A potent exploration of a divisive and important subject, The Hip Hop Wars concludes with a call for the re-galvanisation of the progressive and creative heart of hip-hop.
What Rose calls for in the Hip Hop Wars is not a sanitised vision of the form, but one that more accurately reflects a much richer space of culture, politics, anger, and yes, sex, than the current ubiquitous images in sound and video currently provide.
As far as Tricia Rose can see, Hip-hop is in crisis. For the past dozen years, the most commercially successful hip-hop has become increasingly saturated with caricatures of black gangstas, thugs, pimps, and ’hos. The controversy surrounding hip-hop is worth attending to and examining with a critical eye because, as scholar and cultural critic Tricia Rose argues, hip-hop has become a primary means by which we talk about race in the United States.
Cause or Effect?
In The Hip Hop Wars, Rose explores the most crucial issues underlying the polarised claims on each side of the debate and brings to our attention some very important questions: Does hip-hop cause violence, or merely reflect a violent ghetto culture? Is hip-hop sexist, or are its detractors simply anti-sex? Does the portrayal of black culture in hip-hop undermine black advancement?
“Hip Hop is not dead, but it is gravely ill. The beauty and life force of hip hop have been squeezed out, wrung nearly dry by the compounding factors of commercialism, distorted racial and sexual fantasy, oppression, and alienation. It has been a sad thing to witness.”