YES MISS THING, there is an Afrocentric avant-garde brewing in your rock and your soul, your hip-hop and your hardcore thrash ’n’ roll. Black music is the only art form left where the Modernist imperative of stylistic succession and secession is still in effect. Hence it becomes not only proper to speak of a standing avant-garde in that field of cultural operation but undeniable as well. A good question to ask might be why there continues to be so much plastic possibility to the prospect of edgy formal innovation in Black music when the very notion is elsewhere considered a cul-de-sac, or at least a post-Modernist faux pas. The apparent inexhaustibility of Black music’s power to take formal leaps every ten years or so suggests subconscious rather than conceptually self-conscious sources of inspiration. But while Black musicians continue to place a premium on improvisation—song production’s

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