The 'Hood Comes First looks at the increasingly specific emphasis on real neighborhoods and streets in rap music and hip hop culture as an urgent response to the cultural and geographical ghettoization of black urban communities. Examining rap music, along with ancillary hip hop media including radio, music videos, rap press and the cinematic 'hood genre, Murray Forman analyzes hip hop culture's varying articulations of the terms "ghetto," "inner-city," and "the 'hood," and how these spaces, both real and imaginary, are used to define individual and collective identity. Negotiating academic, corporate, and"street" discourses, Forman assesses the dynamics between race, social space and youth. Race, class and national identification are recast and revised within rap's spatial discourse, concluding with the construction of "the 'hood," a social and geographic symbol that has become central to concepts of hip hop authenticity. Additionally, the book analyzes the processes within the music and culture industries through which hip hop has been amplified and disseminated from the 'hood to international audiences.