Pulse of the People
Political Rap Music and Black PoliticsUniversity of Pennsylvania Press American Governance: Politics, Policy, and Public Law
Hip-Hop music encompasses an extraordinarily diverse range of approaches to politics. Some rap and Hip-Hop artists engage directly with elections and social justice organizations; others may use their platform to call out discrimination, poverty, sexism, racism, police brutality, and other social ills. In Pulse of the People, Lakeyta M. Bonnette illustrates the ways rap music serves as a vehicle for the expression and advancement of the political thoughts of urban Blacks, a population frequently marginalized in American society and alienated from electoral politics.
Pulse of the People lays a foundation for the study of political rap music and public opinion research and demonstrates ways in which political attitudes asserted in the music have been transformed into direct action and behavior of constituents. Bonnette examines the history of rap music and its relationship to and extension from other cultural and political vehicles in Black America, presenting criteria for identifying the specific subgenre of music that is political rap. She complements the statistics of rap music exposure with lyrical analysis of rap songs that espouse Black Nationalist and Black Feminist attitudes. Touching on a number of critical moments in American racial politics—including the 2008 and 2012 elections and the cases of the Jena 6, Troy Davis, and Trayvon Martin—Pulse of the People makes a compelling case for the influence of rap music in the political arena and greatly expands our understanding of the ways political ideologies and public opinion are formed.
Introduction. Watch for the Hook
Chapter 1. Behind the Music: Black Political Attitudes and Rap Music
Chapter 2. Music and Political Resistance: The Cultural Foundation of Black Politics
Chapter 3. It's Bigger Than Hip-Hop: Rap Music and Black Nationalism
Chapter 4. Beyond the Music: Black Feminism and Rap Music
Chapter 5. The Future of Politics: The Implications of Rap Music and Political Attitudes
Conclusion. It's Still Bigger Than Hip-Hop: The Future of Rap and Politics
1. Political Rap Songs
2. HSAN and BPP Demands
"Pulse of the People masterfully marries political psychology scholarship and research methods with the growing literature on the ever increasing impact of Hip-Hop culture both nationally and globally."—Melanye Price, Rutgers University