Life After Death
Nicki Minaj

Life After Death

Over half a decade since Nas proclaimed its death, Peter Rosser asks if hip-hop could, in fact, be the only music able to present an honest picture of our time.

If there’s been renewed soul-searching of late on the meanings and possibilities of hip-hop, it may be the result not simply of regret, but of downright shame and anger. What happened to the eloquent, ideas-driven, community-based, and politically astute art form that conquered the world from its position as the 1970s DIY street party music of New York City’s lower Bronx? Why was it so weak in the presence of capitalism’s bribes and temptations? What happened to the language and life that, as David Toop remembered, ‘could be lived with some dignity and hope, that crossed boundaries of race, that melted the tribal divisions of genre’? And isn’t hip-hop, with its obsessive natter on guns and drugs and monetised sex, the prime culprit in further denigrating the reputation of the people, races and communities it was supposed to empower?

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Published on 4 October 2012

Peter Rosser (1970–2014) was a composer, writer and music lecturer.

He was born in London and moved to Belfast in 1990, where he studied composition at the University of Ulster and was awarded a DPhil in 1997. His music has been performed at the Spitalfields Festival in London, the Belfast Festival at Queen’s and by the Crash Ensemble in Dublin.

In 2011 the Arts Council acknowledged his contribution to the arts in Northern Ireland through a Major Individual Artist Award. He used this award to write his Second String Quartet, which was premiered in 2012 by the JACK Quartet at the opening concert at Belfast's new Metropolitan Arts Centre (The MAC).

Peter Rosser also wrote extensively on a wide range of music genres, with essays published in The Wire, Perspectives of New Music and the Crescent Journal. 

He died following an illness on 24 November 2014, aged 44.

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