The Dozens: A History of Rap's Mama (Anglais) Relié – 1 juin 2012
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Wald is best known as a music historian -- in my opinion, his "Escaping the Delta" is the best blues book of the past twenty years -- so this book is, to a certain extent, new territory for him. Of course, the tradition of the dozens has connections to music history including jazz musicians' cutting contests and the battles of hip-hop culture, and these connections helped to pique Wald's original interest in the subject. But that's just the starting point -- the book explores (at hilarious length) not just the African-American tradition of ritual insults but its counterparts in other countries and throughout history. Don't think you'd be interested -- too esoteric? You'd be wrong.
You'll find yourself fascinated by topics in which you may have had no previous interest, partly because it's just funny stuff, but partly because Wald is a genius at this kind of thing. I consider him a sort of "stealth scholar," presenting extremely well-researched material (the details are all there in the end notes if you want them) but in a very informal and entertaining way. It's as if Christo were to drape a pyramid with sari silk -- you know there's a solid and enduring structure under there, but the surface is colorful, textured, always flowing.
Even if your interest in African-American music and history is fairly casual, I feel certain you'll enjoy "The Dozens." (And, of course, so will yo' mama.)
I tip my hat to Mr. Wald for doing such a wonderful job helping many of us better understand the nature of the "Dozens". If you are a teacher or someone that works closely with African American youth, you will better understand the language and taunts that you often overhear, but come away with the thought that these kids are crude and rude. If you are so willing, reading Mr. Wald's book will provide you the knowledge to use the "Dozens" as teachable moments in writing, language, debating, and life. Enjoy the read and the laughs!