When Lauryn Hill stepped forward to accept her fifth Grammy Award in 1999, she paused as she collected the last trophy, and seeming somewhat startled said, “This is crazy, ‘cause this is hip hop music.’“ Hill’s astonishment at receiving mainstream acclaim for music once deemed insignificant testifies to the explosion of this truly revolutionary art form. Hip hop music and the culture that surrounds it—film, fashion, sports, and a whole way of being—has become the defining ethos for a generation. Its influence has spread from the state’s capital to the nation’s capital, from the Pineapple to the Big Apple, from ‘Frisco to Maine, and then on to Spain.
But moving far beyond the music, hip hop has emerged as a social and cultural movement, displacing the ideas of the Civil Rights era. Todd Boyd maintains that a new generation, having grown up in the aftermath of both Civil Rights and Black Power, rejects these old school models and is instead asserting its own values and ideas. Hip hop is distinguished in this regard because it never attempted to go mainstream, but instead the mainstream came to hip hop.
The New H.N.I.C., like hip hop itself, attempts to keep it real, and challenges conventional wisdom on a range of issues, from debates over use of the “N-word,” the comedy of Chris Rock, and the “get money” ethos of hip hop moguls like Sean “P. Diddy” Combs and Russell Simmons, to hip hop’s impact on a diverse array of figures from Bill Clinton and Eminem to Jennifer Lopez.
Maintaining that Martin Luther King, Jr.’s “I Have a Dream” speech is less important today than DMX's It's Dark and Hell is Hot, Boyd argues that Civil Rights as a cultural force is dead, confined to a series of media images frozen in another time. Hip hop, on the other hand, represents the vanguard, and is the best way to grasp both our present and future.
“If you want to understand the direction of music today, read this book. Boyd expertly chronicles the birth of Hip Hop, its impact on all music and how the language and music defines a generation.”- Tom Freston,CEO, MTV Networks
“Those who are hip have always known that Black music is about more than simply nodding your head, snapping your fingers, and patting your feet. Like the proverbial Dude, back on the block, Dr. Todd Boyd, in his groundbreaking book The New H.N.I.C., tells us that like the best of this oral tradition, hip hop is a philosophy and worldview rooted in history and at the same time firmly of the moment. Dr. Boyd's improvisational flow is on point like be bop Stacy Adams and The New H.N.I.C.,in both style and substance, breaks down how this monumental cultural shift has come to redefine the globe. With mad props and much love, Dr. Boyd’s The New H.N.I.C. is the voice of a generation and stands poised at the vanguard of our future.”-Quincy Jones
“A convincing and entertaining case that hip-hop matters, Boyd's reading [of hip hop] is nothing less than inspired.”
“The New H.N.I.C. brilliantly observes pivotal moments in hip hop and black culture as a whole . . . and [provocatively] raises the level of the hip hop discussion.”-Black Issues Book Review
“Stand back! Todd Boyd brings the ruckus in this provocative look at how hip hop changed everything from the jailhouse to the White House—;and why it truly became the voice of a new generation.”
-Alan Light,Editor-in-Chief, Spin Magazine