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Total Chaos: The Art and Aesthetics of Hip-Hop

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It's not just rap music. Hip-hop has transformed theater, dance, performance, poetry, literature, fashion, design, photography, painting, and film, to become one of the most far-reaching and transformative arts movements of the past two decades.American Book Award-winning journalist Jeff Chang, author of the acclaimed Can't Stop Won't Stop: A History of the Hip-Hop Generat It's not just rap music. Hip-hop has transformed theater, dance, performance, poetry, literature, fashion, design, photography, painting, and film, to become one of the most far-reaching and transformative arts movements of the past two decades.American Book Award-winning journalist Jeff Chang, author of the acclaimed Can't Stop Won't Stop: A History of the Hip-Hop Generation, assembles some of the most innovative and provocative voices in hip-hop to assess the most important cultural movement of our time. It's an incisive look at hip-hop arts in the voices of the pioneers, innovators, and mavericks.With an introductory survey essay by Chang, the anthology includes: Greg Tate, Mark Anthony Neal, Brian “B+” Cross, and Vijay Prashad examining hip-hop aesthetics in the wake of multiculturalism. Joan Morgan and Mark Anthony Neal discussing gender relations in hip-hop. Hip-hop novelists Danyel Smith and Adam Mansbach on "street lit" and "lit hop". Actor, playwright, and performance artist Danny Hoch on how hip-hop defined the aesthetics of a generation. Rock Steady Crew b-boy-turned-celebrated visual artist DOZE on the uses and limits of a "hip-hop" identity. Award-winning writer Raquel Cepeda on West African cosmology and "the flash of the spirit" in hip-hop arts. Pioneer dancer POPMASTER FABEL's history of hip-hop dance, and acclaimed choreographer Rennie Harris on hip-hop's transformation of global dance theatre. Bill Adler's history of hip-hop photography, including photos by Glen E. Friedman, Janette Beckman, and Joe Conzo. Poetry and prose from Watts Prophet Father Amde Hamilton and Def Poetry Jam veterans Staceyann Chin, Suheir Hammad, Marc Bamuthi Joseph and Kevin Coval. Roundtable discussions and essays presenting hip-hop in theatre, graphic design, documentary film and video, photography, and the visual arts. “Total Chaos is Jeff Chang at his best: fierce and unwavering in his commitment to document the hip-hop explosion. In beginning to define a hip-hop aesthetic, this gathering of artists, pioneers, and thinkers illuminates the special truth that hip-hop speaks to youth around the globe.” (Bakari Kitwana, author of The Hip-Hop Generation)


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It's not just rap music. Hip-hop has transformed theater, dance, performance, poetry, literature, fashion, design, photography, painting, and film, to become one of the most far-reaching and transformative arts movements of the past two decades.American Book Award-winning journalist Jeff Chang, author of the acclaimed Can't Stop Won't Stop: A History of the Hip-Hop Generat It's not just rap music. Hip-hop has transformed theater, dance, performance, poetry, literature, fashion, design, photography, painting, and film, to become one of the most far-reaching and transformative arts movements of the past two decades.American Book Award-winning journalist Jeff Chang, author of the acclaimed Can't Stop Won't Stop: A History of the Hip-Hop Generation, assembles some of the most innovative and provocative voices in hip-hop to assess the most important cultural movement of our time. It's an incisive look at hip-hop arts in the voices of the pioneers, innovators, and mavericks.With an introductory survey essay by Chang, the anthology includes: Greg Tate, Mark Anthony Neal, Brian “B+” Cross, and Vijay Prashad examining hip-hop aesthetics in the wake of multiculturalism. Joan Morgan and Mark Anthony Neal discussing gender relations in hip-hop. Hip-hop novelists Danyel Smith and Adam Mansbach on "street lit" and "lit hop". Actor, playwright, and performance artist Danny Hoch on how hip-hop defined the aesthetics of a generation. Rock Steady Crew b-boy-turned-celebrated visual artist DOZE on the uses and limits of a "hip-hop" identity. Award-winning writer Raquel Cepeda on West African cosmology and "the flash of the spirit" in hip-hop arts. Pioneer dancer POPMASTER FABEL's history of hip-hop dance, and acclaimed choreographer Rennie Harris on hip-hop's transformation of global dance theatre. Bill Adler's history of hip-hop photography, including photos by Glen E. Friedman, Janette Beckman, and Joe Conzo. Poetry and prose from Watts Prophet Father Amde Hamilton and Def Poetry Jam veterans Staceyann Chin, Suheir Hammad, Marc Bamuthi Joseph and Kevin Coval. Roundtable discussions and essays presenting hip-hop in theatre, graphic design, documentary film and video, photography, and the visual arts. “Total Chaos is Jeff Chang at his best: fierce and unwavering in his commitment to document the hip-hop explosion. In beginning to define a hip-hop aesthetic, this gathering of artists, pioneers, and thinkers illuminates the special truth that hip-hop speaks to youth around the globe.” (Bakari Kitwana, author of The Hip-Hop Generation)

