hans robert jauss

A literary work, even when it appears to be new, does not present itself as something absolutely new in an informational vacuum, but predisposes its audience to a very specific kind of reception by announcements, overt and covert signals, familiar characteristics, or implicit allusions. It awakens memories of that which was already read, bring the reader to a specific emotional attitude, and with its beginning arouses expectations for the “middle and end,” which can
then be maintained intact or altered, reoriented, or even fulfilled ironically in the course of the reading according to specific rules of the genre or type of text.
—  Hans Robert Jauss
the relationship of work to work must now be brought into this interaction between work and mankind, and the historical coherence of works among themselves must be seen in the interrelations of production and reception. Put another way: literature and art only obtain a history that has the character of a process when the succession of works is mediated not only through the producing subject but also through the consuming subject—through the interaction of author and public.
—  Hans Robert Jauss
“Literary History as a Challenge to Literary Theory” (1969) 

Lankes, Silverstein, and Nicholson say knowledge is created through conversation. I think of hip-hop as more of a conversation than other forms of art. And maybe it’s music in general, but hip-hop’s really what I know best. The art form I probably know better than music is writing. It feels like a conversation, but I think it’s Jauss who points out that many artists of literature could be seen as trying to change the paradigm, change the way readers think about literature, write something so different from anything that’s come before that it has to be received and thereby remembered differently.

Vince Staples says rap is too mimetic. Too much about repeating and reliving and, perhaps, reifying past successes. He says it’s the reason Kanye West is the only rapper that has achieved rock star status. But I wonder if that’s such a bad thing. A conversation connects or even creates communities. I appreciate what Kanye West does, but do we really need more rock stars? Do we tackle the individualistic, capitalistic system by conquering it, by beating it at its own game? Or do we try something different?