Popular Hip Hop Books

30+ [Hand Picked] Popular Books On Hip Hop

Discover the list of some best books written on Hip Hop by popular award winning authors. These book on topic Hip Hop highly popular among the readers worldwide.

4.6/5

The Rap Year Book: The Most Important Rap Song From Every Year Since 1979, Discussed, Debated, and Deconstructed by Shea Serrano

The Rap Year Book takes readers on a journey that begins in 1979, widely regarded as the moment rap became recognized as part of the cultural and musical landscape, and comes right up to the present. Shea Serrano deftly pays homage to the most important song of each year. Serrano also examines the most important moments that surround the history and culture of rap music—fr The Rap Year Book takes readers on a journey that begins in 1979, widely regarded as the moment rap became recognized as part of the cultural and musical landscape, and comes right up to the present. Shea Serrano deftly pays homage to the most important song of each year. Serrano also examines the most important moments that surround the history and culture of rap music—from artists’ backgrounds to issues of race, the rise of hip-hop, and the struggles among its major players—both personal and professional. Covering East Coast and West Coast, famous rapper feuds, chart toppers, and show stoppers, The Rap Year Book is an in-depth look at the most influential genre of music to come out of the last generation.    Complete with infographics, lyric maps, hilarious and informative footnotes, portraits of the artists, and short essays by other prominent music writers, The Rap Year Book is both a narrative and illustrated guide to the most iconic and influential rap songs ever created. 

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3.7/5

Hip Hop Family Tree, Vol. 1: 1970s-1981 by Ed Piskor

The lore of the early days of hip hop has become the stuff of myth, so what better way to document this fascinating, epic true story than in another great American mythological medium -- the comic book? From exciting young talent and self-proclaimed hip hop nerd Ed Piskor, acclaimed for his hacker graphic novel Wizzywig, comes this explosively entertaining, encyclopedic hi The lore of the early days of hip hop has become the stuff of myth, so what better way to document this fascinating, epic true story than in another great American mythological medium -- the comic book? From exciting young talent and self-proclaimed hip hop nerd Ed Piskor, acclaimed for his hacker graphic novel Wizzywig, comes this explosively entertaining, encyclopedic history of the formative years of the music genre that changed global culture. Originally serialized on the hugely popular website Boing Boing, The Hip Hop Family Tree is now collected in a single volume cleverly presented and packaged in a style mimicking the Marvel comics of the same era. Piskor's exuberant yet controlled cartooning takes you from the parks and rec rooms of the South Bronx to the night clubs, recording studios, and radio stations where the scene started to boom, capturing the flavor of late-1970s New York City in panels bursting with obsessively authentic detail. With a painstaking, vigorous and engaging Ken Burns meets- Stan Lee approach, the battles and rivalries, the technical innovations, the triumphs and failures are all thoroughly researched and lovingly depicted. plus the charismatic players behind the scenes like Russell Simmons, Sylvia Robinson and then-punker Rick Rubin. Piskor also traces graffiti master Fab 5 Freddy's rise in the art world, and Debbie Harry, Keith Haring, The Clash, and other luminaries make cameos as the music and culture begin to penetrate downtown Manhattan and the mainstream at large. Like the acclaimed hip hop documentaries Style Wars and Scratch, The Hip Hop Family Tree is an exciting and essential cultural chronicle and a must for hip hop fans, pop-culture addicts, and anyone who wants to know how it went down back in the day.

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3.5/5

Dirty South: OutKast, Lil Wayne, Soulja Boy, and the Southern Rappers Who Reinvented Hip-Hop by Ben Westhoff

Rap music from New York and Los Angeles once ruled the charts, but nowadays the southern sound thoroughly dominates the radio, Billboard, and MTV. Coastal artists like Wu-Tang Clan, Nas, and Ice-T call southern rap “garbage,” but they’re probably just jealous, as artists like Lil Wayne and T.I. still move millions of copies, and OutKast has the bestselling rap album of all Rap music from New York and Los Angeles once ruled the charts, but nowadays the southern sound thoroughly dominates the radio, Billboard, and MTV. Coastal artists like Wu-Tang Clan, Nas, and Ice-T call southern rap “garbage,” but they’re probably just jealous, as artists like Lil Wayne and T.I. still move millions of copies, and OutKast has the bestselling rap album of all time. In Dirty South, author Ben Westhoff investigates the southern rap phenomenon, watching rappers “make it rain” in a Houston strip club and partying with the 2 Live Crew’s Luke Campbell. Westhoff visits the gritty neighborhoods where T.I. and Lil Wayne grew up, kicks it with Big Boi in Atlanta, and speaks with artists like DJ Smurf and Ms. Peachez, dance-craze originators accused of setting back the black race fifty years. Acting both as investigative journalist and irreverent critic, Westhoff probes the celebrated-but-dark history of Houston label Rap-A-Lot Records, details the lethal rivalry between Atlanta MCs Gucci Mane and Young Jeezy, and gets venerable rapper Scarface to open up about his time in a mental institution. Dirty South features exclusive interviews with the genre’s most colorful players. Westhoff has written a journalistic tour de force, the definitive account of the most vital musical culture of our time.

