Kanye West is Not the First Postmodern Rapper

In the build-up to Tuesday’s release of his new album, some critics are calling Kanye West the first postmodern rapper.

No.

Postmodernity is rap’s DNA: self-referential, sonic decoupage, even self-conscious. You can’t watch or listen to “The Message” without feeling this in your bones.  That the Old School was also sincere is a bonus.

Modernity bred racism and slavery.  Rap deconstructs (Bad Boy videos of the late 90s, focused so thoroughly on image, not withstanding).  I haven’t even said Busta, Missy, or Beasties, yet.

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