On Wednesday, November 14, Alexs Pate will present "Ya Feel Me?: The Meaning and Nature of Saturation in Rap/Poetry" from 2:00-3:00 in the Geneva H. Southall Library (Social Sciences Tower 815). [Presentation Abstract]
It is Pate's contention that rap/poetry is the emergent African American literary form of the postmodern age. A close review of the poems themselves will reveal an incredible sophistication, knowledge, understanding, and compassion present in this expression. It will, of course, also engage the ignorant, profane, obscene, misogynist, violent, and angry nature of the "I" in the "I am" of the poetry. That part is sad, but real.
In Black Noise, Tricia Rose defines rap as "a black cultural expression that prioritizes black voices from the margins of urban America." Pate adds that rap privileges those who are not black with an honest and intimate exchange of cultural information about black people. He hastens to say that by honest, he does not mean that it is always accurate.
When anyone raps, regardless of race or nationality, we hear them but we also hear the poetic history of Black America. We understand that it is derivative of black culture. You can hear it in rap that comes from Korea, Germany, Palestine or Cuba. It is the literary beat of blackness. It is also saturated.