Check The Rhime!: Hip Hop as a continuation of the African American protest tradition, from David Walker’s Appeal (1829) to Kendrick Lamar’s “The Blacker the Berry”(2015)
Gothelf, Jasmine (2015) Check The Rhime!: Hip Hop as a continuation of the African American protest tradition, from David Walker’s Appeal (1829) to Kendrick Lamar’s “The Blacker the Berry”(2015). MRes thesis, University of Nottingham.
My thesis presents Hip Hop as a continuation of the African American protest tradition. Drawing upon literature from recognized African American protest movements, including abolitionism, antilynching campaigns, the Civil Rights movement and Black Power, I present Hip Hop as the current embodiment of the protest aesthetic. My work develops the existing understanding of the African American protest aesthetic through the creation of three rhetorical devices or identifiers, embodied by all canonized protest literature. Through the exploration of each rhetorical identifier, I present Hip Hop as both an embodiment and an advancement of the protest aesthetic. Each chapter focuses on a different identifier, from its formation to its application: these are the shared responsibility, formed in slavery; the nightmare, formed by antilynching literature; and performative distress, a rhetorical device created in the latter half of the 1900s. I then apply my work to the responses to the deaths of Michael Brown and Eric Garner in 2014 and this also forms part of my conclusion. The comparative analysis of Hip Hop, focusing on rap-music, alongside canonized African American protest literature unearths the immense literary debt that the music genre owes to its predecessors. In doing so, I enhance the understanding of the African American protest aesthetic, while suggesting that the work of rappers including Tupac Shakur, Kendrick Lamar and Nas, draws on and extends this aesthetic.
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