This timely reflection on male identity in America that explores the intersection of fatherhood, race, and hip-hop culture “is a page-turner…drenched in history and encompasses the energy, fire, and passion that is hip-hop” (D. Watkins, New York Times bestselling author).
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 norm—his own dad struggled with drug addiction and infidelity—a cycle that, inevitably, wrought Vidal with insecurity. At age twenty-six, with barely a 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 inventive approach to exploring identity and examining how today’s society views fatherhood. 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—plenty of whom have proven to be some of society’s best, albeit nontraditional, dads. Along the way, Vidal confronts the unfair stereotypes that taint urban men—especially Black and Latino men.
“A heartfelt examination of the damage that wayward fathers can leave in their wake” (The Washington Post), Rap Dad is “rich with symbolism…a poetic chronicle of beats, rhymes, and life” (NPR).