Dated Emcees

Dated Emcees

"Books About Oakland, Race, Sports and Tech to Add to Your Summer Reading List"
Jun 10, 2018

Dated Emcees included on this list.

- Pendarvis Harshaw


"What comes together throughout the collection is a vision of hip-hop that hasn't been tamed by some quiet version of poetry, but a poetry reinvigorated and resonating with an incredibly rich invocation of the full range of life in hip-hop."––

San Diego CityBeat

"Hodge deftly crosses over from personal experience to cultural commentary with the ease of a lyricist, and her poems are particularly poignant when the two intersect, as they do in her couplets about Tupac and her haikus about Biggie, one for every year they were alive. . . . With Dated Emcees, Hodge stakes her territory as an artist with a commanding presence both on the stage, as well as on the page."––Jim Ruland

"State Lines: California poetry: Chinaka Hodge's '2pac Couplets’"
Apr 13, 2017

A poem from Dated Emcees appears in the San Francisco Chronicle's "State Lines" series, introduction by David Roderick.

"Article on okayplayer about Chinaka Hodge's Interview with Common at the Kennedy Center"
Mar 22, 2017

"There may not be a better (read: sharper and impassioned) voice to a lead a discussion on activism and community in the arts than writer, poet and all-around badass Chinaka Hodge. In 2016's destructive wake of police brutality and killings, the Oakland poet sliced through a painful year with an immeasurably powerful TED reading."

- okayplayer

"Meet Award-Winning Poet, Hip Hop Artist & Oakland Native Chinaka Hodge"
Nov 7, 2016

Chinaka Hodge interviewed for 7x7.

- 7x7

"Notes from the Kitchen Sisterhood / Fall 2016"
Oct 18, 2016

Dated Emcees appears on the Kitchen Sisters "Books we are reading" list.

- The Kitchen Sisters

Los Angeles Review of Books

"In her new collection Dated Emcees, Hodge plays tour guide while leading the reader through scenes of treachery, regret, and short-lived enchantment. These poems contain the voices of violent and desperate communities where rapping or playing ball are the only means of escape. . . . In many of the poems we're being told about emcees by an emcee. Hodge is not just a potential character in these poems, but a master of ceremonies and harbinger of music."––Derrick Harriell

"Chinaka Hodge Filters Life Through Hip-Hop"
Sep 13, 2016

Profile on Chinaka Hodge and her new book Dated Emcees.

- Oakland Magazine

"Daveed Diggs raps on life, hurdles and 'Hamilton'"
Sep 12, 2016

Coverage of Chinaka Hodge's interview with her friend Daveed Diggs that took place at JCCSF on Saturday, September 10.

- San Francisco Chronicle

"Ask a Mutha: Summer's Not Over Yet—The Reading List You Still Need"
Aug 5, 2016

Dated Emcees selected as a best summer read in 2016 by Mutha Magazine

- Mutha Magazine

Mutha Magazine

"Chinaka continues to bear witness with brilliance to all the fierceness and struggle of what it is to be black and female, as part of what it is to be human and attuned to the world."––Aya de Leon

The Los Angeles Review

"Dated Emcees moves beyond the fun of its title's dual conceit and into a fierce exploration of racial and identity politics. . . . Dated Emcees successfully tracks these dualities throughout—black/white, groupie/lover, dating/dated, a black man from Oakland gunned down at a train station/a black man from Oakland becomes an award winning filmmaker. Hodges questions, puns, and probes these paradoxes in a fiery, personal voice, always locked in to the beat."––Danny Caine


"Dated Emcees, the debut book of poetry by Chinaka Hodge, is a rich and mouthwatering treat for those of us brought up and still in love with the sweetness of hip-hop. These tight and playful poems about breakups and breakbeats (written with superb line breaks) have the lyrical swagger of a young Wanda Coleman. Even the book's title has a double meaning: Dated emcees who are no longer relevant and literal emcees she once dated. In 'life is good’ Hodge writes, ‘before i peeled off the vow / left not a gotdamned thing / in that house of yours / save your chiffon dear john / i did put it on once more / stared down the door / told myself if you beat sun up / maybe we can talk / i watched a pale green sky clap dawn into queens / put on my boyfriend jeans / and / left.’ The collection also features many layered metaphors, incorporating lyrics from various rap songs over the years—a treat for those familiar with such legends as Tupac and Notorious B.I.G. Hodge is developing a style all her own, both solemn and celebratory. To paraphrase Digable Planets, she’s cool like that."––Amber Tamblyn

The Rumpus

"Chinaka Hodge will break your heart, she'll make you angry, she’ll make you guilty; but mostly, she’ll tell you the truth. Her confessions of heartbreak in Dated Emcees will speak to those who have loved, lost, and re-found themselves in the small places between the punchlines."––Amanda Hildebrand

"Chinaka Hodge Talks Emcees & Aging"
Aug 3, 2016

Chinaka Hodge interviewed by Niema Jordan about Dated Emcees.

- Frank

The Mercury News

"Oakland poet/rapper/playwright Chinaka Hodge, a favorite of Dave Eggers and Hamilton star Daveed Diggs, examines her life in this tender and hard-hitting collection of 25 poems. This is autobiography as hip-hop narrative, and it sings."––Georgia Rowe

"Don't Miss Chinaka Hodge Tonight at the New Parish"
Jun 30, 2016

On her blog, Aya de Leon writes about Chinaka Hodge, her new book Dated Emcees, in anticipation of Hodge's release party at the New Parish in Oakland.

- Aya de Leon

"Chinaka Hodge releases 'Dated Emcees'"
Jun 27, 2016

Announcement and details on the Oakland release party for Dated Emcees happening at the New Parish on June 30, 2016.

