Culture: urban American
* Richardson 2007 p221
"Gangsta rap was regarded by some critics as a rap fad that would soon pass -- in much the same way that rap itself was heralded as an art form that would eventually lose its popular appeal. The form maintained its viability in the wake of the tragic deaths of its key practitioners such as Tupac Shakur and Biggie Smalls in part through the development of the genre in the South. Though the popularity of the genre has waned in recent years, its regional shift from the West to the South in the late 1990s helps explain why the current movement in southern rap was initially replete with references to 'gangstas' and 'playas.'
"It is important to recognize the references to 'gangstas' and 'playas' that were prevalent within the early hardcore, gangsta style of southern rap as a response among some artists to longstanding perceptions in broader rap discourse of such terms as being incompatible with black southern male identity. Blakk's efforts to cast the gangsta as southern, which mirror larger trends in the southern rap genre, are successful, it would seem, in helping to inscribe this type within a more diverse geography in the national context and to dislodge its significations that have been primarily associated with urban contexts. We can recognize the 'gangsta' concept as a culturally indigenous example of black masculine fashioning. At a linguistic level, it appropriates and revises 'gangster,' of course, a word primarily attached to white masculine organized crime and racketeering circuits in the nation's urban areas in the early decades of the twentieth century, which consolidated during Prohibition. In general, rap discourse's resignification of the 'gangsta' recalls the related term 'nigga,' which attempts to revise and unsettle the historical racist epithet 'nigger' while affirming friendship and community among black men. Furthermore, the gangsta recuperates the outlaw sensibility associated with the 'bad Negro' in African American cultural history. Southernized, the 'gangsta' helps reverse this type's characteristic urbanization that was typical in the twentieth century and revives its southern folk dimensions."
* Presdee 2000 p130-131
In hip-hop and rap these is no need for special legislation to control and criminalise both music and culture, since the way of life that is 'talked of', that makes up the story of the lives of the performers in a musical and rhythmic form, is already criminalised. Indeed what better way of saying the unsayable, of stating the illegal in a legal form, than bringing the reactions of those in poverty and those from minority groups forward through the carnivalesque qualities of hip-hop and rap. [...]
"It is the political and economic realities of life outside of 'polite' society that are reflected in rap as it analyses and celebrates the 'otherness' of poverty and struggle. It celebrates the cultural 'answer' to ascribed social position and economic survival, which includes the legal and illegal acquisition of wealth, the struggle not just for work but the struggle at work. It reflects oppression both through education and through policing and the struggle for 'respect' in life. It not only emphasises suffering but is also a celebration of leisure time as the time free from the industrial processes of production. And it is in the 'street' where others daren't go that hip-hop and rap culture is lived and comes to life. The aim is to be 'street-wise', to survive with 'dignity' and 'respect' amongst your own, without 'selling out'."
* Richardson 2007 p222
"Perhaps more than anything, the violence and looting in the city of New Orleans that emerged after Hurricane Katrina points to the real-life consequences of gangsta posturing among some young black men, as do the high murder rates in the city, and reveal the harm they can do. It was, in fact, unconscionable and unthinkable that, in some cases, armed youth in the city were the ones who hampered desperate rescue efforts and attempts to save lives after the hurricane. In the aftermath, some critics' responses addressed the media's emphasis on the violence in the city and pointed out how these representations reinforced racial stereotypes in some instances, particularly of young black men. But they typically failed to acknowledge the serious threats that such bands of youth posed to human safety and to acknowledge the dire moral crisis that such behavior demonstrated."
* Sims 2006 July 17 online
"Grillz (also known as fronts) slide over existing teeth and consist of metals and/or precious stones such as platinum and diamonds. Depending on the stone, metal and number of teeth to be fronted, prices can range anywhere from $50 to several thousand. Predecessors to grillz weren't easily removable and involved reshaping the tooth to accommodate a new crown, often in gold, silver or platinum. Now, custom grillz require a dental mold upon which the metal and stones are mounted."
* Jones 2006 January 31 online
"Fronts have been a staple in the hip-hop world since Slick Rick and Flava Flav wore them back in the 1980s. By the 1990s, members of the Staten Island hip-hop collective the Wu-Tang Clan would sport them, but the look really took off with the help of the Southern hip-hop craze. Master P., Baby, Ludacris, and Lil Jon all often flash sparkling smiles."
"Stop Snitchin'" Shirt
* Natapoff 2009 p7-8
"In 2004, a home-made DVD entitled 'Stop Snitching' circulated through the streets of Baltimore, exhorting criminals to stop cooperating with police in exchange for lenience deals. Because NBA basketball star Carmelo Anthony appeared briefly in the video, it garnered national media attention and concern over the antipolice connotations of the 'stop snitching' motto. A line of 'stop snitching' t-shirts spread rapidly to other cities. These shirts -- popular among urban youth and hip hop fans -- were widely seen as promoting a street 'code of silence' and triggered a public backlash. Years later, the 'stop snitching' motto remains a subject of deep contention. Resonating in cities such as East Harlem, Boston, and Pittsburgh, it has become part of the historic dialogue over the distrust between police and residents of high-crime minority communities."
* Natapoff 2009 p122-123
"[T]he video spawned a new rash of 'stop snitching' t-shirts -- usually the word 'SNITCH' circled in red and crossed out like a no-smoking sign, or sometimes just 'STOP SNITCHING' emblazoned in large letters. The t-shirts had been spotted in other cities, but after the DVD a large number appeared in Baltimore as well as Boston, Pittsburgh, and Milwaukee, and the media took notice. In turn, several high-profile events made the 'stop snitching' t-shirt a cultural icon in its own right. In 2005 in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, an assault victim named Rayco Saunders wore a t-shirt to the trial of his alleged assaulters. Fearing that the shirt would disrupt the trial, the prosecutor had Saunders removed from the courthouse. Eventually the cases against the three defendants were dismissed for the lack of Saunders's cooperation. ...
"That same year in Boston, Mayor Thomas Menino tried to ban the shirts, arguing that they were impeding law enforcement and intimidating witnesses. 'We're going into every retail store that sells the shirts and removing them,' Mayor Menino declared. Although the city backed off the ban after the ACLU objected, several stores took the shirts off the shelves."
* Anderson 2005 online
* Batheja 2007 online
* Bernstein 2005 online
* Brown 2005
* Cooper 2007 online
* Hampson 2006 oline
* Kahn 2007 online
* Siddique 2007 online
* White 2005 online