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“From Sonic Disobedience to Sonic Dis-Ease: The Rise and Fall of Kanye West”

This paper argues that if you attend to the sonic scope of the music of Kanye West (YE), we can map well the deterioration of his critical blackness. Noting the move from radical hip-hop disobedience to pop sonics and gospel anthems, this paper marks the simultaneous decline of Kanye’s commitment to combat anti-blackness and anti-difference. Highlighting West’s musical shifts alongside his political ones, allows us to also interrogate the role of pop culture and white evangelical Christianity in the rise of anti-blackness and xenophobia. 

Jeffrey Q. McCune Jr., PhD, is the Director of the Frederick Douglass Institute for African & African American Studies and the Frederick Douglass Associate Professor of African American Literature and Culture. He is the author of the award-winning book Sexual Discretion: Black Masculinity and the Politics of Passing (University of Chicago Press, 2014). He is presently completing, Disobedient Reading: An Experiment in Seeing Black (University of California Press). He has published in a variety of journals and also serves on the editorial board of numerous journals. He is the co-editor of the University of California Press’s New Sexual Worlds book series. For his work at the intersections, of race gender, and sexuality, McCune has been featured on Left of Black, Sirius XM's Joe Madison Show, HuffPost Live, NPR, Pitchfork and as a guest expert on Bill Nye Saves The World

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