Show Summary Details

Page of

PRINTED FROM OXFORD HANDBOOKS ONLINE ( © Oxford University Press, 2022. All Rights Reserved. Under the terms of the licence agreement, an individual user may print out a PDF of a single chapter of a title in Oxford Handbooks Online for personal use (for details see Privacy Policy and Legal Notice).

date: 26 June 2022

Abstract and Keywords

This chapter examines how hip hop exemplifies the instrumentalization of verbal arsenals, lyrical kung fu, and other rhetorical gestures to “words as weapons.” Indeed, this weaponization of knowledge may be thought of as the very premise of hip hop—of rap music as martial art. While this theorization will help explain hip hop’s enduring polycultural commitment to martial arts, the aim here is a more foundational one—to account for the ways that the trope of physical violence functions in hip hop discourses and performative practices. The chapter employs a political economy framework to argue that this translation from the discursive to the material is a counterhegemonic response to the conflation of the First and Second Amendments of the US Constitution: “the freedom of speech” and “the right to bear arms.” The chapter concludes by explaining why hip hop has proven an unlikely force for nonviolence in the Black Lives Matter moment.

Keywords: hip hop, martial arts, violence, nonviolence, political economy, metaphysics, US Constitution, polyculture, Black Lives Matter

Access to the complete content on Oxford Handbooks Online requires a subscription or purchase. Public users are able to search the site and view the abstracts and keywords for each book and chapter without a subscription.

Please subscribe or login to access full text content.

If you have purchased a print title that contains an access token, please see the token for information about how to register your code.

For questions on access or troubleshooting, please check our FAQs, and if you can''t find the answer there, please contact us.