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Chicano Rap

Pancho McFarland
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  • Book Info
    Chicano Rap
    Book Description:

    Powered by a driving beat, clever lyrics, and assertive attitudes, rap music and hip hop culture have engrossed American youth since the mid-1980s. Although the first rappers were African Americans, rap and hip hop culture quickly spread to other ethnic groups who have added their own cultural elements to the music. Chicano Rap offers the first in-depth look at how Chicano/a youth have adopted and adapted rap music and hip hop culture to express their views on gender and violence, as well as on how Chicano/a youth fit into a globalizing world.

    Pancho McFarland examines over five hundred songs and seventy rap artists from all the major Chicano rap regions-San Diego, San Francisco and Northern California, Texas, and Chicago and the Midwest. He discusses the cultural, political, historical, and economic contexts in which Chicano rap has emerged and how these have shaped the violence and misogyny often expressed in Chicano rap and hip hop. In particular, he argues that the misogyny and violence of Chicano rap are direct outcomes of the "patriarchal dominance paradigm" that governs human relations in the United States. McFarland also explains how globalization, economic restructuring, and the conservative shift in national politics have affected Chicano/a youth and Chicano rap. He concludes with a look at how Xicana feminists, some Chicano rappers, and other cultural workers are striving to reach Chicano/a youth with a democratic, peaceful, empowering, and liberating message.

    eISBN: 978-0-292-79422-1
    Subjects: Music, Sociology

Table of Contents

  1. Front Matter
    (pp. i-vi)
  2. Table of Contents
    (pp. vii-viii)
    (pp. ix-x)
    (pp. 1-13)

    In 1980 my cousin Pete Cortez introduced me to the Sugar Hill Gang’s “Rapper’s Delight.” It was unlike anything I had heard or seen. The cover to the fourteen-minute extended-play single was eye-catching, with a bright orange, yellow, and red psychedelic cylinder shape on a sky-blue background. The music of “Rapper’s Delight” consisted of reinterpreted disco funk sounds including a sample of Chic’s 1979 hit “Good Times.” But it was the vocal delivery and lyrics that most intrigued me. The three MCs boast and tell funny stories in short, rapid, rhythmic, and rhyming phrases. Big Bank Hank uses part of...

  5. [Illustrations]
    (pp. None)
  6. CHAPTER ONE. READING CHICANO RAP: The Patriarchal Dominance Paradigm in the Postindustrial Barrio
    (pp. 14-34)

    Chicano rap discussions of violence and gender can be understood only within the larger context of U.S. culture and history, contemporary popular culture, globalization and de-industrialization, the neoconservative political system dominated by White males, and Mexican American culture and history. Fantastic stories of murder and criminality told by Chicano rappers must be read against a backdrop of the Hollywood action movies and the increasing sales of lifelike video games. Similarly, Chicano rap depictions of women as objects of pleasure for male bodies and egos cannot be understood without reference to the male-centered lineage in Mexican American culture as well as...

  7. CHAPTER TWO. CHICANO RAP PRIMER: A Guide to Artists and Genres
    (pp. 35-61)

    Chicanos have been rapping for more than two decades. Over these twenty-odd years, Chicanos have sampled a wide range of music; rapped about everything from gangbanging to peace and love in the barrio; developed numerous lyrical and musical styles; rapped in English, Spanish, variations of code-switching, slang, andcaló(workingclass Chicana/o street slang);¹ and used various methods of distributing their music. Since Chicano rappers are an extremely varied and complex group, I believe a brief primer is required. In this chapter I examine a cross-section of some of the most significant Chicana/o rappers and their various styles and themes. We...

    (pp. 62-78)

    In the spring of 2000 I began a series of focus groups and workshops with Chicana/o youth from Colorado Springs, Colorado. My first group included approximately a dozen youths ordered by local judges to attend classes and workshops organized by Ways Out Academy Inc. as part of their sentences for various criminal convictions. I had the good fortune to speak with these young people about rap music. Our discussions were illuminating. We began by playing rap songs and discussing the lyrics. Together we examined violent and sexist lyrics. Since many of these youths identified as gang members, they preferred the...

    (pp. 79-93)

    Several Chicanas have recorded songs and CDs over the past decade. Their lyrics cover a broad range of themes. Their styles, delivery, and music differ widely. From Ms. Sancha’s explicit lyrics over heavy funk bass and drum production to Sista D’s fun and party lyrics accompanied by Midwestern and Southern musical production to JV’s straight hip hop, Chicanas show depth and diversity in their music. While they speak on many topics, this chapter will focus on Chicana rappers’ representations of sexuality and sexual politics. Two types of sexual politics commonly occur in Chicana rap lyrics. One speaks of female sexual...

  10. CHAPTER FIVE. VIOLENCE IN CHICANO RAP: Mirror of a Belligerent Society
    (pp. 94-114)

    The rhetorics of violence in Chicano rap are part of the spread of a culture of violence in the United States (Giroux 1996). To properly understand the numerous images of violence in Chicano rap lyrics, we need to properly situate them within the contemporary violent society in which we live. I use articulation theory as a framework for analysis to examine the myriad ways in which Chicanos rap about violence. Expanding upon the discussion of articulation in previous chapters, I discuss an aesthetics of violence, interpersonal violence, and the politics of violence as part of the cultural field from which...

    (pp. 115-132)

    The Chicano rap and hip-hop explosion has taken place during a time of crisis in our barrios and throughout our world. Capitalist globalization has devastated developing countries,¹ while economic restructuring has led to increased poverty, epidemic incarceration rates, repressive criminal and immigration legislation, and disenfranchisement of youth and people of color in the United States.² In order to understand the types of stories told and analyses developed by Chicano rappers we must be aware of the impact that economic restructuring has had on Chicana/o barrios. This chapter uses the stories told by political Chicano rappers to develop a political economic...

    (pp. 133-150)

    Misogyny and violent hypermasculinity seem to be everywhere in the late capitalist period. The cultural field in the postindustrial United States is dominated by hyperviolent images and attitudes and hypersexualized and exploited bodies, especially female bodies. The capitalist cultural and economic order has commodified and devalued life, sexuality, and human relationships. The New World Cultural and Economic Order profits from exploitative, controlling images of women and criminalized hypermasculine representations of youth of color. The dominant cultural attitude in the United States views our youth as dangerous and as such devalues their lives. This attitude leads to legislation that erodes justice...

  13. NOTES
    (pp. 151-168)
    (pp. 169-188)
  15. INDEX
    (pp. 189-198)