My concern in this essay is with how those of us involved with problems of black revolution—that is, with the crux of what it means to liberate humanity—can further develop a critical stance that deals honestly with the ethicopolitical context in which black art, black performance, black social movements, and black popular culture find expression. I am, in other words, interested in configuring the critical study of hip hop within an accounting of the materiality of antiblack sexual violence in which the modern world is grounded, especially as hip hop emerges through the transmutation of the state’s terroristic repression of black revolution in the 1960s and 1970s into the sexualized violence of the present prison industrial complex. My focus, then, is on how the context of a world in which, since the dawn of the African slave trade, black people are structurally positioned outside the human family, and its claims to integrity, honor, and visibility can inform how we read black expressive cultures. I suggest that rigorous adherence to this context is rare in cultural critique.
-- Nick J. Sciullo