At the time this 1996 book was published, editor William Eric Perkins was a Faculty Fellow at the W.E.B. Du Bois College House at the University of Pennsylvania, and an Adjunct Professor of Communications at Hunter College.
He writes in the Preface book, "No one has analyzed the complex interior of hip-hop culture, surveyed its many genres and personalities, examined its effect on the large white market, or acknowledged hip hop internationalization. The essayists in this book address those deficiencies and together put rap and hip hop culture into a wider framework of media and culture. They discuss the ongoing controversies about rap music within the context of contemporary debates about racial, class, and gender politics. With an acute historical vision, the contributors look at and beyond the rapidly changing trends in popular music. Their essays examine rap's significance to its makers and consumers as well as its cultural implications beyond music. Who makes this music and why? What does the making of this form of cultural expression mean in this time and place?"
Here are some quotations from the book:
"This (digital) technological breakthrough allowed DJs to exploit an infinite number of samples from vinyl, advertising jingles, television sitcom themes, and movie sound tracks. It is sampling and mixing that gives rap music its self-renewing character." (Pg. 8)
"More often than not, 'G-boys' are simply out to get paid, making funky jeep music, practicing the ancient art of playing the dozens, trying to be funny, and giving the people what they want. And when they address the problems of inner-city communities, we have to keep in mind that their sharpest critiques of capitalist America are derived from the same social and economic contexts that led a lot of homies to distrust black women and each other." (Pg. 147-148)
"The Beastie Boys' album Licensed to Ill offers a set of songs that, heard today, sound less like rap than like a postmodern potpourri of styles from blues-metal to sampled sounds, all borrowed, of course, from Black sources. It is inauthentic as rap because the appropriations lack the effrontery that inspired the first rap artists." (Pg. 189)