Chapter

From a Cool Complex to Complex Cool

in Thug Life

Published by University of Chicago Press

Published in print January 2011 | ISBN: 9780226395845
Published online March 2013 | e-ISBN: 9780226395869 | DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.7208/chicago/9780226395869.003.0003
From a Cool Complex to Complex Cool

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This chapter presents a textual analysis that rappers produce a collective racial discourse which is not necessarily oppositional. This points toward a new and more complicated definition of coolness that draws on multiple understandings of black coolness both as the performance of composure and detachment as coping strategy, and as the aspiration to a luminous and perhaps spiritual bodily state. Hip-hop performances build a publicly conflicted discourse of black masculinity. Hood-making, or building the universal hood through affirmation of local hood experience, applies to race-making, or building notions of blackness from specific racialized experiences. The significance of the American Dream myth to blacks is then addressed. It is noted that the seeds of authenticity's undoing are always present in its social and performative construction.

Keywords: black coolness; rappers; hip-hop; black masculinity; hood-making; American Dream; authenticity

Chapter.  8630 words. 

Subjects: Popular Music

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