a cold cynicism with regard to an obviously racist police authority. Fucktha police, comin'straightfrom the underground A young nigga got it bad becauseI'm brown and not the othercolor Some police think/They have the authorityto kill a minority(Dre,Ren and Ice Cube 1988a) Fear of a Corrupt System that Plans Genocide Many of the song lyrics reflect a belief that the system those in power are less than trustworthy-"the KKK wears three-piece suits" (Ridenhour et al. 1991b). There are many lyrics which clearly suggest that genocide of African Americans is an agenda item for the establishment. "Day to day, America eats its young" (Shocklee, Sadler and Ridenhour 1990b) states Public Enemy in the song "Revolutionary Generation." And in "1 Million Bottlebags"-note the obvious allusion to "body bags"-Public Enemy's lyrics question the reasoning behind the profusion of liquor stores in black neighborhoods. But they don't sell the shit in the white neighborhood et Exposin'the plan they get mad at me I understood(Ridenhour al. 1991a)
Culture Culture Oppostional as Popular
In "I Wanna Kill Sam" by Ice Cube, the lyrics discuss perceived genocidal tendencies among the dominant group reflected in the deaths of African Americans to AIDs and crack-a double-edged attack on the African American. Tryto gimme the H.I.V So I can stop makin'babieslike me (Ice Cube 1991a) Disillusionment With the Health Care System
The health care/ emergency system, these lyrics suggest, is there not so much to treat as to ignore poor people and African Americans, to be incapable of meeting the community's health care needs, and to be suspicious of young African American men. "911 is a Joke," by Public Enemy is an intensely cynical description of health care in the inner city. Now I dialed 911 a long time ago.../You better wake up and smell the real flavor 'Cause911 is a fake life saver (Drayton,Shockleeand Sadler1990) This sentiment is echoed in Ice Cube's "Alive on Arrival." Ice Cube adds the distinct impression that racial background also influences health care distribution. On the way to MLK/That'sthe county hospitaljack Whereniggas die over a little scratch(IceCube 1991b) Anger at Racism and Lost Opportunities The rap music lyrics reflect a great deal of anger about racism in the past and the present. The song "Revolutionary Generation" by Public Enemy suggests that the heritage of slavery has created ills in the African American family and in the African American community which will ultimately lead to the destruction of the African American. They disrespectedmama and treatedher like dirt/ Americatook her, reshaped her, rapedher... /Beat us, mated us (Shocklee,Sadlerand Ridenhour1990b) In "Who Stole the Soul?" by Public Enemy, the authors imply that the soul of the African American was stolen by whites who made them slaves and who still practice racism and segregation. And holidays notice some of them are heller days Inventedby those who never repented Forthe sins within that killed my kin (Shocklee,Sadlerand Ridenhour1990c) The lyrics from "Pollywanacraka" by Public Enemy are a disturbing view of the dominant system. The lyrics demonstrate a profoundly negative view of the
SOCIOLOGICALPERSPECTIVES Volume 40, Number 2, 1997
past and the future in neighborhoods where white and black are "taught" to hate one another. The devil split us in pairs/ And taughtus Whiteis good, Blackis bad And Blackand Whiteis still too bad (Shocklee,Sadlerand Ridenhour1990a) In "Colors" by Ice-T, the lyrics speak of strong disillusionment with the system from the viewpoint of the young gang member who sees the world from "reality"-stained glasses. From this world view: Peaceis a dream,realityis a knife...