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4.6/5

My Infamous Life: The Autobiography of Mobb Deep's Prodigy by Albert Johnson , Laura Checkoway

Book by Johnson, Albert "Prodigy"

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4.2/5

Mo' Meta Blues: The World According to Questlove by Ahmir Questlove Thompson , Ben Greenman

MO' META BLUES The World According to Questlove Mo' Meta Blues is a punch-drunk memoir in which Everyone's Favorite Questlove tells his own story while tackling some of the lates, the greats, the fakes, the philosophers, the heavyweights, and the true originals of the music world. He digs deep into the album cuts of his life and unearths some pivotal moments in black art, hi MO' META BLUES The World According to Questlove Mo' Meta Blues is a punch-drunk memoir in which Everyone's Favorite Questlove tells his own story while tackling some of the lates, the greats, the fakes, the philosophers, the heavyweights, and the true originals of the music world. He digs deep into the album cuts of his life and unearths some pivotal moments in black art, hip hop, and pop culture. Ahmir "Questlove" Thompson is many things: virtuoso drummer, producer, arranger, Late Night with Jimmy Fallon bandleader, DJ, composer, and tireless Tweeter. He is one of our most ubiquitous cultural tastemakers, and in this, his first book, he reveals his own formative experiences--from growing up in 1970s West Philly as the son of a 1950s doo-wop singer, to finding his own way through the music world and ultimately co-founding and rising up with the Roots, a.k.a., the last hip hop band on Earth. Mo' Meta Blues also has some (many) random (or not) musings about the state of hip hop, the state of music criticism, the state of statements, as well as a plethora of run-ins with celebrities, idols, and fellow artists, from Stevie Wonder to KISS to D'Angelo to Jay-Z to Dave Chappelle to...you ever seen Prince roller-skate?!? But Mo' Meta Blues isn't just a memoir. It's a dialogue about the nature of memory and the idea of a post-modern black man saddled with some post-modern blues. It's a book that questions what a book like Mo' Meta Blues really is. It's the side wind of a one-of-a-kind mind. It's a rare gift that gives as well as takes. It's a record that keeps going around and around.

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4.6/5

One Day It'll All Make Sense by Common , Adam Bradley

Common has earned a reputation in the hip hop world as a conscious artist by embracing themes of love and struggle in his songs, and by sharing his own search for knowledge with his listeners. His journey toward understanding—expressed in his music and now in his roles in film and television—is rooted in his relationship with a remarkable woman, his mother, Mahalia Ann Hin Common has earned a reputation in the hip hop world as a conscious artist by embracing themes of love and struggle in his songs, and by sharing his own search for knowledge with his listeners. His journey toward understanding—expressed in his music and now in his roles in film and television—is rooted in his relationship with a remarkable woman, his mother, Mahalia Ann Hines.In One Day It’ll All Make Sense, Common holds nothing back. He tells what it was like for a boy with big dreams growing up on the South Side of Chicago. He reveals how he almost quit rapping after his first album, Can I Borrow a Dollar?, sold only two thousand copies. He recounts his rise to stardom, giving a behind-the-scenes look into the recording studios, concerts, movie sets, and after-parties of a hip-hop celebrity and movie star. He reflects on his controversial invitation to perform at the White House, a story that grabbed international headlines. And he talks about the challenges of balancing fame, love, and fatherhood. One Day It’ll All Make Sense is a gripping memoir, both provocative and funny. Common shares never-before-told stories about his encounters with everyone from Tupac to Biggie, Ice Cube to Lauryn Hill, Barack Obama to Nelson Mandela. Drawing upon his own lyrics for inspiration, he invites the reader to go behind the spotlight to see him as he really is—not just as Common but as Lonnie Rashid Lynn. Each chapter begins with a letter from Common addressed to an important person in his life—from his daughter to his close friend and collaborator Kanye West, from his former love Erykah Badu to you, the reader. Through it all, Common emerges as a man in full. Rapper. Actor. Activist. But also father, son, and friend. Common’s story offers a living example of how, no matter what you’ve gone through, one day it’ll all make sense.

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3.2/5

When the Beat Was Born: DJ Kool Herc and the Creation of Hip Hop by Laban Carrick Hill , Theodore Taylor III (Illustrations)

Before there was hip hop, there was DJ Kool Herc. On a hot day at the end of summer in 1973 Cindy Campbell threw a back-to-school party at a park in the South Bronx. Her brother, Clive Campbell, spun the records. He had a new way of playing the music to make the breaks—the musical interludes between verses—longer for dancing. He called himself DJ Kool Herc and this is When Before there was hip hop, there was DJ Kool Herc. On a hot day at the end of summer in 1973 Cindy Campbell threw a back-to-school party at a park in the South Bronx. Her brother, Clive Campbell, spun the records. He had a new way of playing the music to make the breaks—the musical interludes between verses—longer for dancing. He called himself DJ Kool Herc and this is When the Beat Was Born. From his childhood in Jamaica to his youth in the Bronx, here's how Kool Herc came to be a DJ, how kids in gangs stopped fighting in order to breakdance, and how the music he invented went on to define a culture and transform the world.

