Rap Dad

A Story of Family and the Subculture That Shaped a Generation

Rap Dad

Part memoir and part cultural critique, Rap Dad is a timely reflection on fatherhood in America, explored through the lens of race and hip-hop culture.

Just as his music career was taking off, Juan Vidal received life-changing news: he’d soon be a father. Throughout his life, neglectful men were the rule—his own dad struggled with drug addiction and infidelity—a cycle that, inevitably, wrought Vidal with insecurity. At age twenty-six, with but a bare grip on life, what lessons could he possibly offer a kid? Determined to alter the course for his child, Vidal did what he’d always done when confronted with life’s challenges. He turned to the counterculture.

In Rap Dad, the musician-turned-journalist takes a thoughtful and incredibly inventive approach to exploring identity and examining how we view fatherhood in a modern context. To root out the source of his fears around parenting, Vidal revisits the flash points of his juvenescence, a feat that transports him, a first-generation American born to Colombian parents, back to the drug-fueled streets of 1980s-90s Miami. It’s during those pivotal years that he’s drawn to skateboarding, graffiti, and the music of rebellion: hip-hop. As he looks to the past for answers, he infuses his personal story with rap lyrics and interviews with some of pop culture’s most compelling voices—of which plenty have proven to be some of society’s best, albeit non-traditional, dads. Along the way, Vidal confronts the unfair stereotypes that taint urban men—especially Black and Latino men—in today’s society.

An illuminating journey of discovery, Rap Dad is a striking portrait of modern fatherhood that is as much political as it is entertaining, personal as it is representative, and challenging as it is revealing.
  • Atria Books | 
  • 256 pages | 
  • ISBN 9781501169397 | 
  • September 2018
List Price $25.00 (price may vary by retailer)
Ships on or around September 25, 2018
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About the Author

Juan Vidal
Matthew W. Warren

Juan Vidal

Juan Vidal is a writer and cultural critic for NPR. His work has appeared in Vibe, Esquire, Rolling Stone, GQ, and elsewhere. Rap Dad is his debut book.

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