By Joshua Clover

ISBN-10: 0520252551

ISBN-13: 9780520252554

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Extra info for 1989: Bob Dylan Didn't Have This to Sing About

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The bond between musical production and the social base of disenfranchised and untrained artists had defined rap’s genesis, as well as the development of self-empowerment discourses, Black Power, Black Nationalism, and confrontation as a mode; the counterrevolution beginning in the late eighties had the effect of sundering this bond. However, in understanding how these showdowns husbanded the shift from Black Power to gangsta rap, one notes that gangsta scarcely appeared an accommodation to the culture war, and was in fact the recipient of renewed vitriol in the form of decency crusades.

Of these, Markie and Native Tongues De La Soul loom doubly large for their involvement in landmark legal cases concerning sampling, music production, and ownership— major skirmishes in the intellectual property wars and episodes that changed the material possibilities of the genre and as a result redirected its aesthetic and, it is argued, political trajectories. The chapter understands this struggle as a front in a broader culture war coordinated at exactly this moment when the stakes of hip-hop were up for grabs.

A. (Niggaz With Attitude). The latter band had released their own epochal album on January 25, 1989: Straight Outta Compton. While scarcely lacking in conflict, the collection, first circulated in 1988, was entirely absent the programmatic commitments of Public Enemy and their compañeros in Black Power and Black Nationalist hip-hop; recorded for less than $10,000, it would shortly match Nation of Millions in platinum sales. It’s worth recalling that, while increasingly ambitious historians trace rap to the dawn of the seventies and before, 1989 was the first year that the Grammies awarded a prize to the genre, then only three years from its first number one album.

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1989: Bob Dylan Didn't Have This to Sing About by Joshua Clover

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