30 review for Total Chaos: The Art and Aesthetics of Hip-Hop

  1. 4 out of 5

    Carlo

    Jeff Chang compiles a completely thorough, almost anthropological discourse between the origins of hip-hop and its creative brainchildren. I almost treat this as my cultural bible, my go-to book for approaching my own work as a visual artist. It's important to me to remind myself of where I come from musically and culturally, that I often get lost through the cracks, worrying that I had no absolute foundation. This book provides a lot of historical evidence, that hip-hop isn't just a money-makin Jeff Chang compiles a completely thorough, almost anthropological discourse between the origins of hip-hop and its creative brainchildren. I almost treat this as my cultural bible, my go-to book for approaching my own work as a visual artist. It's important to me to remind myself of where I come from musically and culturally, that I often get lost through the cracks, worrying that I had no absolute foundation. This book provides a lot of historical evidence, that hip-hop isn't just a money-making scheme for pseudo-disenchanted youth. It actually has several solid layers found in every major culture on Earth, that is rich of language, tradition, inspirational people, scholars, movements, and memes. To add to the credibility: my dear friend, Tanya Suzuki, is a progressive, radical, post-modern educator in several academic institutions across Los Angeles (particularly, charter schools and community colleges) that she will be designing a college-level course based on this book. That is remarkable and very inspiring. It feeds onto itself, digests the good energy, and re-births brain diamonds more valuable than a Wall Street stock-portfolio can ever produce.

  2. 5 out of 5

    Cecilia

    I had to read this book for my History of Jazz class and it was surprising interesting. The discussions, the papers, the different topics covered really interested me.

  3. 4 out of 5

    Melissa Phung

    Hip-hop is often categorized with rap music. In the past two decades, hip-hop has transformed dance, theatre, poetry, literature, fashion, photography, film, and more, to become one of the most innovative and transformative arts movements. In Total Chaos: The Art and Aesthetics of Hip-Hop, Jeff Chng, an American Book Award-winning journalist, assembles some of the most influential voices in hip-hop to evaluate the most important cultural movement of our time. His anthology includes: Greg Tate, M Hip-hop is often categorized with rap music. In the past two decades, hip-hop has transformed dance, theatre, poetry, literature, fashion, photography, film, and more, to become one of the most innovative and transformative arts movements. In Total Chaos: The Art and Aesthetics of Hip-Hop, Jeff Chng, an American Book Award-winning journalist, assembles some of the most influential voices in hip-hop to evaluate the most important cultural movement of our time. His anthology includes: Greg Tate, Mark Anthony Neal, Adrian “B+” Cross, and Vijay Prashad, who examine hip-hop aesthetics in the rising of multiculturalism. Chang includes pieces documenting hip-hop’s sociopolitical influence in Cuba and South Africa Capetown natives Shaheen Ariefdien, who is a performer and anthropologist, and Nazli Abrahams, an educator. I thoroughly enjoyed this novel. Multiple definitions of hip-hop emerged; ideas and values were varied and contradictory to critically analyze hip-hop in context. Topics, such as the aesthetics behind hip-hop photography and graffiti, offers an informative history of hip-hop dance and reviews hip-hop’s effects on literature and theater. The novel also pursues debates about identity sexuality, and homophobia. There was a lot of discussion about “keeping it real.” I am an avid fan of hip-hop, trying to learn more and more about it. Like Michael Crichton once said, “If you don’t know history, then you don’t know anything. You are a leaf that doesn’t know it is part of a tree.” I want to learn as much about hip-hop as possible, along with other people’s opinions. Hip-hop has changed and developed in positive and negative ways since its origination. Total Chaos: The Art and Aesthetics of Hip-Hop is the quintessential book to learn more about hip-hop; it was organized, informative, developed, and well written. Ghostface Killah said in an interview, “Hip hop definitely changed. It’s not the same no more. I don’t think it changed for the best. I think a lot of artists got lazy, and a lot of these new artists don’t know their history. You know what I mean? They’re just making music… It seems like it’s not from the heart, like it’s from the brain. If you don’t know your history, then you don’t know where you’re going. Once you don’t know the Kool G Raps and the Big Daddy Kanes and Chubb Rocks and Brand Nubians and De La Soul and Slick Rick, then you don’t really know shit.” Know your history.

