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The New H.N.I.C.

The New H.N.I.C.: The Death of Civil Rights and the Reign of Hip Hop

Copyright Date: 2002
Published by: NYU Press
Pages: 169
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  • Book Info
    The New H.N.I.C.
    Book Description:

    When Lauryn Hill stepped forward to accept her fifth Grammy Award in 1999, she paused as she collected the last trophy, and seeming somewhat startled said, This is crazy, 'cause this is hip hop music.' Hill's astonishment at receiving mainstream acclaim for music once deemed insignificant testifies to the explosion of this truly revolutionary art form. Hip hop music and the culture that surrounds it - film, fashion, sports, and a whole way of being - has become the defining ethos for a generation. Its influence has spread from the state's capital to the nation's capital, from the Pineapple to the Big Apple, from 'Frisco to Maine, and then on to Spain. But moving far beyond the music, hip hop has emerged as a social and cultural movement, displacing the ideas of the Civil Rights era. Todd Boyd maintains that a new generation, having grown up in the aftermath of both Civil Rights and Black Power, rejects these old school models and is instead asserting its own values and ideas. Hip hop is distinguished in this regard because it never attempted to go mainstream, but instead the mainstream came to hip hop.The New H.N.I.C., like hip hop itself, attempts to keep it real, and challenges conventional wisdom on a range of issues, from debates over use of the N-word, the comedy of Chris Rock, and the get money ethos of hip hop moguls like Sean P. Diddy Combs and Russell Simmons, to hip hop's impact on a diverse array of figures from Bill Clinton and Eminem to Jennifer Lopez.Maintaining that Martin Luther King, Jr.'s I Have a Dream speech is less important today than DMX's It's Dark and Hell is Hot, Boyd argues that Civil Rights as a cultural force is dead, confined to a series of media images frozen in another time. Hip hop, on the other hand, represents the vanguard, and is the best way to grasp both our present and future.

    eISBN: 978-0-8147-0906-1
    Subjects: Sociology

Table of Contents

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  1. Front Matter
    (pp. i-iv)
  2. Table of Contents
    (pp. v-viii)
  3. Preface: Game Recognize Game
    (pp. ix-xxii)
  4. Introduction Who We Be: Introducinʹ the New H.N.I.C.
    (pp. 1-23)

    Some may remember a popular Coke commercial from the mid 1990s that featured an interesting parallel between two distinct generations of Black people. As the commercial began, an older Black man, sitting back in his chair, listening to Marvin Gaye and Tammi Terrell sing their Motown classic ʺYouʹre All I Need to Get By.ʺ This tune was written by the noted husband-and-wife team of Nick Ashford and Valerie Simpson, and it highlights for many, the quintessential Motown sound of the 1960s. The older Black man in the commercial was, of course, enjoying a Coke while listening to this music that...

  5. 1 No Time for Fake Niggas: Hip Hop, from Private to Public
    (pp. 24-43)

    As long as I can remember, my father and several of his friends would get together on Saturday morning for a lively breakfast. Over the years the restaurant locations have changed constantly, and the participants have tended to come and go, depending on what was happening in peopleʹs personal lives at a given time. What was constant was the intense conversations that would take place around the breakfast table. I have been fortunate on many occasions to be able to witness these breakfast sessions as an interested observer.

    The meetings were certainly generationally specific, thus my words were limited to...

  6. 2 Brothas Gonna Work It Out: Hip Hopʹs Ongoing Search for the Real
    (pp. 44-60)

    What is the difference between rap and hip hop? I have been asked that question far too many times by those not hip to the game. When I was growing up in the late ʹ70s and early ʹ80s, rap was what the few of us who listened to the music called it. At some point in the early 1990s, around the same time that MC Hammer was beginning to embarrass all of those who had originally embraced his ʺJames Brown on crackʺ routine, people began calling anything with two turntables and a microphone ʺrap,ʺ and thus it was now necessary...

  7. 3 Canʹt Knock the Hustle: Hip Hop and the Cult of Playa Hatinʹ
    (pp. 61-101)

    One of the most compelling television moments in recent memory is the Clarence Thomas/Anita Hill Senate confirmation hearings of 1991. The precursor to what is commonly called ʺReality TV,ʺ Thomas/Hill would whet our appetite for that ultimate blockbuster, the O.J. Simpson trial, which would come a few years later. The sweeping epic that developed around O.J., of course, would eclipse all other television dramas, both before and after, but it was the Thomas/Hill hearings that set the stage for the public by offering a real-life melodrama that, in many ways, exceeded the increasingly bland offerings available on network television at...

  8. 4 Head Nigga in Charge: Slick Willie, Slim Shady, and the Return of the ʺWhite Negroʺ
    (pp. 102-138)

    William Jefferson Clinton, a gentleman more affectionately known as ʺSlick Willie,ʺ a true hip hop moniker if ever there was one, was simply an aspiring presidential candidate from Hope, Arkansas, when he stepped on the bandstand ofThe Arsenio Hall Showin the spring of 1992 and made history. Sitting in with the band that evening, Clinton, donning dark sunglasses, picked up his ʺaxʺ and started riffing on Elvis Presleyʹs classic ʺHeartbreak Hotel,ʺ with as much soul as any White person, even Elvis, had ever exhibited before in public life. Clintonʹs image, his presidential persona, and, most important, his close...

  9. Epilogue: Whereʹs the Love?
    (pp. 139-152)

    I can remember vividly the first time I heard ʺRapper’s Delightʺ by the Sugarhill Gang. A couple of my boys had come by to scoop me up and when I got in that 1977 Ford Granada that day, all they could talk about was this new song they had heard on the radio. The problem was they couldnʹt really describe the tune. They didnʹt know the name of the song, nor did they know who it was by. They just kept saying that it was different, that it was liketalkinʹ over some beats. They had heard it a few...

  10. Selected Bibliography
    (pp. 153-154)
  11. Glossary of Hip Hop Terms
    (pp. 155-158)
  12. Shout Outs
    (pp. 159-160)
  13. Index
    (pp. 161-168)
  14. About the Author
    (pp. 169-169)