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As Ogbar points out, it is now the case that in the past decade, hip-hop has often “deviated from conventional notions of race,” even though race and ethnicity still play a big role (Ogbar, 38).

The first section of the chapter deals with the way that definitions of the “real” from the 60s, 70s, and through the 90s. Ogbar argues that hip-hops appeal during its formative years stemmed from the way it pulled from what he labels “black oppositional culture,” which opposed “the dominant [white] culture and ideologies” (Ogbar, 39). Because of this, what makes things real in hip-hop is at some level “an intimate familiarity with the urban, working-class landscapes” of the 1970s, as well as basic knowledge of criminal activity in most cases (Ogbar, 39). It is worth noting, however, that hip-hop from the late 90s on has been increasingly political as well, including from commercial rappers who address the problems their ethnic culture faces in “sophisticated and highly racialized discources” (Ogbar, 40).

Interestingly, Ogbar also points out that a lot of the essential elements of hip-hop culture came from Puerto Ricans and other non-black ethnicities (Ogbar, 40). This leads into a longer discussion of race, going from what coinstitues a “real nigga” (Ogbar, 44), the rise of gangsta rap (Ogbar, 45), and the effect that a shift from New York City to Los Angeles, with its rampant gangs, heavier chicano presence, had as hip-hop began to feature “raw and bold depiction[s] of ghetto life in postindustrial Los Angeles” (Ogbar, 45). It is especially interesting to see how the group called Cypress Hill, which was made up of Latino artists, used black slang that should have been very offensive, but which ended up making them “the first Latino group to go platinum” (Ogbar, 46). And the way in which Asian-American hip-hop singers do the opposite, by not using black slang at all but still talking out about racism