ISBN-10: 0872867021
ISBN-13: 9780872867024
Publisher: City Lights Books
Publish Date: 05/24/2016
Dimensions: 7.80" L, 5.30" W, 0.20" H

Published by City Lights

Dated Emcees


Price: $9.77


Chinaka Hodge came of age along with hip-hop–and its influence on her suitors became inextricable from their personal interactions. Form blends with content in Dated Emcees as she examines her love life through the lens of hip-hop’s best known orators, characters, archetypes and songs, creating a new and inventive narrative about the music that shaped the craggy heart of a young woman poet, just as it also changed the global landscape of pop.

Praise for Dated Emcees:

In the old tellings hip-hop was a woman, a certain kind–one needing, even begging to be saved. In Dated Emcees, Chinaka Hodge gives her a voice and she tells of her loves and desires, her traumas and pains in words as hard, as lit, as loving, cunning, cutting, ecstatic, as tender and devastating as her big world requires. This is poetry that, in its infinite power and intimate grace, will still turn in your mind long after the music is over.–Jeff Chang, author of Who We Be: A Cultural History of Race in Post-Civil Rights America

Hodge writes with an unpredictable, rare honesty. This collection quietly and simply illustrates love in a complicated world.–Donald Glover AKA Childish Gambino

“This is an absolute powerhouse of a book, and a new pinnacle for Chinaka Hodge. There’s enough beauty and heartbreak and melancholy and humor and sorrow in here for three collections, or two lifetimes. Hodge’s writing is so incredibly specific but somehow universal, so honest and raw but somehow polished to unimproveability. She deserves a wide audience, an attentive audience, an audience that wants to be astounded.”–Dave Eggers, author of The Circle

Chinaka Hodge is hands down, unequivocally, my favorite writer of words. All day. Every day. She writes with the grace of a dancer, the bars of a rapper, the heart of your best friend, and all of the swag and soul of Oakland. Dated Emcees made me cry. And I don’t really do that. It doesn’t use Hip Hop as a lens. It is Hip Hop. In the way that we, who have grown up with rap as our brilliant, estranged, mythological, abusive lover/father/son, are all Hip Hop. Aware of his flaws, and his potential. And loving him unconditionally. These are poems to read every day. To make mantras from. They are the best poems you’ve ever read.–Daveed Diggs, Actor/Rapper, star of Hamilton on Broadway

Every time I hear new work from Chinaka Hodge I wonder if she was always this good. She was, I’m pretty sure. And yet somehow, she’s leveled up again. Dated Emcees is a dropped microphone, and a direct challenge to anyone listening. Step your game up.–George Watsky, author of How to Ruin Everything: Essays

“Ms. Hodge’s collection complicates dogmatic notions of feminist principles and hip hop pathologies. She is the steward of a candid and sonorous new form, a lyrical journalism expressed in a meter that climbs from West Oakland’s Bottoms to the peak of a Wonder-laced rocket love. Dated Emcees is outlined in the matter of black life, streamlined through the filter of black womb … a smoke-filled lung in a sweat-filled club of safety and danger, and the bass of black moon.”–Marc Bamuthi Joseph, arts activist, spoken word artist, US Artists Rockefeller Fellow


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"The lyrical exuberance of poet and playwright Hodge has been showcased on stage and on screen ... The double meaning of her first collection allude to the speaker in Hodge's poems having relationships with figureheads of hip-hop, from well-known rappers to broke-down hustlers, and having grown up during the genre's golden age. But Hodge backs away from nostalgia and instead confronts the frustrating difficulty of coming-of-age as a black woman in America. She leverages the severe weight of misfortune through innovative, unforgettable language ('we had a fire in the house / everything curled into damage'), and unexpected imagery ('His thoughts are ivory that protrude from the center / of his head'). In 'Drake questions the deceased, Vegas, ' Hodge transports twenty-first century R&B icon Drake to the site of Tupac's murder in Sin City, delivering a devastating homage: 'if you had been taught fame / was a hate crime against black men, / would you have still stepped in the booth?'"–Booklist

Cleverly shifting hip-hop's traditionally masculine focus, Hodge underscores the overlooked stories of women via persona poems ripe with color and sharp imagery. The strength of her speakers' voices are particularly noteworthy in the first-person poems, the women loving the voices of the men who surround them, but standing powerfully on their own. She also makes reference to anonymous working mothers and notable women and girls such as Erykah Badu, Kelis, and Blue Ivy Carter. Hodge's impressive sense of line control and allusions to the genre may remind readers of Ntozake Shange. Despite the dated of the title, this is a timely collection.–Publishers Weekly

