Talking 'bout your Mama

Talking 'bout your Mama

The Dozens, Snaps, and the Deep Roots of Rap

Book - 2014
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"At its simplest, the dozens is a comic concatenation of "yo' mama" jokes. At its most complex, it is a form of social interaction that reaches back to African ceremonial rituals. Whether considered vernacular poetry, verbal dueling, a test of street cool, or just a mess of dirty insults, the dozens has been a basic building block of African-American culture. A game which could inspire raucous laughter or escalate to violence, it provided a wellspring of rhymes, attitude, and raw humor that has influenced pop musicians from Jelly Roll Morton to Ice Cube. Wald explores the depth of the dozens' roots, looking at mother-insulting and verbal combat from Greenland to the sources of the Niger, and shows its breadth of influence in the seminal writings of Richard Wright, Langston Hughes, and Zora Neale Hurston; the comedy of Richard Pryor and George Carlin; the dark humor of the blues; the hip slang and competitive jamming of jazz; and most recently in the improvisatory battling of rap. A forbidden language beneath the surface of American popular culture, the dozens links children's clapping rhymes to low-down juke joints and the most modern street verse to the earliest African American folklore."--Publisher's website.
Publisher: New York, NY : Oxford University Press, 2014.
ISBN: 9780199394043
0199394040
Call Number: 398.7089 WAL
Characteristics: xi, 244 pages : illustrations ; 24 cm
Alternative Title: Talking about your mama
Bib Control Number: 781630

Opinion

From Library Staff

List - Black Music Month
KimberlyB_H Jun 08, 2020

"The dozens” is a tradition of African American street rhyming and verbal combat that ruled urban neighborhoods long before rap.
At its simplest, it is a comic sequence of “yo' mama” jokes. Whether considered as vernacular poetry, verbal dueling, a test of street cool, or just a mess of dir... Read More »


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