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Powell's Books Presents Daniel Levin Becker in Conversation With Casey Jarman
What’s Good: Notes on Rap and Language (City Lights) is a work of passionate lyrical analysis, a set of freewheeling liner notes, and a love letter to the most vital American art form of the last half-century. Over a series of short chapters, each centered on a different lyric, Daniel Levin Becker — early contributor to the groundbreaking lyrics site Rap Genius (now known as Genius) and author of Many Subtle Channels: In Praise of Potential Literature — considers how rap’s use of language operates and evolves at levels ranging from the local (slang, rhyme) to the analytical (quotation, transcription) to the philosophical (morality, criticism, irony), celebrating the pleasures and perils of any attempt to decipher its meaning-making technologies. Ranging from Sugarhill Gang to UGK to Young M.A, Rakim to Rick Ross to Rae Sremmurd, Jay-Z to Drake to Snoop Dogg, What’s Good reads with the momentum of a deftly curated mixtape, drawing you into the conversation and teaching you to read it as it goes. A book for committed hip-hop heads, curious neophytes, armchair linguists, and everyone in between. Levin Becker will be joined in conversation by Casey Jarman, author of Death: An Oral History.

Feb 3, 2022 05:00 PM in Pacific Time (US and Canada)

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Speakers

Daniel Levin Becker
Daniel Levin Becker is a critic, editor, and translator from Chicago. An early contributing editor to the groundbreaking lyrics annotation site Rap Genius, he has written about music for The Believer, NPR, SF Weekly, and Dusted Magazine, among others. His first book, Many Subtle Channels: In Praise of Potential Literature, recounts his induction into the French literary collective Oulipo, of which he became the youngest member in 2009. His published translations include Georges Perec's La Boutique Obscure, Eduardo Berti's An Ideal Presence, and Serge Haroche’s The Science of Light; he is also co-translator and co-editor of All That Is Evident Is Suspect: Readings from the Oulipo 1963–2018. He is a founding editor of Fern Books, English editor for the French nonfiction publisher Odile Jacob, senior editor at McSweeney’s Publishing, and a longtime contributing editor to The Believer. He lives in Paris.
Casey Jarman
Casey Jarman is a writer/illustrator/chronic procrastinator based in Portland, Oregon. He is the former Managing Editor of the Believer magazine, a longtime Music Editor at the Pulitzer Prize-winning Willamette Week, and a cofounder of Party Damage Records. He works with independent music venues in Portland, makes animated music videos and writes a bimonthly column about video game soundtracks for Bandcamp Daily. His book of interviews, Death: An Oral History, came out in 2016 on the Zest Books imprint.