Jay-Z

Essays on Hip Hop's Philosopher King

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About the Book

Jay-Z is one of America’s leading rappers and entrepreneurs, as well known for his music as for his business acumen. This text seeks to situate Jay-Z within his musical, intellectual and cultural context for educational study. Thirteen essays address such topics as Jay-Z’s relevance to African-American oral history, socially responsible hip hop and upward mobility in the African-American community. By observing Jay-Z through the lens of cultural studies, this study assists the teacher, student, scholar, and fan in understanding how he became such an historically significant figure. Each essay includes a set of review questions meant to spark discussion in the classroom.
Instructors considering this book for use in a course may request an examination copy here.

About the Author(s)

Julius Bailey is a visiting professor of philosophy at Wittenberg University in Springfield, Ohio and lead professor of philosophy and religion at Central State University in Wilberforce, Ohio. He has written about music for numerous publications, including Vibe Magazine and The Source Hip Hop Magazine.

Bibliographic Details

Edited by Julius Bailey
Format: softcover (6 x 9)
Pages: 223
Bibliographic Info: notes, bibliographies, index
Copyright Date: 2011
pISBN: 978-0-7864-6329-9
eISBN: 978-0-7864-8573-4
Imprint: McFarland

Table of Contents

Acknowledgments      viii

Foreword: On Jay-Z and Hip Hop Studies

CORNEL WEST      1

Introduction: In Search of Meaning: Sign, Symbol, and Shawn

JULIUS BAILEY      3

Part I: The Groundwork

1. Jigga Speaks: The Tradition of Black Oratorical Genius

TONI BLACKMAN      25

2. The Authentic Cultural Agent

G. JAHWARA GIDDINGS      39

3. The Meeting with a President and a “King”

DAVEYD      52

4. A Urban Singer of Tales: The Freestyle Remixing of an Afro-Homeric Oral Tradition

NICOLE HODGES PERSLEY      67

5. The Prodigal God and the Legacy of Socially Responsible Hip Hop

T. HASAN JOHNSON      84

Part II: The Challenges

6. Zen and the Art of Transcending the Status Quo: The Reach from the Hood to the Suburbs

BAKARI KITWANA      99

7. Black Marketing Whiteness: From Hustler to HNIC

STEPHANY ROSE      117

8. A Forty Million Slave’s Moment of Clarity

DAYLAN DUFELMEIER      132

9. Hip Hop’s Prospects for Womanist Masculinity

MELINA ABDULLAH      141

Part III: The Classroom Freestyles

10. Complicating Shawn Carter: Race, the Code, and the Politics of School

DAVID STOVALL      159

11. Oedipus-Not-So-Complex: A Blueprint for Literary Education

A.D. CARSON      172

12. The Culture Industry: Mainstream Success and Black Cultural Representation

GIL COOK      180

13. The Self-Reliant Philosopher King: Shawn Carter Exonerated

SHA’DAWN BATTLE      191

About the Contributors      211

Index      213

Book Reviews & Awards

“offers a strong pedagogical tool for introducing readers to the socially urgent and complex issues that hip-hop has always evoked…at the end of each essay, questions are included for further discussion, providing excellent teaching tools on significant social, cultural, and political issues”—ARSC Journal.