New chapter: Empowerment in Rap Music Listening ft. Kendrick Lamar’s “Backseat Freestyle”

Today I received the first printing of On Popular Music and Its Unruly Entanglements, published by Palgrave Macmillan at the very tail end of 2019. (Happy New Year!)

Edited by Nick Braae and Kai Arne Hansen, the book includes eleven essays that explore the myriad ways popular music is entwined within social, cultural, musical, historical, and media networks.

My chapter provides a ‘fresh take’ on the idea of empowerment, focusing on listening to rap music and investigating what goes on psychologically when we listen. I dig into the theory around this topic and apply it to music analysis of Kendrick Lamar’s ‘Backseat Freestyle’. You can read a preview of the chapter here (you’ll need to hit ‘Show next 8, then scroll to Chapter 9 and hit Preview). You’ll enjoy my transcription of the ‘Backseat Freestyle’ beat using emojis! ?

The book is available now from Palgrave Macmillan and the usual book suppliers. There are amazing chapters in this, discussing genres as varied as pop, rock, synthwave, video game music (Sonic The Hedgehog 3 to be precise, HT Megan Lavengood), amateur ukelele music, and audiovisual remixes. I’m grateful to the editors for their hard work on this groundbreaking collection. Grab a copy now!

Pixel for scale.

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