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4.3/5

The Psychological Covert War on Hip Hop: The Illuminati's takeover of Hip Hop by Professor Griff

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4.1/5

The Dozens: A History of Rap's Mama by Elijah Wald

From Two Live Crew's controversial comedy to Ice Cube's gangsta styling and the battle rhymes of a streetcorner cypher, rap has always drawn on deep traditions of African American poetic word-play, In Talking 'Bout Your Mama, author Elijah Wald explores one of the most potent sources of rap: the viciously funny, outrageously inventive insult game known as "the dozens." So From Two Live Crew's controversial comedy to Ice Cube's gangsta styling and the battle rhymes of a streetcorner cypher, rap has always drawn on deep traditions of African American poetic word-play, In Talking 'Bout Your Mama, author Elijah Wald explores one of the most potent sources of rap: the viciously funny, outrageously inventive insult game known as "the dozens." So what is the dozens? At its simplest, it's a comic chain of "yo' mama" jokes. At its most complex, it's an intricate form of social interaction that reaches back to African ceremonial rituals. Wald traces the tradition of African American street rhyming and verbal combat that has ruled urban neighborhoods since the early 1900s. Whether considered vernacular poetry, aggressive dueling, a test of street cool, or just a mess of dirty insults, the dozens is a basic building block of African-American culture. A game which could inspire raucous laughter or escalate to violence, it provided a wellspring of rhymes, attitude, and raw humor that has influenced pop musicians from Jelly Roll Morton and Robert Johnson to Tupac Shakur and Jay Z. Wald goes back to the dozens' roots, looking at mother-insulting and verbal combat from Greenland to the sources of the Niger, and shows its breadth of influence in the seminal writings of Richard Wright, Langston Hughes, and Zora Neale Hurston; the comedy of Richard Pryor and George Carlin; the dark humor of the blues; the hip slang and competitive jamming of jazz; and in its ultimate evolution into the improvisatory battling of rap. From schoolyard games and rural work songs to urban novels and nightclub comedy, and pop hits from ragtime to rap, Wald uses the dozens as a lens to provide new insight into over a century of African American culture. A groundbreaking work, Talking 'Bout Your Mama is an essential book for anyone interested in African American cultural studies, history and linguistics, and the origins of rap music.

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4.8/5

The Tanning of America: How Hip-Hop Created a Culture That Rewrote the Rules of the New Economy by Steve Stoute

The business marketing genius at the forefront of today's entertainment marketing revolution helps corporate America get hip to today's new consumer-the tan generation - by learning from hip-hop and youth culture. "He is the conduit between corporate America and rap and the streets-he speaks both languages." -Jay-Z "It's amazing to see the direct impact that black music The business marketing genius at the forefront of today's entertainment marketing revolution helps corporate America get hip to today's new consumer-the tan generation - by learning from hip-hop and youth culture. "He is the conduit between corporate America and rap and the streets-he speaks both languages." -Jay-Z "It's amazing to see the direct impact that black music, videos and the internet have had on culture. I've seen so many people race to the top of pop stardom using the everyday mannerisms of the hood in a pop setting. It's time to embrace this phenomenon because it ain't going nowhere!" -Kanye West When Fortune 500 companies need to reenergize or reinvent a lagging brand, they call Steve Stoute. In addition to marrying cultural icons with blue-chip marketers (Beyoncé for Tommy Hilfiger's True Star fragrance, and Justin Timberlake for "lovin' it" at McDonald's), Stoute has helped identify and activate a new generation of consumers. He traces how the "tanning" phenomenon raised a generation of black, Hispanic, white, and Asian consumers who have the same "mental complexion" based on shared experiences and values. This consumer is a mindset-not a race or age-that responds to shared values and experiences, rather than the increasingly irrelevant demographic boxes that have been used to a fault by corporate America. And Stoute believes there is a language gap that must be bridged in order to engage the most powerful market force in the history of commerce. The Tanning of America provides that very translation guide. Drawing from his company's case studies, as well as from extensive interviews with leading figures of multiple fields, Stoute presents an insider's view of how the transcendent power of popular culture is helping reinvigorate and revitalize the American dream. He shows how he bridges the worlds of pop culture, brand consulting, and marketing in his turnkey campaigns offers keen insight into other successful campaigns-including the election of Barack Obama-to illustrate the power of the tan generation, and how to connect with it while staying true to your core brand.

