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date: 22 June 2021

Abstract and Keywords

This chapter explores the connective tissue that joins the urban noir tradition to the representations of antiheros that populate Iceberg Slim’s texts and many hip hop narratives. Specifically, it analyzes Slim’s construction of realness in his writings and his 1976 album Reflections in order to understand how his work shapes a notion of “pulp authenticity” that would come to influence gangsta rap. Slim and his hip hop progeny arose from the noir tradition, a literary genre that confronted anxieties of race and gender identity amid an ever-changing urban landscape. Pulp authenticity incorporates the sensational on one hand and varying forms of genuineness on the other, appearing in African American noir cultural productions in the latter part of the twentieth century and into the twenty-first. At its core, pulp authenticity funnels “genuineness” through a genre that privileges the sensational.

Keywords: pulp, noir, urban, antihero, authenticity, hip hop, gangsta rap

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