Blowin' Up: Rap Dreams in South Central (Hardback)Jooyoung Lee (author)
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While most books on rap are written from the perspective of listeners and the market, Blowin' Up looks specifically at the creative side of rappers. As Lee shows, learning how to rap involves a great deal of discipline, and it takes practice to acquire the necessary skills to put on a good show. Along with Lee--who is himself a pop-locker--we watch as the rappers at Project Blowed learn the basics, from how to hold a microphone to how to control their breath amid all those words. And we meet rappers like E. Crimsin, Nocando, VerBS, and Flawliss as they freestyle and battle with each other. For the men at Project Blowed, hip hop offers a creative alternative to the gang lifestyle, substituting verbal competition for physical violence, and provides an outlet for setting goals and working toward them.
Engagingly descriptive and chock-full of entertaining personalities and real-life vignettes, Blowin' Up not only delivers a behind-the-scenes view of the underground world of hip hop, but also makes a strong case for supporting the creative aspirations of young, urban, black men, who are often growing up in the shadow of gang violence and dead-end jobs.
Publisher: The University of Chicago Press
Number of pages: 272
Weight: 544 g
Dimensions: 229 x 152 x 23 mm
"Lee tells what it's like 'being down' (AKA culturally competent) in the underground of amateur street rapping and the narrow channel towards commercial success. Along the way, he provides a fresh and upbeat view of how rapping provides a locally respected alternative to violent gangs. His book reveals the micro-skills that make or break a rapper in front of the street group and how the ritualized violence of rap battles acts as a way to control and escape real violence--most of the time."
--Randall Collins, author of Violence: A Micro-Sociological Theory
"In Blowin' Up, Lee does an amazing job of illuminating the lives of black men in one of Los Angeles's underground rap scenes. His engaging, accessible, and descriptive book takes us vividly inside this world, and it is one of a kind in terms of looking at the careers and lives of underground rappers."
--Scott Brooks, author of Black Men Can't Shoot
"Blowin' Up: Rap Dreams in South Central represents a jump through the keyhole into the world of hip-hop as it is lived by some of the art form's most dedicated practitioners. . . . Necessary and important, Blowin' Up provides an intimate look at this essential art form."
"A pleasure to read while being theoretically rich, methodologically innovative, and socially important. . .Blowin' Up is original in analyzing the creative process in small groups and is cutting edge in demonstrating how fun fosters
group cohesion. . . .An important book that will be valued and praised by those concerned with theory development and those interested in propelling social change. It is broadly appealing, speaking directly to ethnographers but also
to those interested in creative work and industries, small groups, artistic careers, youth, crime, and the sociology of emotions."--Contemporary Sociology
"Lee spent five years conducting ethnographic field research at Project Blowed, a world-renowned, underground, hip-hop open mike in South Central Los Angeles. There, Lee observed and interviewed young men interested in 'blowin' up, ' that is, becoming professional rappers. . . . Lee examines how young men become rappers, how they learn to perform, the arts of 'freestyling' and 'battling, ' their dealings with the music industry, broken dreams, and gang violence. . . . Recommended."
"Lee does a great justice to the history of not just hip-hop but music in this city. Project Blowed is L.A.'s 1520 Sedgwick Avenue. It is directly responsible for the emergence of Art Rap. Without it, Low End Theory and its beat scene might have never come to be. . . . Lee's work here is already seminal in that historical chain and in giving Project Blowed well-earned props."
--Passion of the Weiss
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