- SF Gate

East Bay Express

"[T]he real hook is that, in laying out her unconditional love for both Black men and hip-hop, Hodge also reserves space to critique gender roles and power dynamics in the accompanying culture, bravely allowing those two stances to exist in the same emotional choreography."––Sarah Burke

Rebellious Magazine

"[Chinaka Hodge] states her claim in the space of words and beats with lines that require being read out loud . . . Love, depicted by Hodge in not always straightforward terms, is not meaningless because it's mysterious or messy; it is cryptic, poignant, painful (even antsy) and beautiful. . . . If you're at all like me, these poems will woo you, leave you fluttering and pondering, saddened by, touched by, and in love with the world of this poet."––Jera Brown

"Chinaka Hodge and Hip-Hop's Golden Age"
Jun 21, 2016

Chinaka Hodge and Dated Emcees profiled in East Bay Express.

- East Bay Express

"Chinaka Hodge on Love, Hip Hop and the Changing Face of Oakland"
Jun 17, 2016

Chinaka Hodge's hour-long interview on KQED Forum, includes readings from Dated Emcees, and listener questions.

- KQED Forum

"Entertainment Weekly Highlights the Two new Emcees Taking to the Page in 2016"
May 23, 2016

Coverage of Dated Emcees mention in Consortium's blog, Bookslinger. Includes a quote from City Lights publisher/exective director Elaine Katzenberger on acquiring the book from author Chinaka Hodge.

- Consortium Bookslinger

Publishers Weekly

"Cleverly shifting hip-hop's traditionally masculine focus, Hodge underscores the overlooked stories of women via persona poems ripe with color and sharp imagery. The strength of her speakers' voices are particularly noteworthy in the first-person poems, the women loving the voices of the men who surround them, but standing powerfully on their own. She also makes reference to anonymous working mothers and notable women and girls such as Erykah Badu, Kelis, and Blue Ivy Carter. Hodge’s impressive sense of line control and allusions to the genre may remind readers of Ntozake Shange. Despite the dated of the title, this is a timely collection."

"11 Best Things We Saw at BookExpo America 2016"
May 17, 2016

Entertainment Weekly highlights their BEA, which took place in Chicago in May 2016. Dated Emcees was among the best things they saw.

". . . And from City Lights Press, meet Chinaka Hodge, author of Dated Emcees—a collection of poems about hip-hop and her experiences in relationships with other rappers. She's close with Donald Glover, AKA Childish Gambino, and has collaborated with Hamilton star Daveed Diggs on his album, Small Things to a Giant."

- Entertainment Weekly


"Ultimately, this is a book that begs to be read over and over, like a favorite album that you play morning 'til night, until you know the lyrics, secret messages, and hard-won insights as intimately as you know your own beating heart. Dated Emcees is another gem from one of Oakland’s best."––Leilani Clark


"The lyrical exuberance of poet and playwright Hodge has been showcased on stage and on screen, including many appearances on HBO's Def Poetry Jam as well as The Breakbeat Poets (2015). The double meaning of her first collection allude to the speaker in Hodge’s poems having relationships with figureheads of hip-hop, from well-known rappers to broke-down hustlers, and having grown up during the genre’s golden age. But Hodge backs away from nostalgia and instead confronts the frustrating difficulty of coming-of-age as a black woman in America. She leverages the server weight of misfortune through innovative, unforgettable language ('we had a fire in the house / everything curled into damage’), and unexpected imagery (‘His thoughts are ivory that protrude from the center / of his head’). In ‘Drake questions the deceased, Vegas,’ Hodge transports twenty-first century R&B icon Drake to the site of Tupac’s murder in Sin City, delivering a devastating homage: ‘if you had been taught fame / was a fate crime against black men, / would you have still stepped in the booth?’"––Diego Baez

Oakland Magazine

"Chinaka Hodge is a brilliant poet, playwright, screenwriter, and educator from Oakland. In Dated Emcees she lays everything out on the page as she writes about her love life and hip-hop, intertwining them in a raw and powerful way. Her words evoke honest emotions as she confronts the difficulties of coming-of-age as a black woman in America. Hodge blurs the line between lived and imagined experience, and creates a new and inventive narrative that showcases her passion for hip-hop. She writes about difficult topics, and her voice shines through in a direct, confrontational, honest tone. Her poems are a breath of fresh, honest air, and her words will stay with you long after you read them."––Zoe Jennings and Judith M. Gallman

"The BreakBeat Poets: Building a Legacy"
Apr 7, 2016

One year ago at the time of the article, Haymarket Books published a groundbreaking poetry collection called The BreakBeat Poets. Featuring the work of seventy-eight different writers, The BreakBeat Poets celebrates the new "BreakBeat Generation." The BreakBeat Generation, as defined by editor Kevin Coval, is a new era whose style is fueled by the hip-hop and spoken-word movements of the Black Arts, Nuyorican, and Beat poets. 

Chinaka Hodge, who was featured in the anthology is spotlighted here with her fellow "BreakBeat Poets" who have new books in 2016.

"Dated Emcees (City Lights Publish) by Chinaka Hodg is a collection of 25 poems, meant to mirror the length of a classic double-album. Hodge's writing is fiercely intelligent and emotionally packed. Each word is so specific and powerful that it feels as if Hodge has invented them just for each poem, just for each reader. Her work explores her own love life through the lens of hip-hop's best known orators, characters, archetypes, and songs. Hodge has been featured in two seasons of HBO's Def Poetry Jam, as well as on PBS, NPR, and CNN – in other words, she’s kind of a big deal. Dated Emcees will be published on June 7, 2016."

- Consortium Bookslinger