Women Rapping Revolution: Hip Hop and Community Building in Detroit

Univ. of California. (Hip Hop Studies, Bk. 1). May 2020. 248p. ISBN 9780520305311. $85; pap. ISBN 9780520305328. $29.95. MUSIC
Farrugia (media studies, Oakland Univ.; Beyond the Dance Floor: Female DJs, Technology, and Electronic Dance Music Culture) and Hay (cultural studies, Oakland Univ.) engage with the Foundation, a women-centered hip-hop collective, as both participants and ethnographic scholars. Active from 2009 through 2016, the Detroit-based Foundation made space for an alternative to mainstream, commercialized hip-hop. The organization sought to support women, broader ranges of gender and sexual expression, and the community from which it emerged. Through interviews, analyses of rappers’ lyrics, and extensively referenced exploration of Detroit’s musical and industrial history, the authors illuminate how collectives such as the Foundation offer a rich, community-oriented mode of being in which art is not separated from the cultural, social, and economic context of its creation. Farrugia and Hay make conscious, visible effort to include the Foundation’s artists and organizers—often one and the same—in their research and to make the result less a study than a collaboration.
VERDICT An intriguing addition to the growing body of hip-hop literature. For listeners and fans and for scholars in musicology, cultural studies, and related disciplines.

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