Madness insanity, live in profanity/Then some punk 'claimin' they understan-
din' me Give me a break,what world do you live in? (Ice-T1990) Action in the Face of Oppression Many song lyrics call for organized action to retaliate against the unequal police treatment, the planned genocide, the inequalities in health care dispensation, and the lost opportunities. In "Shut 'em Down" by Public Enemy, the lyrics are strident and hostile, pointing to past injustice and a hoped for comeuppance. et I'm comin'from the lower level/I'm takin'tabs...(Ridenhour al. 1991c) In "I Wanna Kill Sam" by Ice Cube, the lyrics suggest that the African American people will eventually recover their strength despite poverty and its illsdrugs. When this happens, they will no longer be the "whores" who do the floors and fight the wars, but will violently turn against their oppressor-Uncle Sam. And you givin' dope to my people chump/Just wait till we get over that hump... uncle (IceCube 1991a) I wanna kill SAM'causehe ain'tmy motherfuckin' The lyrics to "The Nigga Ya Love to Hate" by Ice Cube are harsh and brutal. According to the song, African Americans need to become hardcore and angry in the world they inhabit. Ice Cube believes the song can illustrate the despair, anger, and futility of life in the ghetto. Whatniggas need to do is startloc'in'up/ And build, mold, fold themselvesin the shape Of the nigga ya love to hate!(IceCube 1990)
Popular Culture as OppostionalCulture
A Plea for Recognition In rap music, there is a definite plea for recognition from the artists. In "Bring the Noize," Public Enemy weave the plea for recognition into their music, calling for someone to pay attention to their words. They assert that they have messages to share-lessons to teach. Listenfor lessons I'm sayin' inside music Thatthe criticsareblastinme for (Ridenhouret al. 1991d) In "Freedom of Speech" by Ice-T, the lyrics are an impassioned plea for free speech, suggesting that the realities of the ghetto-the stories behind the gangsta rap-are largely being ignored and growing worse while a "rose-colored" picture is being displayed for the public to peruse. I want the right to talk/I want the right to speak... We only got one right left in the world today Let me have it-or throw the Constitutionaway (Ice-Tand Glenn 1991) DISCUSSION AND CONCLUSIONS Race relations theory in sociology posits that oppressed groups develop oppositional culture to survive and resist systematic oppression. It has been the task of this paper to suggest that rap music, a popular cultural form in the African American community, is a valid and strident form of oppositional cultural expression. As this analysis suggests, the voices in political and gangsta rap lyrics narrate a biting distrust, disillusionment with, and critique of major societal institutions and government. Simply put, these voices-these lyrics-as Tricia Rose (1994) argues, are "prophets of rage" who enter the discourse to "destabilize" dominant hegemonic paradigms, vocalizing African American marginality. According to Rose, the voices within rap are able to effectively bridge the gap between popular culture and social criticism (Rose 1994:101,102) by means of a potent form of oppositional culture.10 WhenChuckD [of PublicEnemy]says thatpouringit on in metaphoris nothing new, he refersto the long historyof blackculturalsubversionand socialcritique in music and performance...Slave dances, blues lyrics, Mardi Gras parades, Jamaicanpatios, toasts, and signifying all carrythe pleasure and ingenuity of criticism thepowerful. (Rose 1994:99 of disguised emphasis added) At the same time, Rose's "prophets of rage" may have presaged rebellion in our time as effective heralds of the riots of '92. The voices in rap music of the late 1980s and early 1990s reflected people living on the edge, living with an anger "about every bit of hopelessness that's been festering since the '70s" (George 1992:161). Baker suggests that "the fiery violence of the Spring of 1992 in Los
Volume 40, Number2,1997 SOCIOLOGICAL PERSPECTIVES
Angeles was just the kind of 'armed response' that NWA had prophesied in its versions of the strength of 'street knowledge' recorded on Straight Out'a Compton" (Baker 1993a:34;See Dre, Ren and Ice Cube 1988b). In closing, while rap music is fresh and engaging, and a signifier of much needed growth and change in our nation and the globe, the fact that rap exists as a form of oppositional culture at all is itself a glaring critique of the system. David O. Sears suggests that if the riots are a "wake-up call," someone keeps pushing the "snooze button" (Sears 1993:253). Los Angeles County Sheriff, Sherman Block, in an interview with Leon Bing about gang members stated: "My feeling is that where we have failed-the collective 'we,' society, government in particular-is that we have not provided enough meaningful options and opportunities for young people in too many of these communities" (Bing 1991:271). This is a telling and an interesting comment, made prior to the 1992 Los Angeles riots, but sadly not internalized by "we," "society," or "government," early enough. As Ice-T reminds us in the voice of the gangster: "Our war won't end 'til all wars cease" (Ice-T 1990). I would like to thank Bonnie Mitchell and Joe Feagin, Acknowledgments: whose work inspired and enlightened this paper. NOTES 1. See also Fogelson (1970), Geschwender(1964), Gurr(1970), Sears and McConahay (1969, 1970) and Tomlinson(1969). 2. Political and gangsta rap's part in heraldingthe 1992 riots in this paper also underscores Neil Smelser's (1962) structural-straintheory, specifically, stage three or "growthof an explanation."Smelser arguesthat in orderfor groups of people to take collective action,they must have some commonunderstanding firm statementof the or problemthatthey face. Political and gangstarap,then, effectively statedthe problems of the inner city to a wide audience of African Americanurbandwellers and youth. The problem then obvious and stated would mean that the Rodney King verdict enteredat the righttime andplace-a correctsocial, political, and economic ambience, so thoroughlycritiquedby rappers-for people to take action. 3. Mitchell and Feagin here hearkento a broadand even anthropological definitionof the word "culture"by not reducing it only to music, dance forms, or literary works. Culturehere refers in the larger sense to all forms of human articulationand expression includingart,music and dance, but also the everydaylifeways, life practices,and belief systems that emerge within any culture (Williams 1958). These are pivotal to understanding, describing, creating, and, indeed, embodying, the cultures of opposition to which Mitchell and Feagin refer. See George Lipsitz (1988) for an excellent discussion of the life of Ivory Perry, a grassrootspolitical activist in the Civil Rights era, whose life embodied-in all lived aspects-commitment to racialjustice through struggle,resistance,and oppositionalculture.See also Robin D.G. Kelley (1990) for a discussion of the life and times of the Alabama Communists, and Johnny Otis (1993:xviii) for a useful discussion of music as resistancebut also music as a complex expression of African American culture itself in all its myriad facets-"its joy, triumph,imagination,desire, wisdom, and moral strength."
