It's Bigger Than Hip Hop The Rise of the Post-Hip-Hop Generation

M. K. Asante, Jr.

St. Martin's Griffin



Trade Paperback

304 Pages



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In It's Bigger Than Hip Hop, M.K. Asante, Jr. looks at the rise of a generation that sees beyond the smoke and mirrors of corporate-manufactured hip hop and is building a movement that will change not only the face of pop culture, but the world.

Asante, a young firebrand poet, professor, filmmaker, and activist who represents this movement, uses hip hop as a springboard for a larger discussion about the urgent social and political issues affecting the post-hip-hop generation, a new wave of youth searching for an understanding of itself outside the self-destructive, corporate hip-hop monopoly.

Through insightful anecdotes, scholarship, personal encounters, and conversations with youth across the globe as well as icons such as Chuck D and Maya Angelou, Asante illuminates a shift that can be felt in the crowded spoken-word joints in post-Katrina New Orleans, seen in the rise of youth-led organizations committed to social justice, and heard around the world chanting "It's bigger than hip hop."


Praise for It's Bigger Than Hip Hop

"An empowering book that moves you to action and to question status quo America. Reading It's Bigger Than Hip Hop is motoring through a new generation of America with one of its best storytellers."—Ari Bloomekatz, Los Angeles Times

"M.K. Asante, Jr. combines drive, skill and a commitment that buoys us all. The hip hop community should feel extremely blessed to have those qualities attached to its forward movement."—Chuck D.

"M.K. Asante, Jr. is a rare, remarkable talent that brings to mind the great artists of the Harlem Renaissance."—The Philadelphia Inquirer

"This is the book that many of us have been waiting for. The wisdom and overstanding he exemplifies in this work will astound the reader as he opens a third eye and breaks it all down. Extremely well-researched, well documented and very well written, this book is well paced and will have no difficulty holding the reader's attention."—Hip Hop Weekly

"Nothing can be said about the young M.K. Asante Jr. if not that he is a visionary. The 23-year-old professor, poet and filmmaker believes hip-hop can save us all. The North Philly native argues that hip-hop is a misunderstood weapon of social change in the fight for racial equality, which has been colonized by the corporate media and sold back to Americans as 'Authentic Black Culture.'"—Campbell States, Philadelphia City Paper

"Asante brilliantly places hip hop on a continuum of musical creations originating in the rich experience of black Americans . . . One of the most striking parts of the book comes when Asante shows how media images have powerfully shaped not only the older generation's vision of black youth, but black youth's vision of themselves. In a skillful pun, the author points how the 'reel' images—on television and film, in magazine, and on the radio—have replaced the 'real' even as those who pretend to be real are only performing for the reel."—Markland Walker, The New Agenda

"M.K. Asante, Jr. takes a bold and extremely engaging step, defining a new era for young Black America in the wake of commercial hip hop's demise. With It's Bigger Than Hip Hop, he begins a new, groundbreaking dialogue about what the post-hip-hop generation is fighting against and what direction that group needs to be headed in."—Marcus Reeves, author of Somebody Scream! Rap Music's Rise to Prominence in the Aftershock of Black Power

"Positive young artist tries to show the way forward for oppressed African-Americans. Asante joins the throng of idealistic young academics, black and white, desperate to find messages of hope and change amidst the monotonous bluster and carnage of much hip-hop . . . He rightly bemoans the way in which hip-hop's calls for change have been swallowed by the white-owned consumerist maw. He's also correct in noting the ways in which the modern media-corporate-government Panopticon creates a near-inescapable matrix of oppression, from racist drug laws to for-profit prisons, that keeps black America in the ghetto."—Kirkus Reviews

"As the title suggests, poet Asante looks at hip-hop as not just a type of music but a cultural force. He envisions hip-hop—a phrase probably derived, he notes, from the African Wolof word hipi, to open one's eyes and see, and an Old English word that means to spring into action—being used as a tool for social change. Hip-hop started in the poor, urban African American community of the Bronx, New York, in the activists' and was rooted in social activism. Asante argues that contemporary mainstream hip-hop does not adequately address the issues of the black community and that artists (or 'artivists') who deal with real social issues (e.g., poverty, drugs, police brutality) are censored by the larger corporations that control and own the distribution of music. Asante expertly blends historical information about hip-hop and the civil rights movement with personal narrative, interviews with artists, and quotations from civil rights leaders and classic poetry to create an original and daring work. This well-researched book is recommended for . . . academic libraries."—Jennifer Zarr, Library Journal

Reviews from Goodreads



  • M. K. Asante, Jr.

  • M.K. Asante, Jr. is an award-winning poet, filmmaker and creative writing and screenwriting professor at Morgan State University. He is also the author of Like Water Running Off My Back and Beautiful. And Ugly Too. His films include the internationally acclaimed documentary, 500 Years Later and The Black Candle.

  • M. K. Asante Jr.