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Chronicling Stankonia

The Rise of the Hip-Hop South

By Regina Bradley

136 pp., 6.125 x 9.25, notes, index

  • Paperback ISBN: 978-1-4696-6196-4
    Published: February 2021
  • Hardcover ISBN: 978-1-4696-6195-7
    Published: February 2021
  • eBook ISBN: 978-1-4696-6197-1
    Published: January 2021

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This vibrant book pulses with the beats of a new American South, probing the ways music, literature, and film have remixed southern identities for a post–civil rights generation. For scholar and critic Regina N. Bradley, Outkast’s work is the touchstone, a blend of funk, gospel, and hip-hop developed in conjunction with the work of other culture creators—including T.I., Kiese Laymon, and Jesmyn Ward. This work, Bradley argues, helps define new cultural possibilities for black southerners who came of age in the 1980s and 1990s and have used hip-hop culture to buffer themselves from the historical narratives and expectations of the civil rights era. André 3000, Big Boi, and a wider community of creators emerge as founding theoreticians of the hip-hop South, framing a larger question of how the region fits into not only hip-hop culture but also contemporary American society as a whole.

Chronicling Stankonia reflects the ways that culture, race, and southernness intersect in the late twentieth and early twenty-first centuries. Although part of southern hip-hop culture remains attached to the past, Bradley demonstrates how younger southerners use the music to embrace the possibility of multiple Souths, multiple narratives, and multiple points of entry to contemporary southern black identity.

About the Author

Regina N. Bradley is an alumna Nasir Jones Hiphop Fellow at Harvard University and an assistant professor of English and African diaspora studies at Kennesaw State University.
For more information about Regina Bradley, visit the Author Page.

Reviews

“With vivid narrative and critical analysis, Bradley presents an innovative examination of the profound legacy and influence of Southern hip hop music and culture.” —Ms. Magazine

“[Bradley] is less interested in writing a biography tracing the short reign of the South’s greatest rap group. . . . and more fascinated with why OutKast matters. . . . [As] Bradley maintains, Big Boi and André continue to influence a new era of outkasted artists—musicians, filmmakers, and authors, most notably two of the best American writers working today: Kiese Laymon and Jesmyn Ward. . . . The best parts of this short book of essays find Bradley reminiscing about her own outkastedness.” —A.V. Club

Chronicling Stankonia is the book that Regina N. Bradley was meant to write. She has emerged in recent years as one of the best scholars of Southern hip hop, and she is able to create discussion in really accessible ways that are fun to read without sacrificing any challenging concepts. It all comes through in a really impactful book that I’m sure we’ll be referencing for years to come.” –Chi Chi Thalken, Scratched Vinyl

Chronicling Stankonia is an engaging read, one that adroitly balances rigorous academic research with a deeply personal narrative about Black life and art in the post-Civil Rights Era in the South.”—The Arts Fuse

"A brilliant, beautifully written, creatively innovative, and field-shifting work.... Bradley is already recognized as one of the key figures in the study of the contemporary black South. This book solidifies the centrality of the South to hip-hop studies and Bradley to the future of the field."—Imani Perry, author of May We Forever Stand: A History of the Black National Anthem

"Regina Bradley has written a classic. In Chronicling Stankonia, Bradley cements herself as the most incisive contemporary critic of black southern sound and literature in the nation. Bradley is what Ellison calls the 'Little Man at the Chehaw Station.' We’ve needed a reader and listener with her inventive literary range to actually show us the inventive origins and possibilities of this music and culture we critically love. Chronicling Stankonia is the beautiful, rigorous intervention we've been waiting two decades for."—Kiese Laymon, author of Heavy