Hobbs' interview with hip hop duo Partners-n-Crime.
Despite efforts to commericialize the genre over the past two decades, hip-hop remains the language of struggle and resistance, particularly within black American communities. Hip-hop artists are modern-day cultural cartographers, mapping out political and social geographies in sound and song, creating time capsules of the history that produced them. But most hip-hop artists are unable to penetrate the mainstream industry and struggle for survival in the underground scene, eventually disappearing with little recognition. In recent years, there have been prominent efforts to document and preserve hip-hop’s musical culture, particularly that of relatively unknown artists, and some of these efforts have come from an unlikely place: academia.
Back in 2012, Slate decided to do a quick, informal study to see which of the world’s most cerebral and think-piece-spawning television shows had inspired the most articles in academic journals. It was a fun exercise, an attempt to see what snobby scholars would fawn over more—the gritty “truth” of The Wire, the rampant symbolism of Breaking Bad, or the quirky, cultic appeal of Twin Peaks? But the result was totally unexpected and a little shocking: with over 200 academic articles (compared to The Wire’s 85), Joss Whedon’s campy, snarky, early tele-feminist romp Buffy the Vampire Slayer claimed the top spot by a landslide.