Saturday, December 26, 2009

New York Ricans from the Hip Hop Zone by Raquel Z. Rivera

New York Ricans from the Hip Hop Zone is the first book to explore the Puerto Rican dimension of hip-hop. This volume explores the history of hip-hop music from the standpoint of the New York Puerto Rican community, which has been instrumental in its development.

New York Puerto Ricans have been an integral part of hip hop culture since the very beginning: from 1970s pioneers like Rock Steady Crew's Jo-Jo, to recent rap mega-stars Big Punisher and Angie Martinez. Yet, Puerto Rican participation and contributions to hip hop is frequently downplayed, if not completely ignored. When their presence has been acknowledged, it is usually misinterpreted as a defection from Puerto Rican culture and identity into the African American camp. But, Rivera argues nothing could be further from the truth. Through hip-hop, Puerto Ricans have simply stretched the boundaries of Puerto Ricanness and latinidad.

New York Ricans from the Hip Hop Zone breaks with the common assumption that, in terms of cultural history and artistic expression, Puerto Ricans share more with "Latinos" than with black communities. Using hip hop culture as a focal point, Rivera draws parallels—past and present—between African Americans and Puerto Ricans by highlighting their shared New York City history and their both being part of the African Diaspora in the Americas

Raquel has done the unthinkable—she has triumphed in creating what hip hop DJs normally call a remix. She has remixed history and shed light on a valuable coexistence that is normally shunned by the media—namely, Boriquas represent. —BOBBITO GARCIA, DJ Cucumberslice

"Big Pun, Fat Joe, Angie Martinez, La Bruja and many other Puerto Rican rappers speak out here in full voice, and the result is the most authoritative and exciting account of the Nuyorican role in hip hop to date."
—JUAN FLORES, author of From Bomba to Hip Hop: Puerto Rican Culture and Latino Identity

"Raquel untangles this wildly woven fabric called hip hop and uncovers the unbreakable strands of Puerto Ricans that have been in all the elements of hip hop since day one. Clap your hands everybody!!!"
—CHARLIE CHASE, pioneering DJ and MC, Cold Crush Brothers

"It's about time that a book has come out showing the contribution Puerto Ricans have made to the hip hop movement."
—JAMEL SHABAZZ, photographer, Back in the Days

"A much-needed examination of New York Puerto Ricans' essential contributions to and continued vitality in the hip hop universe. Rivera's edgy mix of academic research and inner-circle interviews help redefine the way we look at urban street culture."
—ED MORALES, author, Living in Spanglish

"Smart and provocative, New York Ricans from the Hip Hop Zone is written with clarity and style by someone who knows both hip hop and Puerto Rican culture from the inside out. Not only a must read, it's a great read."

Raquel Z. Rivera is a freelance journalist and has a Ph.D. in Sociology from the City University of New York Graduate Center.

Born and raised in San Juan, Puerto Rico, she has lived in New York City since 1994.

A freelance editor, translator and interpreter, her first love is writing. Her articles, stories and poetry have appeared in newspapers El Diario/La Prensa, Siempre and Hoy in New York, and El Nuevo Día, The San Juan Star and Claridad in Puerto Rico; and in magazines One World, Críticas, In the House and Stress.

Her academic work has been published in (University of Minnesota Press, 1997), Puerto Rican Jam: Essays on Puerto Rican Culture and PoliticsRevista de Ciencias Sociales (University of Puerto Rico, 1998), Mambo Montage: The Latinization of New York (Columbia University Press, 2001) and Latina/Latino Popular Culture (New York University Press, 2002).

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