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date: 17 January 2019

Abstract and Keywords

This essay attends to the sonic atmospheres hip hop invents to explore affects and scenes that may have gone underseen and undertheorized. In a disruption of the 1990s hip hop canon, I focus on Bone-Thugs-n-Harmony and DMX (rather than Pac and Biggie) in order to think with more specificity about how hip hop confronts, dodges, or disrupts what it means to feel pain, joy, restlessness, nervousness, or anxiety through its sonic investments in pauses, flinches, fumblings, boasts, growls, deflations, sighs, and tears. The voices of these artists, known for their distinct timbres and textures, refract the ordinarily cruddy and instances of its relief. They give voice to the weary-making work of enduring and the exhaustion of trying to make it to the first of the month, the end of the year, or even just the end of the album.

Keywords: Bone-Thugs-n-Harmony, DMX, affect, Elizabeth Povinelli, Lauren Berant

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