Culture Oppostional as Culture Popular
4. See FrederickErickson (1987) for a discussion of minority students' developmentof oppositional cultural patternsin response to repeated failure in school and negative encounterswith teachers. See Lila Leontidou (1985) for a discussion of the development of oppositionalculturein peripheralsocieties among squatters.See also R. Serge Denisoff and RichardA. Peterson (1972) for a discussion of Americanprotest songs and the use of music in protestmovements. studies of popularculturefrom the disciplines of anthropology,sociol5. Contemporary and literary criticism make "problematicearlier views of mass culture as ogy, degradedand elite cultureas elevating"(Mukerjiand Schudson 1991:2). See Herbert Gans (1974), Diane Crane (1992), Paul DiMaggio (1992) and generally Chandra Mukerjiand Michael Schudson (1991). See also Michele Lamont (1992) for a crossnationaldiscussion of the problematicnatureof "highculture." 6. TriciaRose's argumentsaboutthe counterhegemonic natureof rapin its very sound is echoed in the work of Dick Hebdige (1993) who argues that while dominant discourses and ideologies are constantly being made part of public collective consciousness through various cultural signifiers, including, musical sound which becomes part of the subtle process of "cognitive map"formation,this process can be subvertedand challenged. That is, musical sound can fractureand even overrule the dominant discourses. See also Theodor Adoro (1973), who suggests that musical sound itself is capable of giving form to the anguish and terrorhumanbeings experience. Ironically,rap's musical sound, partof the mass cultureAdoro so despised, is significantly responsible for carryingthe sound of human complaint, stridency,challenge, and sufferingto the ears of the elite. 7. Gangstarap is often rejected as dysfunctional,sexist and essentially a sell-out of the true culturalroots of rap. At the same time, individualrap artistssuch as the ones cited in this analysis may or may not have directexperienceof "streetknowledge."In reference to the first critiqueof gangsta rap, Robin Kelley (1994), Brian Cross (1993) and natureof gangstarap,however, agree TriciaRose (1994) take note of the contradictory form of rap is a viable expressionof rage and decay in Los Angeles that this particular and a definite part of culturalresistance. Kelley (1994) speaks to the second critique when he posits a "'ghettocentric"identity evident in gangsta rap that we should continueto take seriously "notthatthey are progressiveor correct,or that every word, gesture, or beat is dripping with social significance" (Kelley 1994:225,226). Brian Cross speaks to the same critique by discussing rap as a rhythm, style, and black culturalmovement from the Bronx that captivatedL.A. youth whose knowledge base was consistently informedby life in postindustrialLos Angeles. Cross writes: "True hip hop will survive as long as past, present,and futureMCs keep theircommitmentto the trade.Rapperswho tend to assist in the exploitationof the music will come and go with the trend...And in the end it ain't 'bout no salary"(Cross 1993:307,317). For more on the emergence of the gangster metaphorand the gangsta as urbanicon see Kelley (1994). I would add that I specifically chose gangstarap artiststhat emerged in a certain time period-the late 80s and early 90s. Gangstarap has changed substantially since then with a certain media tendency to categorize artists as "gangstarap" who may or may not have the same attitudesthat I have described in my study, for example, Snoop Doggy Dogg and 2 Pac. 8. As Rose (1994) indicates,an analysis of rap shouldinclude aestheticas well as historical context. While I hope I have dealt with historicalcontext, I can only deal with the aestheticsof the music from a lyrical standpoint.Admittedly,this limits the analysis. 9. For an earlierversion of this analysis see Martinez(1993).
