Sunday, January 21, 2018



Domestic and International Publication Date: January 4, 2018
Digital | ISBN 13: 978-1-946011-02-2 | ISBN 10: 1-946011-02-9

Jay-Z is not only one of the most popular and prolific rap artists of all time, but he reigns among the canon of artists in hip hop and contemporary American music whose work is now engaged by scholars as much as general audiences to shed light on American culture and society. In #TheJayZMixtape, Kenton Rambsy takes us on a journey through Jay-Z’s career and sheds light on his storytelling style, extensive musical collaborations, and connection to black music history.

Drawing on a rich dataset that includes lyrics from 189 songs across 12 solo albums by Jay-Z, Rambsy uses computational approaches to explore the Brooklyn-born rapper’s musical influences and allusions to other black artists and historical figures. Rambsy’s investigation interweaves innovative digital humanities techniques with the tradition of African American literary analysis of major black authors to reveal intriguing new dimensions to Jay-Z’s body of work. Visually engaging, and full of interactive ways to explore Jay-Z’s oeuvre, #TheJayZMixtape not only delivers an analysis of Jay-Z’s music, but also makes a compelling case for Jay-Z’s place in the greater African American literary tradition.

#TheJayZMixtape is the inaugural publication of the AFRO Publishing Without Walls Series and is published by Publishing Without Walls (PWW). PWW is a collaborative project at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign funded by the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation, and is part of the Illinois Open Publishing Network.

About the author: Kenton Rambsy is currently an assistant professor of African American literature and digital humanities at the University of Texas at Arlington. His teaching includes a course titled “#theJayZclass,” a digital humanities course positions the prolific rapper in a broader literary continuum of autobiographical and semi-autobiographical works.

A Notebook on Jay-Z

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