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  • Acknowledgments  ix

    Prologue. The Gig  1

    Introduction. A Legion of Boom  7

    1. Cue it Up: Social Preconditions for the Mobile Scene  29

    2. Team Building: Mobile Crew Formations  49

    3. Unlimited Creations: The Mobile Scene Takes Off  79

    4. Imaginings: Building Community in the Showcase Era  95

    5. Take Me Out with the Fader: The Decline of the Mobile Scene  125

    Conclusion. Echo Effects  151

    Appendix 1. Captians of the Field: San Francisco Drill Teams  163

    Appendix 2. Born Versus Sworn: Filipino American Youth Gangs  167

    Notes  173

    References  203

    Index  213
  • “Wang's account strikes a careful balance between oral history and analysis, grounded in ethnography while also working to interpret and elaborate the significance of the story. … [W]ith an annotated oral history at its core, Legions Of Boom is centred on the words of the scene's participants and Wang's insightful perspectives as a scholar, a journalist and a DJ.”

    "It's not easy to write a book that works both as an academic text and is readily accessible to the general public, but Wang does an excellent job walking that line with Legions of Boom. His research is great, and he explains things in a way that is very easy to digest. I couldn’t recommend this book enough."

    "Legions of Boom makes a fascinating contribution to popular music history and to studies of music scenes by sharing the practices behind the mobile DJ crews of the Bay Area."

    "This highly readable book significantly advances our understandings of music scenes and their symbiotic relationship with marginalized communities of youth. Since historically Filipino Americans have been excluded from U.S. racial/ethnic discourse, Wang does sociology a tremendous service in shining further light on a key aspect of this important group’s history."

    "Legions of Boom is a tangible resource for researchers interested in grassroots developments by marginalized communities who adapt mainstream American popular culture as a source of income and social currency."

    "The greatest strength of Wang’s work, above and beyond providing important historical documentation of a neglected musical scene, is that he offers a sophisticated theoretical analysis that highlights how social class, gender, and ethnicity structure the distribution of various types of capital (symbolic, erotic, cultural, economic) within mobile DJing."

    "Wang writes in an accessible style appealing to both scholars and casual readers.... Legions of Boom is a substantial work that shines light on yet another example of a musical genre’s relation to the formation and maintenance of cultural identities."
     

    Reviews

  • “Wang's account strikes a careful balance between oral history and analysis, grounded in ethnography while also working to interpret and elaborate the significance of the story. … [W]ith an annotated oral history at its core, Legions Of Boom is centred on the words of the scene's participants and Wang's insightful perspectives as a scholar, a journalist and a DJ.”

    "It's not easy to write a book that works both as an academic text and is readily accessible to the general public, but Wang does an excellent job walking that line with Legions of Boom. His research is great, and he explains things in a way that is very easy to digest. I couldn’t recommend this book enough."

    "Legions of Boom makes a fascinating contribution to popular music history and to studies of music scenes by sharing the practices behind the mobile DJ crews of the Bay Area."

    "This highly readable book significantly advances our understandings of music scenes and their symbiotic relationship with marginalized communities of youth. Since historically Filipino Americans have been excluded from U.S. racial/ethnic discourse, Wang does sociology a tremendous service in shining further light on a key aspect of this important group’s history."

    "Legions of Boom is a tangible resource for researchers interested in grassroots developments by marginalized communities who adapt mainstream American popular culture as a source of income and social currency."

    "The greatest strength of Wang’s work, above and beyond providing important historical documentation of a neglected musical scene, is that he offers a sophisticated theoretical analysis that highlights how social class, gender, and ethnicity structure the distribution of various types of capital (symbolic, erotic, cultural, economic) within mobile DJing."

    "Wang writes in an accessible style appealing to both scholars and casual readers.... Legions of Boom is a substantial work that shines light on yet another example of a musical genre’s relation to the formation and maintenance of cultural identities."
     

  • "As a writer and scholar Oliver Wang is relentlessly insightful and compulsively readable. Here it's impossible not to feel his passion for the pleasures and follies of immigrant and second-gen Filipino American youth, as he follows them from their suburban garages into the rapture of flashing lights and rising tempos, and the warm electricity of bodies moving together on a Saturday night. With Legions of Boom, Wang has created something indispensable—a singular document of a forgotten yet influential era in west coast hip-hop and dance music, a rare and rich account of protean Asian American creativity, and a subtle, poetic work of ethnography."
    — Jeff Chang, author of, Who We Be: The Colorizaton of America

    "For more than a decade Oliver Wang has produced some of the keener insights on what’s been happening in popular culture and popular music in particular. Legions of Boom is the best evidence of what Wang’s instinctive intellect looks like when allowed to flourish in the long form, and will prove to be indispensable to future analyses of the cultural formations that coalesce around popular expression."
    — Mark Anthony Neal, author, Looking for Leroy: Illegible Black Masculinities

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  • Description

    Armed with speakers, turntables, light systems, and records, Filipino American mobile DJ crews, such as Ultimate Creations, Spintronix, and Images, Inc., rocked dance floors throughout the San Francisco Bay Area from the late 1970s through the mid-1990s. In Legions of Boom noted music and pop culture writer and scholar Oliver Wang chronicles this remarkable scene that eventually became the cradle for turntablism. These crews, which were instrumental in helping to create and unify the Bay Area's Filipino American community, gave young men opportunities to assert their masculinity and gain social status. While crews regularly spun records for school dances, weddings, birthdays, or garage parties, the scene's centerpieces were showcases—or multi-crew performances—which drew crowds of hundreds, or even thousands. By the mid-1990s the scene was in decline, as single DJs became popular, recruitment to crews fell off, and aspiring scratch DJs branched off into their own scene. As the training ground for a generation of DJs, including DJ Q-Bert, Shortkut, and Mix Master Mike, the mobile scene left an indelible mark on its community that eventually grew to have a global impact.

    About The Author(s)

    Oliver Wang is Associate Professor of Sociology at California State University, Long Beach. He is the editor of Classic Material: The Hip-Hop Album Guide and has written for NPR, Vibe, Wax Poetics, the Los Angeles Times, the Oakland Tribune, and the Village Voice, amongst others.
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