Cover

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Half Title, Title Page, Copyright, Dedication

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Contents

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pp. vii-viii

Figures and Table

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pp. ix-x

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Introduction

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pp. 1-14

“So, when did you fall in love with hip-hop?”
My father, my brother, and I were on our way to my aunt’s house in the South Bronx, on Fox Street and Westchester Avenue. It was 1999. I knew very little about the Bronx. Since emigrating to the United States from Ghana only a few years earlier, ...

Part I. The Beginnings of a Boundary

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1. Herc: The New Cool in the Bronx

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pp. 17-50

There is an age-old story that hip-hop began at 1520 Sedgwick Avenue in the South Bronx on August 11, 1973, at a party hosted by Cindy Campbell. As the story goes, Cindy’s main motivation was to supplement her paycheck from the Neighborhood Youth Corps so she could buy new clothes for school. She rented the recreation room in her apartment building, ...

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2. South Bronx DJs vs. Other DJs

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pp. 51-78

After Herc, Afrika Bambaataa and Grandmaster Flash were the next two DJs to become well known in the South Bronx. It was not inevitable, as hip-hop folklore would have us believe, that Bambaataa should follow Herc, and that Flash should follow Bambaataa. After Herc, others attempted to use DJing to gain fame, but none approached Herc’s level of success, ...

Part II. The Development of an Internal Logic

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3. Creating Conventions

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pp. 81-108

At this juncture of the established narrative of hip-hop’s early history—circa 1975—most historians jump to 1979, when the Sugar Hill Gang released “Rapper’s Delight.” One reason for this omission is lack of data. Herc, Flash, and Bambaataa, have been interviewed on numerous occasions, so there is an abundance of information about their contributions to the creation of hip-hop. ...

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4. Crews and Outside Influences

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pp. 109-134

This section of the book argues that the creation of conventions allows an emerging entity to endure over time; it also illustrates that well-bounded entities create an affinity among their participants and exert influence on the individuals involved in making the entities. The previous chapter showed how individual attributes of the DJing styles of Herc, ...

Part III. Symbolic Capital in the New Entity

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5. Race, Gender, and the Pursuit of Recognition

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pp. 137-163

Part I of this book explored the beginnings of a new entity—the development of random sites of difference and the way they lined up to create proto-boundaries. Part II examined the ways in which these boundaries became stronger when an internal logic, in the form of conventions, developed within the scene; ...

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6. MCs Take the Stage

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pp. 164-186

When we think of hip-hop today, it is the MCs (or the rappers), such as Jay-Z or Nicki Minaj, who come to mind. DJs and producers, such as DJ Drama, Timbaland, and Swizz Beats, are also popular, but, by and large, the MCs are the “main characters” of hip-hop. As we know by this point in the present book’s narrative, this has not always been the case. ...

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Conclusion

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pp. 187-194

I was waiting for my return flight to the United States, after spending the spring semester of my junior year in college in Ecuador, when, to my surprise, the television above me started playing a video by Common. It was a video I had never seen, a new single from his highly anticipated album produced by fellow Chicagoan Kanye West. ...

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Acknowledgments

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pp. 195-198

The idea for this book was not mine—it was yours, Mustafa Emirbayer. I’m the second of your students to begin the acknowledgments of their first book with such a sentence. We, your students, are a testament to how wonderful you are as an advisor. Thank you for your unending support for my intellectual growth. ...

Glossary of Terms

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pp. 199-202

Notes

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pp. 203-232

Index

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pp. 233-245