Music is an expressive voice of a culture, often more so than literature. While jazz and rap are musical genres popular among people of numerous racial and social backgrounds, they are truly important historically for their representation of and impact upon African American culture and traditions. Essays offer interdisciplinary study of jazz and rap as they relate to black culture in America. The essays are grouped under sections. One examines an Afrocentric approach to understanding jazz and rap; another, the history, culture, performers, instruments, and political role of jazz and rap. There are sections on the expressions of jazz in dance and literature; rap music as art, social commentary, and commodity; and the future. Each essay offers insight and thoughtful discourse on these popular musical styles and their roles within the black community and in American culture as a whole. References are included for each essay.
James L. Conyers, Jr., is a winner of the Cheikh Anta Diop Ankh Award for Distinguished Research in the Discipline of African American Studies. He is the director of the African American Studies Program and university professor of African American Studies at the University of Houston.