“Fuck all that Mumble Shit?”: A Conversation with DJ Drama

On May 20, 2021, I chopped it up with DJ Drama to discuss my single-authored manuscript-in-progress, “Make Rappers Rap Again!: Interrogating the Mumble Rap ‘Crisis.’”  In it, I contend with the subjugation of mumble rappers, arguing Mumble Rap, which has galvanized the genre for over a decade, is real Hip Hop. First, I do so by recovering longstanding debates about what Hip Hop has been, is, and should be. I also problematize real Hip Hop norms for engaging with its origins and “old heads”; demonstrate the ways most mumble rappers practice citational and collaborative politics congruent with real Hip Hop and the ways Mumble Rap is conversant with other, oft-ignored, Hip Hop cornerstones; and take a comprehensive approach to examining the Mumble Rap sound. Second, I examine habitus, situating Mumble Rap as southern and examining social media; the institutional, commercial, and transnational contours of Hip Hop; and Black politics. Third, I examine Mumble Rap on its own terms, especially the ways it challenges dominant narratives about Hip Hop masculinity and mumble rappers’ attention to mental and emotional health. Finally, I call for a reconsideration of Hip Hop’s commitment to situated analyses, a particularly opportune conversation as 2023 is the 30th anniversary of Hip Hop Studies and the 50th anniversary of Hip Hop. Enjoy and stay tuned. This is “only” the beginning.

Part I: The Introduction (1m40s)

Click here for Part I with subtitles.

Part II: “Fuck a rap critic. They talk about it while we live it.” (13m)

Click here for Part II with subtitles.

Part III: “Sometimes, we gotta get out of our own way.” (17m30s)

Click here for Part III with subtitles.

Part IV: “We’re not gonna always understand the youth.” (6m40s)

Click here for Part IV with subtitles.

Part V: The Conclusion (6m30s)

Click here for Part V with subtitles.

Thank you, Aishah; thank you, Mykaela; and thank you, Drama, for your support of me and this project, including the parts yet to come.
I hope you love it as much as I already do.

If you reference any part of this interview, please cite me appropriately (#CiteBlackWomen). Thank you for listening and/or reading.