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It is in the in-between space they occupy that gangsta rappers signify (i.
The following remark by Lawrence Levine discusses nineteenth century attitudes but is relevant to contemporary gangsta rap artists:
For young gangsta rappers, however, even this short-lived feeling of dominance has appeal; and so, they covet the opportunity to obtain voice and power, the abstract `merits' of tricksters and Badmen.
Whereas gangsta rap represents the ideology of the Badmen, progressive rap loosely represents a late twentieth-century incarnation of the Jeremiad tradition, with hints of the griot.
Drawing on the examples of trickster and badmen figures, gangsta rap creates meaning through the violent and often self-destructive manipulation of structures and persons.
An early version of some of my thoughts on gangsta rap are expressed in my article "Gettin' Grown: Notes on Gangsta Rap Music and Notions of Manhood," in The journal of African American men.
Of less question is the gangsta style of groups such as [expletive] with Problems and solo acts such as The Boss who mirror the abusive attitudes and behavior of many male gangsta rappers.
Robin Kelley ("kickin' reality, kickin' ballistics: gangsta rap and post-industrial Los Angeles," 117-158, in William Eric Perkins, Droppin' science: Critical essays on rap music and hip hop culture [Philadelphia: Temple University Press, 1996]) and Rose 3, among others, make reference to the presence of the Badman attitude and antics in gangsta rap.
In some ways, gangsta rappers and "root workers" both make use of powerful words and symbols to bring about social change.
That is why, incongruous as it often seems, gangsta rap has come to provide the most articulate frame for black anger available to its young devotees.
The gangsta MC needs the ghetto to justify his every move and rhyme; without that constant appeal, he falls off, his career is over, he becomes a tired studio gangsta.
Like barometric pressure systems, separate but equal, in a prevailing weather front, the gangsta and the diva are ruling rival forces in black popular culture.