Award-winning journalist, author, broadcaster and blogger Dalton Higgins’ sixth book Rap N’ Roll: Pop Culture, Darkly Stated, a collection of pop culture essays, launches on December 4th at A Different Booklist bookstore located in Toronto’s Annex neighborhood.
Coming on the heels of 2012’s Far From Over: The Music and Life of Drake – carried in the Rock n’ Roll Hall of Fame & Museum collection in Cleveland – which clinically sheds light on the Drake phenomenon, and 2009’s Hip Hop World – which is carried in Harvard University’s hip hop archive, and led to a 2010 Hip Hop Scholar of the Year award nomination courtesy of Washington DC’s WBLINC – Rap N’ Roll is Higgins’ first art house-styled collection of writings that cover a wide range of topics including music (reggae, punk, rap), race, technology, public transportation (TTC), Jamaican culture, skin bleaching, performance enhancing drugs and the publishing industry itself.
“I’ve been blogging and writing essays about popular culture in magazines since 1995 from the vantage point of someone who is a global citizen yet distinctly African Canadian,” says Higgins whose pioneering work in the area of music presentation and criticism has taken him across the United States, Denmark, France, Australia, Germany, Colombia, England, Spain and Cuba among other destinations. “The fact that I am equally versed in hip hop as I am in hockey tends to confound some readers, but it’s 2015 and my prose simply signifies the voice of a first Generation Canadian lending their distinct point of view on a plethora of things affecting contemporary culture. Honest discussions about race, culture, hip hop, athletics and technology is what needs to happen more and is what tends to wet my reading audiences whistle.”
Reggae. Punk. Race. Hip hop. Technology. Counterculture. Toronto. Rap N’ Roll: Pop Culture, Darkly Stated is all of these things. And then some. Available in both hardcover and softcover glossy full colour format, Rap N’ Roll is a theoretical culmination of some of the more provocative topics and subject matter that Higgins has written about in North American periodicals over the last 20 years. Is rap the new rock n’ roll? Is the traditional book publishing industry on its deathbed? If you live in Toronto, has the TTC acronym come to stand for Totally Terrible Crap? Are Iggy Azalea and Macklemore the future of hip hop, and is MAGIC! the future of reggae? How did Jamaica become so tallawah despite its small size? Was sprinter Ben Johnson a PED futurist given the Lance Armstronging and A-Rodization of professional sports? Higgins also tackles tough topics related to cultural appropriation and digital culture with the honesty and precision of a seasoned veteran.