African Battle Traditions of Insult
This book explores the "battles" of words, songs, poetry, and performance in Africa and the African Diaspora. These are usually highly competitive, artistic contests in which rival parties duel for supremacy in poetry composition and/or its performance. This volume covers the history of this battle tradition, from its origins in Africa, especially the udje and halo of the Urhobo and Ewe respectively, to its transportation to the Americas and the Caribbean region during the Atlantic slave trade period, and its modern and contemporary manifestations as battle rap or other forms of popular music in Africa. Almost everywhere there are contemporary manifestations of the more traditional, older genres. The book is thus made up of studies of contests in which rivals duel for supremacy in verbal arts, song-poetry, and performance as they display their wit, sense of humor, and poetic expertise.
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