1st Edition

Hip Hop Versus Rap
The Politics of Droppin' Knowledge

ISBN 9780367371128
Published July 16, 2019 by Routledge
176 Pages

USD $49.95

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Book Description

'What is the real hip hop?'

'To whom does hip hop belong?'

'For what constructive purposes can hip hop be put to use?'

These are three key questions posed by hip hop activists in Hip Hop Versus Rap, which explores the politics of cultural authenticity, ownership, and uplift in London’s post-hip hop scene. The book is an ethnographic study of the identity, role, formation, and practices of the organic intellectuals that populate and propagate this ‘conscious’ hip hop milieu. Turner provides an insightful examination of the work of artists and practitioners who use hip hop ‘off-street’ in the spheres of youth work, education, and theatre to raise consciousness and to develop artistic and personal skills. Hip Hop Versus Rap seeks to portray how cultural activism, which styles itself grassroots and mature, is framed around a discursive opposition between what is authentic and ethical in hip hop culture and what is counterfeit and corrupt. Turner identifies that this play of difference, framed as an ethical schism, also presents hip hop’s organic intellectuals with a narrative that enables them to align their insurgent values with those of policy and to thereby receive institutional support.

This enlightening volume will be of interest to post-graduates and scholars interested in hip hop studies; youth work; critical pedagogy; young people and crime/justice; the politics of race/racism; the politics of youth/education; urban governance; social movement studies; street culture studies; and vernacular studies.

Table of Contents


Chapter 1. Tending the Conscious Hip Hop Family

Chapter 2. Hip Hop Esoterics: Energy and Consciousness

Chapter 3. From Periphrasis to Personal Development: A Cultural Biography of a Hip Hop Poet and Teacher

Chapter 4. ‘Life-Bars’ For Grime Prevention

Chapter 5. White Boy Hip Hop Suite: Hip Hop Theatre and the Colouring of Culture Conclusion

Method Coda

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Patrick Turner is a Senior Lecturer in Sociology at Bath-Spa University, UK.


Hip Hop versus Rap gets at the heart of the matter, the debate on authenticity of one of the most important global art forms in pop culture. The reader is swept up in the rapid flows from the US to the UK and back again. Consciousness, hardcore, sell-out, one luv? Patrick Turner mixes extensive fieldnote anecdotes and interviews with serious social theory in a remarkable performance of text and a welcome contribution to cultural studies.

Derek Pardue, Associate Professor and Coordinator of Brazilian Studies, Aarhus University