Guest Star: "I Don't Think All These Hip-Hop Books Make Hip-Hop More Real"
Thursday, Nov 18, 2010 4:20PM
[With this week's release of Jay-Z's Decoded, contributor dream hampton shares her input on the trend of artists putting their lyrics into written form.]
Even as a writer, I don't privilege the written word over the [spoken] word. I don't think that a culture is less valid because it's primarily oral and I don't think that all of these hip-hop books validate or make hip-hop more real or more important. Hip-Hop would be just as important as it is without anybody writing a book.
With that said, there are a million ways that, because of someone like Jay-Z, hip-hop is becoming more formalized. And that was inevitable. We're 30 years into this at least and it was just inevitable that hip-hop would make its way into universities and [grade school], and that it would be used to teach texts and all of the things that's evolved to do.
So I think this is a book, Decoded, that teachers will be able to use at a university or in [K-12] as texts to talk about stuff like an allusion, double entendres, self-reflection. I still think that it could have been done with it just as a recording, but this makes it easier.