The October/November 2016 issue of Living Blues features the griot of the blues Taj Mahal on the cover. At age 74 Taj Mahal is one of the biggest stars in the blues today. His musical and cultural knowledge is vast and his desire to share this lifetime of knowledge is his enduring legacy.
Brian Foster knows his way around the University of Mississippi. In fact, he won the Center’s Peter Aschoff Award for the best paper on Southern music in 2011 with his BA Honors thesis, “Crank Dat Soulja Boy: Understanding Black Male Hip-Hop Aspirations in Rural Mississippi.” This fall, the Center for the Study of Southern Culture and the Department of Sociology and Anthropology welcome him back as a new assistant professor of sociology and Southern Studies. Foster returns to the university from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill where he earned his MA and began his PhD work. Prior to entering UNC-Chapel Hill Foster earned his bachelor’s degree from the University of Mississippi.
Brown Bag Lecture Series Analyzes Songs Sept. 28 The Brown Bag Lunch and Lecture Series continues Wednesday, Sept. 28 with three faculty members who offer 10-minute analyses of individual songs of their choice. The format is an experiment to see what scholars can accomplish in a short time. Presenters, who will announce their songs as …
Beginning in the late 1980s, southern hip-hop and rap effectively trumped contemporary R&B as the foremost popular urban music trend. A regional response to the then-burgeoning East and West Coast hip-hop scenes, purveyors of southern rap simultaneously surfaced in cities ranging from Atlanta and Miami to New Orleans, Memphis, and Houston. Although many older music fans downplay the significance and artistic credibility of the genre, southern rap—created by an MC, or rapper, and a DJ, or producer—has emerged as a primary motivator in the youth market, influencing fashion, language, the mass media, and other facets of commercial and popular culture. Similarly, southern rap artists have become avatars of pop culture in their own right, receiving consistent radio airplay, crossing over to film and television roles, and emerging as popular personalities in the marketing and advertising fields.
Up today, an academic article by new Southern Studies faculty member Brian Foster. His article “Everybody Gotta Have a Dream”: Rap-centered Aspirations among Young Black Males Involved in Rap Music Production – A Qualitative Study” was published in 2014 in Issues in Race and Ethnicity: An Interdisciplinary Global Journal.
In honor of our Friday conversation and concert with Marco Pavé and Alfred Banks, we’re going to share some articles by scholars who do work on hip hop. Up first, Zandria Robinson’s entry on “Crunk and Hip-Hop” for the Music volume of the New Encyclopedia of Southern Culture, published in 2008. Robinson is Assistant Professor of Sociology at Rhodes College. Author of This Ain’t Chicago: Race, Class, and Regional Identity in the Post-Soul South, she was a professor of Southern Studies and Sociology at the Center from 2009 to 2012.
The Center will present “Bar-b-que and Gumbo: Hip-Hop Politics in Two River Cities,” a discussion with Marco Pavé of Memphis and Alfred Banks of New Orleans as part of their River Kings Tour on Friday, September 2 at 2pm in Lamar Hall 326 on the UM campus. Kiese Laymon will moderate the conversation. Co-sponsors include the UM Department of Music, UM African American Studies Program, the UM Department of Sociology and Anthropology, and the Winter Institute.
The August/September #244 issue of Living Blues shines a spotlight on the state of the blues in Jackson, Mississippi. Supported by a generous grant from the Jackson Convention and Visitors Bureau, this special edition of LB documents an under-the-radar, yet thriving local scene—one whose influential roots run deep.