By John McWhorter
New York Time's
Gotham Books, June 2008
The Rap on Hip-Hop Mark Gauvreau Judge, American Spectator, August 1, 2008
... one genre of popular music, rap, is hugely popular while simultaneously boasting that
it is about social change and revolution. It is a claim that is demolished by John
McWhorter in his new book All About the Beat: Why Hip Hop Can't Save Black America.
McWhorter, a senior fellow at the Manhattan Institute, is actually a fan of hip-hop music;
thus his criticism of the form avoids the hysteria of some conservative condemnations
of rap. He knows the music of Outcast, Ice Cube , Pete Rock and Public Enemy.
The conclusion he draws is nuanced, but also blunt: Some hip-hop music is sonically
clever and lyrically poetic. But none of it has anything to do with revolution...
John McWhorter: the most unpopular black man in America? Clive Davis, Times of London, July 12, 2008
If Barack Obama is the most admired black man in America right now, it may be no exaggeration to say that John McWhorter is a candidate for the unpopularity prize. Which is an odd thing to say about a courteous academic from the arcane realm of linguistics. Yet by venturing onto the mean streets of hiphop with a dispassionate critique of a multimillion-dollar industry, he risks becoming a target of drive-by shootings by enraged academics, book reviewers and bloggers. . .
All about the Beat: Book Review Kam Williams, News Blaze, July 11, 2008
. . . I know that Mr. McWhorter's prior work has generally been dismissed by his detractors as the rants of an effete, out-of-touch, neo-con. I probably trashed a couple of his earlier books myself. However, this one is worth reading, if only for its highlighting a serious flaw in African-American culture which allows cadence to serve as a substitute for substance and critical thinking. . .
Hip-hop, the era, Saul Austerlitz, Boston Globe, June 22, 2008
'All About the Beat: Why Hip-Hop Can't Save Black America' Adam Mansbach, Los Angeles Times, June 19, 2008
Hip-Hop as a Political Movement? Don't Believe the Hype, John Rosenberg, New York Post, June 15, 2008
Review: All About The Beat: Why Hip-Hop Can't Save Black America,
Blog Critics Magazine, June 10, 2008
On one side I hear John McWhorter, and on the other side I hear Michael
Eric Dyson. In this book their voices come together because McWhorter
has put forth his hip-hop apolitical argument in sharp contrast to the
many political ones. In fact, Dyson provided the title of the book from
a debate when he said hip-hop was "all about the beat." In All
About the Beat, McWhorter prepares rip-roaring arguments against Dyson,
the very guru of hip-hop as politics. . .