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4.9/5

Game Over: My Love for Hip Hop by Winter Ramos

Winter Ramos, one of the drama-filled faces of Love and Hip Hop New York, Season 3 delivers a brazen and unabashed memoir of her life in the world of hip hop. In Game Over, Winter puts all of her emotions on the page leaving no experience, emotional abuse, or former lover uncovered. From her days as assistant to rapper, Fabolous and friend to Jada Kiss, to appearing on Lov Winter Ramos, one of the drama-filled faces of Love and Hip Hop New York, Season 3 delivers a brazen and unabashed memoir of her life in the world of hip hop. In Game Over, Winter puts all of her emotions on the page leaving no experience, emotional abuse, or former lover uncovered. From her days as assistant to rapper, Fabolous and friend to Jada Kiss, to appearing on Love and Hip Hop and being Creative Costume Designer for Flavor unit Films, Winter delivers a tell-all book on her famous ex-lovers and experiences in the music industry. As the chick that was always in the mix and cool with everyone, Winter was privy to the cray beyond the videos, private flights, and limos that the cameras caught for us. Her reality and theirs was no game. Game Over is Winter's cautionary tale for the next generation of young women who believe that the fabulous lives of celebrities unveiled in blogs and on reality television shows are all FIRE! Stay tuned, because this GAME is about to get real

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3.7/5

Ice: A Memoir of Gangster Life and Redemption-from South Central to Hollywood by Ice-T , Douglas Century

My life’s been a great story / In the ultimate war / Should I ill or do right? / Make peace or go raw?—Ice-T, “Exodus”   He’s a hip-hop icon credited with single-handedly creating gangsta rap in the 1980s. Television viewers know him as Detective Odafin “Fin” Tutuola on the top-rated TV drama Law & Order: SVU. But where the hype and the headlines end, the real story of I My life’s been a great story / In the ultimate war / Should I ill or do right? / Make peace or go raw?—Ice-T, “Exodus”   He’s a hip-hop icon credited with single-handedly creating gangsta rap in the 1980s. Television viewers know him as Detective Odafin “Fin” Tutuola on the top-rated TV drama Law & Order: SVU. But where the hype and the headlines end, the real story of Ice-T—the one few of his millions of fans have ever heard—truly begins. Ice is Ice-T in his own words—raw, uncensored, and unafraid to speak his mind. About his orphan upbringing on the gang-infested streets of South Central Los Angeles. About his four-year stint in the U.S. Army’s famed “Tropic Lightning” outfit. About his successful career as a hustler and thief, the car crash that nearly killed him, and the fateful decision to turn away from a life of crime and forge his own path to international entertainment stardom. Ice by Ice-T is both a tell-it-like-it-is tale of redemption and a star-studded tour of the pop culture firmament. The acclaimed rapper and actor shares never-before-told stories about friends like Tupac, Dick Wolf, Chris Rock, and an antler-clad Flavor Flav, among others. Readers will ride along as Ice-T’s incendiary rock band Body Count narrowly escapes from a riotous mob of angry concertgoers in Milan, and listen in as the music legend battles the self-appointed censors over his controversial “Cop Killer” single. Most of all, Ice is the place where one of the game’s most opinionated players breaks down his own secret plan for living, offering up candid observations on marriage and monogamy, the current state of hip-hop, and his latest passion: doing one-on-one gang interventions and mentoring at-risk youths around the country. With insights into the cutthroat world of the street—and the cutthroat world of Hollywood—Ice is the inspirational story of a true American original.

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3.6/5

Soul Train: The Music, Dance, and Style of a Generation by Ahmir Questlove Thompson

From Ahmir "Questlove" Thompson of the award-winning hip-hop group the Roots, comes this vibrant book commemorating the legacy of Soul Train—the cultural phenomenon that launched the careers of artists such as Tina Turner, Stevie Wonder, the Jackson 5, Whitney Houston, Lenny Kravitz, LL Cool J, and Aretha Franklin. Questlove reveals the remarkable story of the captivating From Ahmir "Questlove" Thompson of the award-winning hip-hop group the Roots, comes this vibrant book commemorating the legacy of Soul Train—the cultural phenomenon that launched the careers of artists such as Tina Turner, Stevie Wonder, the Jackson 5, Whitney Houston, Lenny Kravitz, LL Cool J, and Aretha Franklin. Questlove reveals the remarkable story of the captivating program, and his text is paired with more than 350 photographs of the show's most memorable episodes and the larger-than-life characters who defined it: the great host Don Cornelius, the extraordinary musicians, and the people who lived the phenomenon from dance floor. Gladys Knight contributed a foreword to this incredible volume. Nick Cannon contributed the preface.

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4.5/5

J Dilla's Donuts by Jordan Ferguson

From a Los Angeles hospital bed, equipped with little more than a laptop and a stack of records, James "J Dilla" Yancey crafted a set of tracks that would forever change the way beatmakers viewed their artform. The songs on Donuts are not hip hop music as "hip hop music" is typically defined; they careen and crash into each other, in one moment noisy and abrasive, gorgeous From a Los Angeles hospital bed, equipped with little more than a laptop and a stack of records, James "J Dilla" Yancey crafted a set of tracks that would forever change the way beatmakers viewed their artform. The songs on Donuts are not hip hop music as "hip hop music" is typically defined; they careen and crash into each other, in one moment noisy and abrasive, gorgeous and heartbreaking the next. The samples and melodies tell the story of a man coming to terms with his declining health, a final love letter to the family and friends he was leaving behind. As a prolific producer with a voracious appetite for the history and mechanics of the music he loved, J Dilla knew the records that went into constructing Donuts inside and out. He could have taken them all and made a much different, more accessible album. If the widely accepted view is that his final work is a record about dying, the question becomes why did he make this record about dying? Drawing from philosophy, critical theory and musicology, as well as Dilla's own musical catalogue, Jordan Ferguson shows that the contradictory, irascible and confrontational music found on Donuts is as much a result of an artist's declining health as it is an example of what scholars call "late style," placing the album in a musical tradition that stretches back centuries.

