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DamagedMusicality and Race in Early American Punk$
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Evan Rapport

Print publication date: 2020

Print ISBN-13: 9781496831217

Published to University Press of Mississippi: May 2021

DOI: 10.14325/mississippi/9781496831217.001.0001

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“Decisions with Precisions”: New Directions for Hardcore in Washington, DC

“Decisions with Precisions”: New Directions for Hardcore in Washington, DC

(p.205) 7 “Decisions with Precisions”: New Directions for Hardcore in Washington, DC

Evan Rapport

University Press of Mississippi

The music made in Washington DC in the late 1970s and early 1980s fundamentally changed punk. Washington DC was a different environment than the other cities where punk was based in that it was majority Black during this period, with a significant Black presence in the suburbs. The emergence of Bad Brains, an all-Black quartet, at the center of the scene established punk as an authentic form of expression for African Americans and other people of color. Bad Brains and Minor Threat also raised the stakes for musicality in hardcore punk, with complex songs played with virtuosic technique, and they reintroduced elements such as blues-based riffs and rhythmic variations. This chapter also describes the ways in which the punk scene in Washington DC solidified punk’s status as music by and for teenagers and Generation X.

Keywords:   hardcore, straight edge, Minor Threat, Bad Brains, Generation X

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