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Where You're At


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Patrick Neate's Twelve Bar Blues won the Whitbread Novel Award His new novel, The London Pigeon Wars, is out now

About the Author

Patrick Neate has written two novels, MUSUNGU JIM AND THE GREAT CHIEF TULOKO and TWELVE BAR BLUES, which won the Whitbread Novel of the Year Award 2001. He is also a prolific and highly respected music journalist.


British novelist Neate (The London Pigeon Wars) embarks on a series of planet-banding, gonzo-esque urban investigations to answer that truly Nietzschean question: is hip-hop dead? First stop: New York City, hip-hop's birthplace but now a dead zone owing to the presence of media conglomerates like Viacom. On to Tokyo, whose teenagers gleefully consume every ounce of commercial American hip-hop culture they are fed, then Rio de Janeiro, where the favelas (shantytowns) foster rock-infused rap that protests the government. In investigating these and other cultures, Neate reveals that each is so much simpler than ours in certain ways but eternally more sophisticated in others. This is education in the best sense, complete with humor and footnotes; Neate has the air of Michael Palin at his globe-trotting best. Only one complaint: the lack of an accompanying audio CD. Highly recommended for most academic, public, community center, correctional institution, and large church libraries; this makes a fine companion to the more scholarly Global Noise: Rap and Hip-Hop Outside the USA. [See "The Rap on Hip-Hop," p. 47.]-Bill Piekarski, Lackawanna, NY Copyright 2004 Reed Business Information.

'A dazzling study of hip-hop ... illuminating and passionate throughout' Observer 'Neate's boundless enthusiasm and positivity proves oddly infectious... this is thoughtful stuff: think Eminem rather than Vanilla Ice' Q 'Patrick Neate takes us on a very personal tour of hip hop...this is the story of a genuine 'culture' told by a genuine enthusiast. A brilliant read, even if you know jack about hip hop' X-Ray 'Neate tells it like it is ... This is a heartening appreciation of a wondrous thing: poetry for the masses. Neate loves it and so should you' The Times

At first glance, one might not expect a British novelist to be a particularly insightful commentator on hip-hop, "the most elemental expression of contemporary America." But starting with a description of his first encounter with a rap record in the mid-1980s, Neate displays a sympathy and sensitivity to the musical genre many American critics would be hard-pressed to match. A trek to examine hip-hop's global influence begins with a visit to New York-and a willing acknowledgment that this city is only one facet of the complex American hip-hop scene. Neate's recognition of his own limitations increases his credibility as he drops in on the subcultures in Japan, South Africa and Brazil to see how fans are "keeping it real." He sees in hip-hop a powerful voice of protest against the status quo and is adamant about the need for its creators to wrest financial control of their music away from multinational media companies. His recommendation that American hip-hop artists start cultivating a deeper global political consciousness may come across as overly didactic, but it's the culmination of a consistent awareness of the ways in which non-Americans are already using the music to describe and define their lives. (Aug.) FYI: Neate won the Whitbread Award in 2002; his latest novel, The London Pigeon Wars, is currently out from FSG. Copyright 2004 Reed Business Information.

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