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Chapter 7, “Songs in Madtime: Madness, Black Music, and Metaphysical Syncopation,” forwards a theory of madtime, a transgressive temporality coinciding with flows and phenomenologies of madness. It comprises the quick time of mania; the slow time of depression; the infinite and ecstatic now of schizophrenia; and the spiraling now-then-now-then of melancholia. As a critical supplement to “colored people’s time” “queer time,” and “crip time,” madtime dismisses the normative schedules of Reason (here called “Western Standard Time”), disobeys the dominant beat, and swerves instead into a metaphysical offbeat. “Mad” black musicians are prime practitioners of madtime, adapting it as a radical time signature in protest music. In order to bear out and sound out this claim, this chapter samples the music of Buddy Bolden, Nina Simone, Charles Mingus, Lauryn Hill, Kendrick Lamar, and Frank Ocean, producing a medley in madtime that is also a grand finale for this book.

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