  4. 5 out of 5

    Rubayya

    Disclaimer: I only read the roundtable on multiculturalism and the conversation on feminism. I love that the topics were discussed rather than spoken from the perspective of just one person. This was essential to the themes of both pieces I read because they deal with complexities within hip-hop. For example, in the essay on feminism, the discussion addresses what it feels like to be a black male feminist, what it feels like, as a woman, to love dancing to a song with sexist lyrics, whether the Disclaimer: I only read the roundtable on multiculturalism and the conversation on feminism. I love that the topics were discussed rather than spoken from the perspective of just one person. This was essential to the themes of both pieces I read because they deal with complexities within hip-hop. For example, in the essay on feminism, the discussion addresses what it feels like to be a black male feminist, what it feels like, as a woman, to love dancing to a song with sexist lyrics, whether the consumption of black female sexuality affirms black female sexuality or objectifies black female bodies, and why prominent black males accused of rape by black women get sympathy in the name of the cause. This book deals with hip-hop and artistic expression and voice from many angles, though all interior to hip-hop, and each angle is further nuanced through its roundtable presentation. The scope and complexity of hip-hop is aptly highlighted.

  5. 4 out of 5

    Leonard Pierce

    There's some interesting stuff in this anthology, but the lack of a strong authorial voice (despite the cover, Chang only edited the book) and some obscure and over-academicized material weakens it overall. There's some interesting stuff in this anthology, but the lack of a strong authorial voice (despite the cover, Chang only edited the book) and some obscure and over-academicized material weakens it overall.

  6. 5 out of 5

    Joe Viola

    Good read, not great.

  7. 4 out of 5

    Mills College Library

    700.905 T7171 2006

  8. 5 out of 5

    Rebecca

    I want to read it because I enjoyed Can't Stop Won't Stop so much. I want to read it because I enjoyed Can't Stop Won't Stop so much.

  9. 5 out of 5

    Sidik Fofana

    (six word reviews #15) Mr.Chang, me for the next anthology.

  10. 4 out of 5

    Karlyn

    Great comprehensive look at the realms hip hop has exploded into in the past thirty years.

  11. 4 out of 5

    Tom

  12. 4 out of 5

    Anna Oravcova

  13. 5 out of 5

    Stan Staton

  14. 4 out of 5

    Trué

  15. 5 out of 5

    Bryancuff

  16. 5 out of 5

    Jinnigan

  17. 5 out of 5

    NA LA

  18. 4 out of 5

    Andreea

  19. 5 out of 5

    Shadi Sayegh

  20. 4 out of 5

    Monique Calder

  21. 5 out of 5

    Genevieve Campisano

  22. 4 out of 5

    Stanley Charles

  23. 4 out of 5

    Nicole

  24. 5 out of 5

    Nic

  25. 4 out of 5

    heidiologies

  26. 5 out of 5

    Philly D

  27. 5 out of 5

    Aaron Cornies

  28. 5 out of 5

    Ali Raza

  29. 5 out of 5

    Sgt Roman Hunter

  30. 5 out of 5

    Susan

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