SOCIOLOGICAL PERSPECTIVES Volume 40, Number2,1997
10. It is interestingto note that rap artistsdo not necessarily limit their political/oppositional movementto musical forms but are variouslyrepresented organizationssuch in as the Nation of Islam (Public Enemy, Ice Cube), Blackwatch (X-Clan), Native Tongues AfricentricMovement(De La Soul), and Zulu Nation (AfrikaBambaataa). REFERENCES Adoro, Theodor W. 1973. Philosophyof ModernMusic. New York: Seabury Press. Adoro, Theodor W. 1976. Introductionto the Sociologyof Music, translated by E.B. Ashton. New York: Seabury Press. . 1991. The Culture Industry: Selected Essays on Mass Culture. London, UK: Routledge. Austin, Regina. 1992. "'The Black Community, Its Lawbreakers, and a Politics of Identification," SouthernCaliforniaLaw Review 65:1769-1817. Baker, Houston A. 1993a. BlackStudies, Rap, and the Academy.Chicago, IL: University of Chicago Press. .1993b. "Scene ... Not Heard." Pp. 38-48 in Reading Rodney King/Reading Urban Uprising, edited by Robert Gooding-Williams. New York: Routledge. Babbie Earl, 1992. The Practiceof Social Research.6th ed. Belmont, CA: Wadsworth. Baskin, Jane A., Joyce K. Hartweg, Ralph G. Lewis, and Lester W. McCullough, Jr. 1971. Race RelatedCivil Disorders:1967-1969. Waltham, MA: Lemberg Center for the Study of Violence, Brandeis University. Baskin, Jane A., Ralph G. Lewis, Joyce Hartweg Mannis, and Lester W. McCullough, Jr. 1972. "The Long, Hot Summer." JusticeMagazine 1:8. Becker, Howard S. 1976. "Art Worlds and Social Types." American Sociological Review 39:767-76. . 1982. Art Worlds. Berkeley, CA: University of California Press. Beckman, Janette, and B. Adler. 1991. Rap: Portraits and Lyrics of a Generationof Black Rockers.New York: St. Martin's Press. Benjamin, Walter. 1969. Illuminations.New York: Schocken Books. Bing, Leon. 1991. Do or Die. New York: Harper Collins. Blauner, Robert. 1972. Racial Oppressionin America.New York: Harper & Row. Bourdieu, Pierre. 1984. Distinction: A Social Critiqueof the Judgementof Taste, translated by Richard Nice. Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press. Carmichael, Stokely, and Charles Hamilton. 1967. Black Power. New York: Random House. Clarke, John, Hall, Stuart, Jefferson, Tony, and Brian Roberts. 1976. "Subcultures, Cultures and Class." Pp. 9-79 in ResistanceThroughRituals: Youth Subcultures in Post-War Britain, edited by Stuart Hall and Tony Jefferson. London, UK: Hutchinson. Coser, Lewis A. 1971. Masters of SociologicalThought. New York: Harcourt Brace Jovanovich. Costello, Mark, and David Foster Wallace. 1990. Signifying Rappers: Rap and Racein the UrbanPresent. New York: Ecco Press. Crane, Diane. 1992. "High Culture versus Popular Culture Revisited: A Reconceptualization of Recorded Cultures." Pp. 58-74 in Cultivating Differences:
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Kelley, Robin D.G. 1990. Hammer and Hoe: Alabama Communists During the Great Depression.Chapel Hill, NC: University of North Carolina Press. . 1994. Race Rebels:Culture, Politics, and the Black WorkingClass. New York: Free Press. Kozol, Jonathan. 1995. Amazing Grace:The Lives of Childrenand the Conscienceof a Nation. New York: Crown. Kuwahara, Yasue. 1992. "Power to the People Y'All: Rap Music, Resistance, and Black College Students." Humanity and Society 16(1):54-73. Lamont, Michele. 1992. Money, Morals and Manners: The Culture of the French and American Upper-MiddleClass. Chicago, IL: University of Chicago Press. Lears, T.J. Jackson. 1985. "The Concept of Cultural Hegemony: Problems and Possibilities." The AmericanHistoricalReview 90:567-593. Leontidou, Lila. "Urban Land Rights and Working-Class Consciousness in Peripheral Societies." International Journal of Urban and Regional Research 9:533-556. Lipsitz, George. 