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3.3/5

Hip Hop Family Tree, Vol. 2: 1981-1983 by Ed Piskor

Covering the early years of 1981-1983, Hip Hop has made a big transition from the parks and rec rooms to downtown clubs and vinyl records. The performers make moves to separate themselves from the paying customers by dressing more and more flamboyant until a young group called RUN-DMC comes on the scene to take things back to the streets. This volume covers hits like Afrik Covering the early years of 1981-1983, Hip Hop has made a big transition from the parks and rec rooms to downtown clubs and vinyl records. The performers make moves to separate themselves from the paying customers by dressing more and more flamboyant until a young group called RUN-DMC comes on the scene to take things back to the streets. This volume covers hits like Afrika Bambaataa s Planet Rock, Grandmaster Flash and the Furious Five s the Message, the movie Wild Style and introduces superstars like NWA, The Beastie Boys, Doug E Fresh, KRS One, ICE T, and early Public Enemy. Cameos by Dolemite, LL Cool J, Notorious BIG, and New Kids on the Block (?!)!"

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3.7/5

Can't Stop Won't Stop: A History of the Hip-Hop Generation by Jeff Chang , D.J. Kool Herc

Can't Stop Won't Stop is a powerful cultural and social history of the end of the American century, and a provocative look into the new world that the hip-hop generation created. Forged in the fires of the Bronx and Kingston, Jamaica, hip-hop became the Esperanto of youth rebellion and a generation-defining movement. In a post-civil rights era defined by deindustrialization Can't Stop Won't Stop is a powerful cultural and social history of the end of the American century, and a provocative look into the new world that the hip-hop generation created. Forged in the fires of the Bronx and Kingston, Jamaica, hip-hop became the Esperanto of youth rebellion and a generation-defining movement. In a post-civil rights era defined by deindustrialization and globalization, hip-hop crystallized a multiracial, polycultural generation's worldview, and transformed American politics and culture. But that epic story has never been told with this kind of breadth, insight, and style. Based on original interviews with DJs, b-boys, rappers, graffiti writers, activists, and gang members, with unforgettable portraits of many of hip-hop's forebears, founders, and mavericks, including DJ Kool Herc, Afrika Bambaataa, Chuck D, and Ice Cube, Can't Stop Won't Stop chronicles the events, the ideas, the music, and the art that marked the hip-hop generation's rise from the ashes of the 60's into the new millennium.

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4/5

Decoded by Jay-Z

Decoded is a book like no other: a collection of lyrics and their meanings that together tell the story of a culture, an art form, a moment in history, and one of the most provocative and successful artists of our time. “Hip-hop’s renaissance man drops a classic. . . . Heartfelt, passionate and slick.”— Kirkus, starred review

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3.7/5

Mo' Meta Blues: The World According to Questlove by Ahmir Questlove Thompson , Ben Greenman

MO' META BLUES The World According to Questlove Mo' Meta Blues is a punch-drunk memoir in which Everyone's Favorite Questlove tells his own story while tackling some of the lates, the greats, the fakes, the philosophers, the heavyweights, and the true originals of the music world. He digs deep into the album cuts of his life and unearths some pivotal moments in black art, hi MO' META BLUES The World According to Questlove Mo' Meta Blues is a punch-drunk memoir in which Everyone's Favorite Questlove tells his own story while tackling some of the lates, the greats, the fakes, the philosophers, the heavyweights, and the true originals of the music world. He digs deep into the album cuts of his life and unearths some pivotal moments in black art, hip hop, and pop culture. Ahmir "Questlove" Thompson is many things: virtuoso drummer, producer, arranger, Late Night with Jimmy Fallon bandleader, DJ, composer, and tireless Tweeter. He is one of our most ubiquitous cultural tastemakers, and in this, his first book, he reveals his own formative experiences--from growing up in 1970s West Philly as the son of a 1950s doo-wop singer, to finding his own way through the music world and ultimately co-founding and rising up with the Roots, a.k.a., the last hip hop band on Earth. Mo' Meta Blues also has some (many) random (or not) musings about the state of hip hop, the state of music criticism, the state of statements, as well as a plethora of run-ins with celebrities, idols, and fellow artists, from Stevie Wonder to KISS to D'Angelo to Jay-Z to Dave Chappelle to...you ever seen Prince roller-skate?!? But Mo' Meta Blues isn't just a memoir. It's a dialogue about the nature of memory and the idea of a post-modern black man saddled with some post-modern blues. It's a book that questions what a book like Mo' Meta Blues really is. It's the side wind of a one-of-a-kind mind. It's a rare gift that gives as well as takes. It's a record that keeps going around and around.

