Cover image for The hip hop generation : young Blacks and the crisis in African American culture
The hip hop generation : young Blacks and the crisis in African American culture
Kitwana, Bakari.
Personal Author:
First edition.
Publication Information:
New York : Basic Civitas, [2002]

Physical Description:
xxii, 230 pages ; 22 cm
General Note:
Includes index.
The new Black youth culture : the emergence of the hip-hop generation -- America's outcasts : the employment crisis -- Race war : policing, incarceration, and the containment of Black youth -- Where did our love go? : the new war of the sexes -- Young, don't give a fuck, and Black : Black gangster films -- Activism and the hip-hop generation : redefining social responsibility -- The politics of the hip-hop generation : identifying a political agenda -- The challenge of rap music : from cultural movement to political power.
Format :


Call Number
Material Type
Home Location
Item Holds
E185.86 .K58 2002 Adult Non-Fiction Non-Fiction Area

On Order



Young blacks born between 1965 and 1984 belong to the first generation to have grown up in post-segregation America. Their historical significance is tremendous, but until now there has been no in-depth study of the African American youth who are making this important chapter in our nation's history. Bakari Kitwana, one of black America's sharpest young cultural critics, offers a sobering look at his generation's disproportionate incarceration and unemployment rates, as well as the collapse of its gender relations, and gives his own provocative social and political analysis. He finds the pain of his generation buried in tough, slick gangsta movies, and their voice in the lyrics of rap music, "the black person's CNN." By turns scathing, funny, and analytic, The Hip Hop Generation will stand as the testament of black youth culture at the turn of the century. With extraordinary insight and understanding, Bakari Kitwana has combined the culture and politics of his generation into a pivotal work in American studies.

Author Notes

Bakari Kitwana has been the Executive Editor of The Source, the Editorial Director at 3rd World Press, and a music reviewer for NPR's All Things Considered. His writing appears in the Village Voice, The Source and The Progressive and he tours the country lecturing on rap music and Black youth culture. His previous book, The Rap on Gangsta Rap, is regarded as one of the most influential analyses of rap music and hip hop culture

Reviews 2

Booklist Review

Bastfield dedicates his paean to Tupac Shakur, preeminent icon of what Kitwana calls the hip-hop generation, to "Black men who have been an inspiration to the world," such as Marcus Garvey, Bob Marley, and Imhotep. Shakur died long before he had become a world-inspirer, which explains why all biographies of him tend to be also about the state of black youth culture since his heyday. Bastfield's book is better than many others on Shakur because he knew Shakur before he was famous. Bastfield relies on his personal memories of Shakur's teen years, the experiences he and Shakur shared, and a fair amount of apparently meaningful, though unreferenced, research. While readable, interesting, and sexually graphic, this probably isn't the definitive assessment of Shakur. Kitwana turns from "rap music [and] the hip-hop industry's insiders" to "Black youth culture." He designates African Americans born 1965^-84--the first "post^-civil rights" generation of black Americans--the hip-hop generation. "Although individuals [in that cohort] may point to different defining events, all share a crystal clear understanding of coming of age in an era of post-segregation and global economics." In the face of "great disparities" in education and financial matters (jobs, wages, mortgage opportunities) that persisted beyond the civil rights era, the hip-hop generation has used newfound pop-cultural access and influence to "strengthen associations between Blackness and poverty, while celebrating anti-intellectualism, ignorance, irresponsible parenthood, and criminal lifestyles" and enjoying "a free pass from Black leaders" and "non-Black critics who . . . fear being attacked as racist." Hip-hop culture is old enough to spur countermovements, but so far no "counter" stars of Shakur's magnitude have arisen. Taken together, these books show a black youth culture at a crossroads. What's next? --Mike Tribby

Choice Review

A bona fide member of the hip-hop generation, Kitwana (The Rap on Gangsta Rap, 1994) has his finger squarely on the pulse of hip-hop culture. Unlike many hip-hop writers, this former executive editor of The Source magazine does not romanticize or wax philosophically about the social problems unique to his contemporaries. Instead, Kitwana prefers to give an honest and often harshly critical assessment of the impact hip-hop has had, and continues to have, on African American youth culture. Drawing analogies between hip-hop culture and the devastating effects of such key social issues as drugs and incarceration, Kitwana has fashioned an intriguing study of the socioeconomic forces shaping the oft-confusing medley of ideologies emanating from the hip-hop generation. Not out to score brownie points by soft peddling issues (as far too many of his peers do), Kitwana admirably takes to task hip-hop icons Tupac Shakur and Mike Tyson for their misogynist points of view. The author also educates the non-hip hop reader. Most enlightening is his discourse on hip-hop activists like Ras Baraka, Donna Frisby-Greenwood, and Van Jones. Excellent for anyone interested in today's dominant youth culture. All levels/collections. W. Edwards SUNY College at Old Westbury

Table of Contents

Prefacep. xi
Acknowledgmentsp. xvii
Introduction: Confronting the Crises in African American Culturep. xix
Part 1 The New Crises in African American Culture
1 The New Black Youth Culture: The Emergence of the Hip-Hop Generationp. 3
2 America's Outcasts: The Employment Crisisp. 25
3 Race War: Policing, Incarceration, and the Containment of Black Youthp. 51
4 Where Did Our Love Go? The New War of the Sexesp. 85
5 Young, Don't Give a Fuck, and Black: Black Gangster Filmsp. 121
Part 2 Confronting the Crises in African American Culture
6 Activism in the Hip-Hop Generation: Redefining Social Responsibilityp. 145
7 The Politics of the Hip-Hop Generation: Identifying a Political Agendap. 175
8 The Challenge of Rap Music: From Cultural Movement to Political Powerp. 195
Indexp. 217