Who Shot Ya? Three Decades of Hip Hop Photography
Posted Apr 12 2006
Besides the pictures, hip-hop critic Kevin Powell and Paniccioli himself make interesting comments about hip-hop culture. They both set up the context of hip hop's creation and growth and its importance to youth of the post Civil Rights era. While neither is an apologist, both address hip hop's contradictions, including sexism. Paniccioli's piece is particularly interesting as he brings in personal stories of growing up as a poor Cree Indian in inner-city New York, addressing issues of poverty, race, and culture. He doesn't glamorize the ghetto and is very critical of big business exploiting people's suffering. While Paniccioli is older than nearly everyone he photographs, his ability to draw the connections between rock, jazz, and hip hop are invaluable. As Paniccioli has been documenting the culture for three decades, going places that many other photographers wouldn't, he's a vocal critic of hip hop, but it comes from a good place. While obviously disgusted by big business and the nihilistic components of hip hop, Paniccioli also continues to see hip hop as a voice of young people. Through his pictures he allows them to express themselves and not be defined by others.