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“That Ill, Tight Sound”: Telepresence and Biopolitics in Post-Timbaland Rap Production


This article investigates the music created by current rap and R&B producers such as Timbaland and Pharrell Williams in order to understand how their works evoke certain constructions of sonic space. The opaque, spare, two-dimensional qualities of the virtual spaces assembled by these artists serve as a useful window onto broader cultural forces, such as the peculiar short circuit of space and temporality that Paul Virilio evokes in his concept of “telepresence.” The author argues that the sonic construction of telepresence allows contemporary black music to comment upon the notion of “biopolitics,” the reduction of the political to the horizon of the body.

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Journal of the Society for American Music
  • ISSN: 1752-1963
  • EISSN: 1752-1971
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