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"Gettin' Our Groove On"

Rhetoric, Language, and Literacy for the Hip Hop Generation

Kermit E. Campbell

African American Studies, Language and Literature, Linguistics and Rhetoric, Popular Culture

African American Life Series

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Paperback
Published: September 2005
ISBN: 9780814329252
Pages: 216 Size: 6x9
Review

Campbell's work shows the persistence and force of the vernacular tradition in the face of increasing criticism from the American mainstream.

— Colgate Scene

Because of the increasing influence of hip hop music and culture on a generation raised during its dominance, it is important to address Hip hop and African American vernacular not merely as elements of folk and popular cultures but as rhetoric worthy of serious scrutiny. In Gettin’ Our Groove On, Kermit E. Campbell not only insists on this worthiness but also investigates the role that African American vernacular plays in giving a voice to the lived experiences of America’s ghetto marginalized.

Campbell’s work shows the persistence and force of the vernacular tradition in the face of increasing criticism from the American mainstream. A broad area of research is covered with surprising depth as Campbell addresses issues of language and rhetoric within the historical context of African oral tradition and African American folklore, poetry, popular music, fiction, and film. The text presents gangsta/reality rap as a rhetorical tactic consistent with ghetto hustling culture, rather than just entertainment, and also explores the negation of black vernacular in the classroom that has resulted in misguided approaches to teaching literacy to black students. Itself infused with the Hip hop idiom and an engaging style free of academic jargon, Gettin’ Our Groove On presents a thorough and provocative contribution to cultural and rhetorical studies.

Kermit E. Campbell is assistant professor of rhetoric and writing at Colgate University.

Kermit Campbell addresses hip-hop and African American vernacular not merely as elements of folk and popular cultures but as rhetoric worthy of serious scrutiny…Campbell's work shows the persistence and force of the vernacular tradition in the face of increasing criticism from the American mainstream…itself infused with the hip-hop idiom and a style free of academic jargon, the book presents a provocative contribution to cultural and rhetorical studies."

– Colgate Scene

What Campbell does with the idea of vernacular discourses as related to Hip hop is highly original. He not only makes the case-quite rigorously-that African American vernacular discourses, particularly Hip hop, are worthy objects for scholarly scrutiny, but his own vernacular-inflected prose is powerful 'testifyin' for the efficacy of his perspective. The topic is timely, definitely important in terms of practical applications, and Campbell, because of his unique and thorough grounding in both the African American vernacular and the Western rhetorical traditions, can address it in sparkling fashion."

– Keith Gilyard, Pennsylvania State University, author of Liberation Memories: The Rhetoric and Poetics of John Oliver Killens