1988. A Lifein the Struggle:Ivory Perry and the Cultureof Opposition. Philadelphia, PA: Temple University Press. Lipsitz, George. 1990. Time Passages: Collective Memory and American Popular Culture. Minneapolis, MN: University of Minnesota. Lofland, John, and Lyn H. Lofland. 1995. Analyzing Social Settings:A Guide to Qualitative Observationand Analysis, 3rd ed. Belmont, CA: Wadsworth. Logon, John R., and Harvey L. Molotch. 1987. UrbanFortunes:ThePolitical Economy of Place. Berkeley, CA: University of California Press. Lusane, Clarence. 1993. "Rhapsodic Aspirations: Rap, Race and Power Politics." The BlackScholar23:37-51. Marcuse, Herbert. 1964. One Dimensional Man: Studies in the Ideologyof Advanced IndustrialSociety. Boston, MA: Beacon Press. . 1968. Negations: Essays in Critical Theory, with translations by Jeremy J. Shapiro. Boston, MA: Beacon Press. Martinez, Theresa A. 1993. "Recognizing the Enemy: Rap Music in the Wake of the Los Angeles Riots." Explorationsin Ethnic Studies 16:115-127. McDonnell, Judith. 1992. "Rap Music: Its Role as an Agent of Change." Popular Music and Society 16:89-107. Mitchell, Bonnie L., and Joe R. Feagin. 1995. "America's Racial-Ethnic Cultures: Opposition Within a Mythical Melting Pot." Pp. 65-86 in Towardthe Multicultural University, edited by Benjamin Bowser, Terry Jones, and Gale Auletta Young. Westport, CT: Praeger. Mukerji, Chandra, and Michael Schudson. 1991. Rethinking Popular Culture: Perspectivesin CulturalStudies. Berkeley, CA: University of CaliContemporary fornia Press. Oliver, Melvin L., and Thomas M. Shapiro. 1995. BlackWealth/WhiteWealth:A New Perspectiveon RacialInequality.New York: Routledge. Omi, Michael, and Howard Winant. 1986. RacialFormationin the United States. New York: Routledge & Kegan Paul. Otis, Johnny. 1993. Upside Your Head!: Rhythm and Blues on Central Avenue. Hanover, NH: Wesleyan University Press.
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Drayton, W., K. Shocklee, and E. Sadler. 1990. "911 is a Joke." Fearof a BlackPlanet. New York: Def Jam/ Columbia Records. Dre, Dr., M.C. Ren, and Ice Cube. 1988a. "Fuck tha Police." StraightOutta Compton. Hollywood, CA: Ruthless Attack Muzick/Priority Records. .1988b. "Straight Outta Compton." StraightOutta Compton.Hollywood, CA: Ruthless Attack Muzick/Priority Records. Ice Cube. 1990. "The Nigga Ya Love to Hate." AmeriKKKa's Most Wanted. Hollywood, CA: Priority Records. . 1991a. "I Wanna Kill Sam." Death Certificate. Hollywood, CA: Priority Records. . 1991b. "Alive on Arrival." Death Certificate. Hollywood, CA: Priority Records. Ice-T. 1990. "Colors." From the Soundtrackto the Film Colors. New York: Warner Brothers Records. Ice-T, and Charles Andre Glenn. 1991. "Freedom of Speech." The Iceberg:Freedom of Speech,Just WatchWhat You Say. New York: Sire Records. Ridenhour, C., and Houston. 1991. "Get the Fuck Outta Dodge." Apocalypse91: The Enemy StrikesBack.New York: Columbia Records. Ridenhour, C., Gary G. Robertz, Wiz, and Dapper. 1991a. "1 Million Bottlebags." Apocalypse91: The Enemy StrikesBack.New York: Columbia Records. . 1991b. "Rebirth."Apocalypse91: The Enemy StrikesBack.New York: Columbia Records. . 1991c. "Shut em Down." Apocalypse91: The Enemy StrikesBack.New York: Columbia Records. Ridenhour, C., K. Shocklee, E. Sadler, and Anthrax. 1991d "Bring tha Noize (With Anthrax)." Apocalypse 91: The Enemy Strikes Back. New York: Columbia Records. Shocklee, K., E. Sadler, and C. Ridenhour. 1990a. "Pollywanacraka." Fearof a Black Planet. New York: Def Jam/Columbia Records. . 1990b. "Revolutionary Generation." Fear of a BlackPlanet. New York: Def Jam/Columbia Records. . 1990c "Who Stole the Soul?" Fear of a Black Planet. New York: Def Jam/ Columbia Records.
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