Monday

Hip-Hop Japan by Ian Condry

Ian Condry did a painstaking amount of research for Hip-Hop Japan, which covers a lot of bases and covers them well. One of the most interesting debates in the book involves the concept of keeping it real. Since we’re in America we have our American version of it, but in Japan they have groups with two differing opinions on the subject, one feeling keeping it real means keeping it American Hip-Hop and staying true to its roots, while the other feels keeping it real refers to the idea of keeping it Japanese and true to one’s own essence. Another interesting item in Hip-Hop Japan is that MCs are taking on the Japanese government which has adjusted history books in an attempt to create a more patriotic country. Hip-Hop Japan also covers the typical battles between commercial and underground, going pop and staying Hip-Hop, and the added struggle for female artists to try to get on. The lone issue I had with the book is that the language used in it doesn’t make for easy reading. You really have to concentrate as the author uses, in my opinion, far too many SAT words and not enough universal language, which is ironic since the entire idea of the book involves globalization. That being said, for anyone interested in how Hip-Hop arrived, spread, and is currently treated, in Japan this is a very informative read.

4 comments:

Ian Maxwell said...

What on earth do you mean by 'universal language'? Have I missed something? Did we all decide on a universal language while I was out?

Adam Bernard said...

By universal language I mean in terms everyone can understand (i.e. universal). A lot of people don't have extensive college backgrounds or fancy diplomas, so the rampant use of SAT words in the book could make for slow reading for some.

maskara said...

Nice posting. I definitely agree with your last comment. I as an international student had hard time understanding the writing because of the writer's massive use of hard vocabs. It took me quite a bit time to look up all those vocabs in dictionary.

Woody Blockhead said...

Adam, you seem to feel it important that an author not challenge your reading level too much. But, you know, words have nuances, and specific constructions of words, which may indeed at times be hard to follow, can present realities that "see Judy run" cannot. It's hard to take a book review seriously from someone who doesn't understand the innate values of language.