Chronicling Stankonia

The Rise of the Hip-Hop South

By Regina Bradley

136 pp., 6.125 x 9.25, notes, index

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

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Awards & distinctions

Shortlisted, 2022 Ralph J. Gleason Music Book Award, Rock & Roll Hall of Fame, New York University's Clive Davis Institute of Recorded Music, and The Pop Conference

A Rolling Stone best music book of 2021

A Reckon South best book to come out of the South

An Atlanta Magazine Best of Atlanta for 2021

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

"This treatise from leading Southern hip-hop scholar Regina N. Bradley is a revelatory collection of essays—part literary criticism, part sonic analysis, part personal memoir—that serves as an overdue and thrilling intervention on the NYC/L.A.-centric canon of hip-hop criticism. . . . A masterful work of criticism."—Rolling Stone

“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

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

“[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

"...The brisk, ebullient Chronicling Stankonia finds Regina N. Bradley deftly spinning tales of hip hop’s rise in the American south, with OutKast the chief protagonist."--Boulder Weekly

"Using OutKast’s discography as a reference of sorts, Dr. Bradley’s latest book helps define new cultural pathways 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 sometimes crushing expectations of the civil rights era."—Atlanta Magazine