Quotes about The Dozens: A History of Rap's Mama

"The dozens is the most ephemeral and most contextual of the black verbal traditions, hence the hardest to get a handle on. But after reading Elijah Wald's superbly researched and splendidly written book, no one will have any doubt what this important black verbal tradition is and means."
           --Bruce Jackson, author of "Get Your Ass in the Water and Swim Like Me": Narrative Poetry from Black Oral Tradition

"My father told us to never let a white man tell you how to be black, never let a woman tell you how to be a man, and to always make it sexy. This book is sexy... and poignant, smart and a piece of history."
           --Schoolly D

"The influential African-American vernacular verbal art called 'the dozens' are in very good hands here. Wald gives them the detailed, broad, and serious consideration they have long deserved."
      --Tricia Rose, author of Black Noise and The Hip Hop Wars

"This has got to be the dirtiest scholarly book ever!"
           --Susan McClary, author of Feminine Endings: Music, Gender, and Sexuality

"The Dozens is like yo mama: short but thick, a good trick, and easy to get all the way through....The more Wald insists on taking both turns at the crossroads--simultaneously asserting that the dozens is a rural Southern black ritual and stressing its heterodox urbanity and pan-linguistic sampling--the more recklessly fun his book becomes....virtuosic..."
           --Joshua Cohen, Harper's Magazine

"Harking back to 2 Live Crew and gangsta rap, this book-length study of sexualized insults makes for colorful reading."
      --Ed Graves, Library Journal

"Fascinating and groundbreaking all the way through."
      --Jeff Simon, Buffalo News

"This impeccably researched study of the classic black insult game may be the funniest work of serious scholarship ever published."
           --Terry Teachout, Artsjournal

"a lively and engaging history...superb chapter on the relationship between rap and the Dozens"
      --Paul Devlin, San Francisco Chronicle

"The Dozens is a profanely sacred history lesson that vacillates between monster one-liners and carefully articulated deep thoughts.... Wald...is your only plausible tour guide, capable of illuminating both the blunt simplicity and fraught complexity, the cheerful frivolity and deadly severity of it all."
      --Rob Harvilla, Spin

"...the joy of discovery drives Wald’s narrative, so even though he can’t promise a definitive answer on what it is we’re exactly talking about, there is a good time simply taking this tour through some of the filthiest, foulest language turned into legitimate art.”
      --Scott McLennan, The Boston Globe

"The author’s affection and respect for this strange, unheralded current of folk culture shine through every word of his book."
      --Michael Lindgren, The Washington Post