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5/5

The Tao of Wu by The RZA

A unique book of wisdom and experience that reaches from the most violent slums of New York City to the highest planes of spiritual thought by the RZA, hip-hop?s most exalted wise man. The RZA, the Abbot of the Wu-Tang Clan and hip-hop culture?s most dynamic genius, imparts the lessons he?s learned on the journey that?s taken him from the Staten Island projects to internat A unique book of wisdom and experience that reaches from the most violent slums of New York City to the highest planes of spiritual thought by the RZA, hip-hop?s most exalted wise man. The RZA, the Abbot of the Wu-Tang Clan and hip-hop culture?s most dynamic genius, imparts the lessons he?s learned on the journey that?s taken him from the Staten Island projects to international superstar, all along the way a devout student of knowledge in every form he?s found it?on the streets, in religion, in martial arts, in chess, in popular culture. Part chronicle of an extraordinary life and part spiritual and philosophical discourse, The Tao of Wu is a nonfiction Siddhartha for the hip-hop generation ?an engaging, seeking book that will enlighten, entertain, and inspire. The legions of Wu-Tang fans are accustomed to this heady mix?their obsession with the band?s puzzlelike lyrics and elaborate mythology has propelled the group through fifteen years of dazzling, multiplatform success. In his 2005 bestseller The Wu-Tang Manual, the RZA provided the barest glimpse of how that mythology worked. In The Tao of Wu, he takes us deep inside the complex sense of wisdom and spirituality that has been at the core of his commercial and creative success. The book is built around major moments in the RZA?s life when he was faced with a dramatic turning point, either bad (a potential prison sentence) or good (a record deal that could pull his family out of poverty), and the lessons he took from each experience. His points of view are always surprising and provocative, and reveal a profound, genuine, and abiding wisdom?consistently tempered with humor and peppered with unique, colloquial phraseology. It is a spiritual memoir as the world has never seen before, and will never see again.

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3.3/5

The Hip Hop Wars: What We Talk About When We Talk About Hip Hop--and Why It Matters by Tricia Rose

How hip hop shapes our conversations about race--and how race influences our consideration of hip hop Hip hop is a distinctive form of black art in America-from Tupac to the Pulitzer Prize-winning Kendrick Lamar, hip hop has long given voice to the African American experience. As scholar and cultural critic Tricia Rose argues, hip hop, in fact, has become one of the primar How hip hop shapes our conversations about race--and how race influences our consideration of hip hop Hip hop is a distinctive form of black art in America-from Tupac to the Pulitzer Prize-winning Kendrick Lamar, hip hop has long given voice to the African American experience. As scholar and cultural critic Tricia Rose argues, hip hop, in fact, has become one of the primary ways we talk about race in the United States. But hip hop is in crisis. For years, the most commercially successful hip hop has become increasingly saturated with caricatures of black gangstas, thugs, pimps, and hos. This both represents and feeds a problem in black American culture. Or does it? In The Hip-Hop Wars, Rose explores the most crucial issues underlying the polarized claims on each side of the debate: Does hip hop cause violence, or merely reflect a violent ghetto culture? Is hip hop sexist, or are its detractors simply anti-sex? Does the portrayal of black culture in hip hop undermine black advancement? A potent exploration of a divisive and important subject, The Hip Hop Wars concludes with a call for the regalvanization of the progressive and creative heart of hip hop. What Rose calls for is not a sanitized vision of the form, but one that more accurately reflects a much richer space of culture, politics, anger, and yes, sex, than the current ubiquitous images in sound and video currently provide.

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3.1/5

Book of Rhymes: The Poetics of Hip Hop by Adam Bradley

If asked to list the greatest innovators of modern American poetry, few of us would think to include Jay-Z or Eminem in their number. And yet hip hop is the source of some of the most exciting developments in verse today. The media uproar in response to its controversial lyrical content has obscured hip hop's revolution of poetic craft and experience: Only in rap music can If asked to list the greatest innovators of modern American poetry, few of us would think to include Jay-Z or Eminem in their number. And yet hip hop is the source of some of the most exciting developments in verse today. The media uproar in response to its controversial lyrical content has obscured hip hop's revolution of poetic craft and experience: Only in rap music can the beat of a song render poetic meter audible, allowing an MC's wordplay to move a club-full of eager listeners.Examining rap history's most memorable lyricists and their inimitable techniques, literary scholar Adam Bradley argues that we must understand rap as poetry or miss the vanguard of poetry today. Book of Rhymes explores America's least understood poets, unpacking their surprisingly complex craft, and according rap poetry the respect it deserves.

