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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

"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

"Part autobiography, part music analysis, part literary criticism, Chronicling Stankonia masterfully engages the intellectual tradition of Southern hip-hop—OutKast, specifically—as integral to understanding the post–civil rights South. Rejecting popular conceptions of the contemporary black South as monolithic and muted, Bradley reminds us ’the South still got something to say’ and trains our ears to hear it reverberating across the deep bass, the funky harmonies, and the inimitable flow of the hip-hop South."—Justin D. Burton, author of Posthuman Rap