Hip-hop pornography propels the conventions of the nearly soft-core hip-hop video to the extreme, the explicit, the hard-core. The convergence of the outlaw cultures of hip-hop and pornography offers a compelling narrative about how black sexual subjects define authority, legitimacy, legibility, and power. Hip-hop porn provides black women and men an arena for labor and accumulation as well as self-presentation, mediation, and mobility. As a space for work, survival, consumption, and identity-formation, the genre proffers an opportunity to explore the gendering of black (post)modern desires, as well as the potential to think through historical echoes of the current controversies and debates around exactly what constitutes “appropriate” black sexuality. Even as it offers a venue for acts of self-representation, pleasure, and exchange, hip-hop porn's brand of eroticism raises important questions about contemporary black gender and sexual politics. Within the space of hip-hop porn, these gender and sexual politics are produced within a sexual economy of illicit eroticism. The “illicit erotic” challenges ideas that fix the hypersexuality of the black body as always already repugnant, by using fetishized hypersexuality to strategically work with and through modern capitalism. This essay is primarily concerned with exploring how black sexual subjects engage illicit erotic economies as sites to self-fashion themselves according to the values and practices of “radical consumerism,” “play-labor,” and self- or counter-fetishization.

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