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4.1/5

Black Noise: Rap Music and Black Culture in Contemporary America (Music & Culture) by Tricia Rose

From its beginnings in hip hop culture, the dense rhythms and aggressive lyrics of rap music have made it a provocative fixture on the American cultural landscape. In Black Noise: Rap Music and Black Culture in Contemporary America, Tricia Rose, described by the New York Times as a "hip hop theorist," takes a comprehensive look at the lyrics, music, cultures, themes, and s From its beginnings in hip hop culture, the dense rhythms and aggressive lyrics of rap music have made it a provocative fixture on the American cultural landscape. In Black Noise: Rap Music and Black Culture in Contemporary America, Tricia Rose, described by the New York Times as a "hip hop theorist," takes a comprehensive look at the lyrics, music, cultures, themes, and styles of this highly rhythmic, rhymed storytelling and grapples with the most salient issues and debates that surround it. Assistant Professor of Africana Studies and History at New York University, Tricia Rose sorts through rap's multiple voices by exploring its underlying urban cultural politics, particularly the influential New York City rap scene, and discusses rap as a unique musical form in which traditional African-based oral traditions fuse with cutting-edge music technologies. Next she takes up rap's racial politics, its sharp criticisms of the police and the government, and the responses of those institutions. Finally, she explores the complex sexual politics of rap, including questions of misogyny, sexual domination, and female rappers' critiques of men. But these debates do not overshadow rappers' own words and thoughts. Rose also closely examines the lyrics and videos for songs by artists such as Public Enemy, KRS-One, Salt N' Pepa, MC Lyte, and L. L. Cool J. and draws on candid interviews with Queen Latifah, music producer Eric "Vietnam" Sadler, dancer Crazy Legs, and others to paint the full range of rap's political and aesthetic spectrum. In the end, Rose observes, rap music remains a vibrant force with its own aesthetic, "a noisy and powerful element of contemporary American popular culture which continues to draw a great deal of attention to itself."

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4.7/5

Check the Technique: Liner Notes for Hip-Hop Junkies by Brian Coleman

A Tribe Called Quest • Beastie Boys • De La Soul • Eric B. & Rakim • The Fugees • KRS-One • Pete Rock & CL Smooth • Public Enemy • The Roots • Run-DMC • Wu-Tang Clan • and twenty-five more hip-hop immortals It’s a sad fact: hip-hop album liners have always been reduced to a list of producer and sample credits, a publicity photo or two, and some hastily composed shou A Tribe Called Quest • Beastie Boys • De La Soul • Eric B. & Rakim • The Fugees • KRS-One • Pete Rock & CL Smooth • Public Enemy • The Roots • Run-DMC • Wu-Tang Clan • and twenty-five more hip-hop immortals It’s a sad fact: hip-hop album liners have always been reduced to a list of producer and sample credits, a publicity photo or two, and some hastily composed shout-outs. That’s a damn shame, because few outside the game know about the true creative forces behind influential masterpieces like PE’s It Takes a Nation of Millions. . ., De La’s 3 Feet High and Rising, and Wu-Tang’s Enter the Wu-Tang (36 Chambers). A longtime scribe for the hip-hop nation, Brian Coleman fills this void, and delivers a thrilling, knockout oral history of the albums that define this dynamic and iconoclastic art form. The format: One chapter, one artist, one album, blow-by-blow and track-by-track, delivered straight from the original sources. Performers, producers, DJs, and b-boys–including Big Daddy Kane, Muggs and B-Real, Biz Markie, RZA, Ice-T, and Wyclef–step to the mic to talk about the influences, environment, equipment, samples, beats, beefs, and surprises that went into making each classic record. Studio craft and street smarts, sonic inspiration and skate ramps, triumph, tragedy, and take-out food–all played their part in creating these essential albums of the hip-hop canon. Insightful, raucous, and addictive, Check the Technique transports you back to hip-hop’s golden age with the greatest artists of the ’80s and ’90s. This is the book that belongs on the stacks next to your wax. “Brian Coleman’s writing is a lot like the albums he covers: direct, uproarious, and more than six-fifths genius.” –Jeff Chang, author of Can’t Stop Won’t Stop “All producers and hip-hop fans must read this book. It really shows how these albums were made and touches the music fiend in everyone.” –DJ Evil Dee of Black Moon and Da Beatminerz “A rarity in mainstream publishing: a truly essential rap history.” –Ronin Ro, author of Have Gun Will Travel

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4.7/5

Hip Hop Family Tree, Vol. 1: 1970s-1981 by Ed Piskor

The lore of the early days of hip hop has become the stuff of myth, so what better way to document this fascinating, epic true story than in another great American mythological medium -- the comic book? From exciting young talent and self-proclaimed hip hop nerd Ed Piskor, acclaimed for his hacker graphic novel Wizzywig, comes this explosively entertaining, encyclopedic hi The lore of the early days of hip hop has become the stuff of myth, so what better way to document this fascinating, epic true story than in another great American mythological medium -- the comic book? From exciting young talent and self-proclaimed hip hop nerd Ed Piskor, acclaimed for his hacker graphic novel Wizzywig, comes this explosively entertaining, encyclopedic history of the formative years of the music genre that changed global culture. Originally serialized on the hugely popular website Boing Boing, The Hip Hop Family Tree is now collected in a single volume cleverly presented and packaged in a style mimicking the Marvel comics of the same era. Piskor's exuberant yet controlled cartooning takes you from the parks and rec rooms of the South Bronx to the night clubs, recording studios, and radio stations where the scene started to boom, capturing the flavor of late-1970s New York City in panels bursting with obsessively authentic detail. With a painstaking, vigorous and engaging Ken Burns meets- Stan Lee approach, the battles and rivalries, the technical innovations, the triumphs and failures are all thoroughly researched and lovingly depicted. plus the charismatic players behind the scenes like Russell Simmons, Sylvia Robinson and then-punker Rick Rubin. Piskor also traces graffiti master Fab 5 Freddy's rise in the art world, and Debbie Harry, Keith Haring, The Clash, and other luminaries make cameos as the music and culture begin to penetrate downtown Manhattan and the mainstream at large. Like the acclaimed hip hop documentaries Style Wars and Scratch, The Hip Hop Family Tree is an exciting and essential cultural chronicle and a must for hip hop fans, pop-culture addicts, and anyone who wants to know how it went down back in the day.

