> Skip to content
Signifying Rappers
About the book
  • Published: 1 August 2013
  • ISBN: 9780241968321
  • Imprint: Penguin eBooks
  • Format: EBook

Signifying Rappers


Formats & editions


Signifying Rappers is a fun and quirky discovery for any fan of David Foster Wallace or Hip-hop.



Signifying Rappers is an old-school classic from David Foster Wallace and his friend and room-mate Mark Costello, first published in 1990, long out of print, and previously unavailable outside the USA.



A paean to the golden age of Hip-Hop and the first book to consider seriously its position as a vital force in American culture, Signifying Rappers is a must-read for fans of both Wallace and hip-hop. Set against the legendary 1980s scene, it maps the bipolarities of rap and pop, rebellion and acceptance, glitz and gangsterdom, with an energy and exuberance which is as fresh today as when it was written.



'Costello and Wallace's pioneering study is a dazzling performance: informative, provocative, funny, brilliantly written . . . great wit, insight and in-your-face energy' Review of Contemporary Fiction



'Both a cogent explication of rap and a cutting, revealing parody of overinflated, pseudointellectual rap criticism' Seattle Weekly



David Foster Wallace, who died in 2008, was the author of the acclaimed novels Infinite Jest and The Broom of the System. His final novel, The Pale King, was published posthumously in 2011. He is also the author of the short-story collections Oblivion, Brief Interviews with Hideous Men and Girl with Curious Hair. His non-fiction includes several essay collections, including Both Flesh and Not, which was published in 2012, and the the full-length work Everything and More.



Mark Costello is the author of two novels, including the National Book Award Finalist Big If. He lives in New York City.
%%%Signifying Rappers is a fun and quirky discovery for any fan of David Foster Wallace or Hip-hop.
Signifying Rappers is an old-school classic from David Foster Wallace and his friend and room-mate Mark Costello, first published in 1990, long out of print, and previously unavailable outside the USA.
A paean to the golden age of Hip-Hop and the first book to consider seriously its position as a vital force in American culture, Signifying Rappers is a must-read for fans of both Wallace and hip-hop. Set against the legendary 1980s scene, it maps the bipolarities of rap and pop, rebellion and acceptance, glitz and gangsterdom, with an energy and exuberance which is as fresh today as when it was written.
'Costello and Wallace's pioneering study is a dazzling performance: informative, provocative, funny, brilliantly written . . . great wit, insight and in-your-face energy' Review of Contemporary Fiction
'Both a cogent explication of rap and a cutting, revealing parody of overinflated, pseudointellectual rap criticism' Seattle Weekly
David Foster Wallace, who died in 2008, was the author of the acclaimed novels Infinite Jest and The Broom of the System. His final novel, The Pale King, was published posthumously in 2011. He is also the author of the short-story collections Oblivion, Brief Interviews with Hideous Men and Girl with Curious Hair. His non-fiction includes several essay collections, including Both Flesh and Not, which was published in 2012, and the the full-length work Everything and More.
Mark Costello is the author of two novels, including the National Book Award Finalist Big If. He lives in New York City.

  • Pub date: 1 August 2013
  • ISBN: 9780241968321
  • Imprint: Penguin eBooks
  • Format: EBook

About the Authors

David Foster Wallace

David Foster Wallace wrote the novels Infinite Jest and The Broom of the System, and the story collections Oblivion, Brief Interviews With Hideous Men and Girl With Curious Hair. His nonfiction includes Consider the Lobster, A Supposedly Fun Thing I'll Never Do Again, Everything and More and This Is Water. Wallace was awarded a MacArthur Fellowship, a Lannan Literary Award and a Whiting Writers' Award. He died in 2008.

'One of the most dazzling luminaries of contemporary American fiction.' Sunday Times

'One of the most influential novelists of his generation: capable of stunning articulacy, moral insight and industry.'Independent

'A dense, agonised, brilliant and moving body of work. It seems miraculous, even heroic, that Wallace achieved what he did.'Sam Leith, Literary Review

'One of those novelists who seem to push along the evolution of the form. You can recognize his prose style by a single sentence.' Benjamin Markovits, Observer

'A wonderfully exuberant comic writer and ironist, a writer of boundless imaginative gifts. His work will continue to be read long into the future.' Jason Cowley, New Statesman


Related titles