James Braxton Petersen
Hip Hop Figures
Nasir Jones Hiphop Fellow
James Braxton Peterson is the Director of Africana Studies and Professor of English at Lehigh University. He is the author of several books, The Hip Hop Underground and African American Culture, Prison Industrial Complex for Beginners and Hip Hop Headphones: A Scholar’s Critical Playlist. Peterson hosts “The Remix” on Philadelphia’s NPR affiliate, WHYY. “The Remix” is a podcast that engages issues at the intersection of race, politics, and popular culture. Peterson has written for Newsweek.com, The Guardian, The LA Times, Reuters, and The Daily Beast and The Grio. He is a media commentator and has appeared on MSNBC, Al-Jazeera, CNN, HLN, Fox News, and other networks as an expert on race, politics, and popular culture.
Hip Hop Figures
My proposed research project, Hip Hop Figures, is a collection of interviews, new essays as well as previously published essays that continues to explore the intersections between the lyrics of rap music and various aspects of African American culture and the lived experience of Black folks in America. The sampling of James Brown’s music, the ways in which Emmett Till haunts Hip Hop culture, the significance of suicide as a form of resistance at the intersections of black literature and rap music, the odes to space/place in Hip Hop or the life and death of Biggie Smalls all become subjects for analysis in Hip Hop Figures. This work might accurately be accused of having a morbid obsession with Hip Hop culture, as so much of Hip Hop Figures attempts to make some sense of the mortal ethos that underwrites the lives of the culture’s artisans, the lyrics of their music, and at times the very production of the music itself.
Spring 2018: Nasir Jones Hiphop Fellow