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3.1/5

Hip Hop America by Nelson George

Now with a new introduction by the author, Hip Hop America is the definitive account of the society-altering collision between black youth culture and the mass media.

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3.9/5

The Hip-Hop Generation: Young Blacks and the Crisis in African-American Culture by Bakari Kitwana

The Hip Hop Generation is an eloquent testament for black youth culture at the turn of the century. The only in-depth study of the first generation to grow up in post-segregation America, it combines culture and politics into a pivotal work in American studies. Bakari Kitwana, one of black America's sharpest young critics, offers a sobering look at this generation's dispro The Hip Hop Generation is an eloquent testament for black youth culture at the turn of the century. The only in-depth study of the first generation to grow up in post-segregation America, it combines culture and politics into a pivotal work in American studies. Bakari Kitwana, one of black America's sharpest young critics, offers a sobering look at this generation's disproportionate social and political troubles, and celebrates the activism and politics that may herald the beginning of a new phase of African-American empowerment.

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3.9/5

It's Bigger Than Hip Hop: The Rise of the Post-Hip-Hop Generation by M.K. Asante Jr.

In It's Bigger Than Hip Hop, M. K. Asante, Jr. looks at the rise of a generation that sees beyond the smoke and mirrors of corporate-manufactured hip hop and is building a movement that will change not only the face of pop culture, but the world. Asante, a young firebrand poet, professor, filmmaker, and activist who represents this movement, uses hip hop as a springboard fo In It's Bigger Than Hip Hop, M. K. Asante, Jr. looks at the rise of a generation that sees beyond the smoke and mirrors of corporate-manufactured hip hop and is building a movement that will change not only the face of pop culture, but the world. Asante, a young firebrand poet, professor, filmmaker, and activist who represents this movement, uses hip hop as a springboard for a larger discussion about the urgent social and political issues affecting the post-hip-hop generation, a new wave of youth searching for an understanding of itself outside the self-destructive, corporate hip-hop monopoly.   Through insightful anecdotes, scholarship, personal encounters, and conversations with youth across the globe as well as icons such as Chuck D and Maya Angelou, Asante illuminates a shift that can be felt in the crowded spoken-word joints in post-Katrina New Orleans, seen in the rise of youth-led organizations committed to social justice, and heard around the world chanting "It's bigger than hip hop."

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4.6/5

Ego Trip's Book of Rap Lists by Sacha Jenkins , Elliott Wilson , Jeff Mao , Gabe Alvarez , Brent Rollins

Ego Trip's Book of Rap Lists is more popular than racism! Hip hop is huge, and it's time someone wrote it all down. And got it all right. With over 25 aggregate years of interviews, and virtually every hip hop single, remix and album ever recorded at their disposal, the highly respected Ego Trip staff are the ones to do it. The Book of Rap Lists runs the gamut of hip hop in Ego Trip's Book of Rap Lists is more popular than racism! Hip hop is huge, and it's time someone wrote it all down. And got it all right. With over 25 aggregate years of interviews, and virtually every hip hop single, remix and album ever recorded at their disposal, the highly respected Ego Trip staff are the ones to do it. The Book of Rap Lists runs the gamut of hip hop information. This is an exhaustive, indispensable and completely irreverant bible of true hip hip knowledge.

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3.2/5

When Chickenheads Come Home to Roost: A Hip-Hop Feminist Breaks It Down by Joan Morgan

When Chickenheads Come Home to Roost is a decidedly intimate look into the life of the modern black woman: a complex world where feminists often have not-so-clandestine affairs with the most sexist of men; where women who treasure their independence often prefer men who pick up the tab; where the deluge of babymothers and babyfathers reminds black women, who long for marri When Chickenheads Come Home to Roost is a decidedly intimate look into the life of the modern black woman: a complex world where feminists often have not-so-clandestine affairs with the most sexist of men; where women who treasure their independence often prefer men who pick up the tab; where the deluge of babymothers and babyfathers reminds black women, who long for marriage, that traditional nuclear families are a reality for less than 40 percent of the African-American population; and where black women are forced to make sense of a world where "truth is no longer black and white but subtle, intriguing shades of gray." Morgan ushers in a voice that, like hiphop - the cultural movement that defines her generation - samples and layers many voices, and injects its sensibilities into the old and flips it into something new, provocative, and powerful.

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3.4/5

The Rose That Grew from Concrete by Tupac Shakur

This collection of more than 100 poems that honestly and artfully confront topics ranging from poverty and motherhood to Van Gogh and Mandela is presented in Tupac Shakur's own handwriting on one side of the page, with a typed version on the opposite side.

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