Ultimately, this is a book that begs to be read over and over, like a favorite album that you play morning 'til night, until you know the lyrics, secret messages, and hard-won insights as intimately as you know your own beating heart. Dated Emcees is another gem from one of Oakland's best."–KQED, San Francisco

In her new collection Dated Emcees, Hodge plays tour guide while leading the reader through scenes of treachery, regret, and short-lived enchantment. These poems contain the voices of violent and desperate communities where rapping or playing ball are the only means of escape. &helilp; In many of the poems we're being told about emcees by an emcee. Hodge is not just a potential character in these poems, but a master of ceremonies and harbinger of music.–Derrick Harriell, Los Angeles Review of Books

"Dated Emcees, the debut book of poetry by Chinaka Hodge, is a rich and mouthwatering treat for those of us brought up and still in love with the sweetness of hip-hop. These tight and playful poems about breakups and breakbeats (written with superb line breaks) have the lyrical swagger of a young Wanda Coleman. Even the book's title has a double meaning: Dated emcees who are no longer relevant and literal emcees she once dated. In 'life is good' Hodge writes, 'before i peeled off the vow / left not a gotdamned thing / in that house of yours / save your chiffon dear john / i did put it on once more / stared down the door / told myself if you beat sun up / maybe we can talk / i watched a pale green sky clap dawn into queens / put on my boyfriend jeans / and / left.' The collection also features many layered metaphors, incorporating lyrics from various rap songs over the years–a treat for those familiar with such legends as Tupac and Notorious B.I.G. Hodge is developing a style all her own, both solemn and celebratory. To paraphrase Digable Planets, she's cool like that."–Amber Tamblyn, BUST Magazine

Dated Emcees moves beyond the fun of its title's dual conceit and into a fierce exploration of racial and identity politics. ... Dated Emcees successfully tracks these dualities throughout–black/white, groupie/lover, dating/dated, a black man from Oakland gunned down at a train station/a black man from Oakland becomes an award winning filmmaker. Hodges questions, puns, and probes these paradoxes in a fiery, personal voice, always locked in to the beat.–The Los Angeles Review

"[T]he real hook is that, in laying out her unconditional love for both Black men and hip-hop, Hodge also reserves space to critique gender roles and power dynamics in the accompanying culture, bravely allowing those two stances to exist in the same emotional choreography.–East Bay Express

Oakland poet/rapper/playwright Chinaka Hodge, a favorite of Dave Eggers and Hamilton star Daveed Diggs, examines her life in this tender and hard-hitting collection of 25 poems. This is autobiography as hip-hop narrative, and it sings."–The Mercury News

Chinaka continues to bear witness with brilliance to all the fierceness and struggle of what it is to be black and female, as part of what it is to be human and attuned to the world."–Aya de Leon, Mutha Magazine

Chinaka Hodge will break your heart, she'll make you angry, she'll make you guilty; but mostly, she'll tell you the truth. Her confessions of heartbreak in Dated Emcees will speak to those who have loved, lost, and re-found themselves in the small places between the punchlines.–The Rumpus

[Chinaka Hodge] states her claim in the space of words and beats with lines that require being read out loud ... Love, depicted by Hodge in not always straightforward terms, is not meaningless because it's mysterious or messy; it is cryptic, poignant, painful (even antsy) and beautiful. ... If you're at all like me, these poems will woo you, leave you fluttering and pondering, saddened by, touched by, and in love with the world of this poet.–Rebellious Magazine

Chinaka Hodge is a brilliant poet, playwright, screenwriter, and educator from Oakland. In Dated Emcees she lays everything out on the page as she writes about her love life and hip-hop, intertwining them in a raw and powerful way. Her words evoke honest emotions as she confronts the difficulties of coming-of-age as a black woman in America. Hodge blurs the line between lived and imagined experience, and creates a new and inventive narrative that showcases her passion for hip-hop. She writes about difficult topics, and her voice shines through in a direct, confrontational, honest tone. Her poems are a breath of fresh, honest air, and her words will stay with you long after you read them.–Oakland Magazine

"Hodge deftly crosses over from personal experience to cultural commentary with the ease of a lyricist, and her poems are particularly poignant when the two intersect, as they do in her couplets about Tupac and her haikus about Biggie, one for every year they were alive. ... With Dated Emcees, Hodge stakes her territory as an artist with a commanding presence both on the stage, as well as on the page."–San Diego CityBeat

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ISBN-10: 0872867021
ISBN-13: 9780872867024
Publisher: City Lights Books
Publish Date: 05/24/2016
Dimensions: 7.80" L, 5.30" W, 0.20" H
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