on vinyl that sounded too clean. Using production techniques that have never been duplicated, the Bomb Squad plundered
and reconfigured their own compositions to make frenetic splatter collages; they played samples by hand together in a
room like a rock band to create a "not quite right" tension; they hand-picked their samples from only the ugliest squawks and sirens.
Weingarten treats the samples used on Nation Of Millions as molecules of a greater whole, slivers of music that retain their own secret histories and folk traditions. Can the essence of a hip-hop record be found in the motives, emotions and energies of the artists it samples? Is it likely that something an artist intended 20 years ago would re-emerge anew? This is a compelling and thoroughly researched investigation that tells the story of one of hip-hop's landmark albums.
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
From the Trade Paperback edition.
This book epitomizes the media's response by taking the reader on an engaging and critical journey, including the very first pieces written about hip-hop for publications like The Village Voice--controversial articles that created rifts between church and state, the artist and journalist, and articles that recorded the rise and tragic fall of the art form's appointed heroes, such as Tupac Shakur, Eazy-E, and the Notorious B.I.G. The list of contributors includes Toure, Kevin Powell, dream hampton, Harry Allen, Cheo Hodari Coker, Greg Tate, Bill Adler, Hilton Als, Danyel Smith, and Joan Morgan.
Intended as a celebration of hip-hop music and culture, this collection of interviews ranges from the up-and-coming (Akrobatik, Rob Kelly) to the legendary (Chuck D, Big Daddy Kane). Also interviewed are Eric B., Black Sheep Dres, Chip Fu, Michael Cirelli, Daddy-O, DJ JS-1, dream hampton, Kokane, Kool Keith, Kool Rock Ski, Keith Murray, 9th Wonder, Paradime, R.A. the Rugged Man, Sadat X, Shock G, Special Ed, Spinderella, Sticky Fingaz, and Young MC.
Because many of these artists worked and performed in the so-called "golden age" of hip-hop, they offer insights on the merits and problems of what hip-hop has grown into today. From their candid observations, the reader will understand how each of these men and women have contributed to the culture and how each, in his or her own way, can rightly answer "I AM hip-hop."
A DJ scratches a record back and forth against a turntable needle.
Fans' feet stomp along to a stiff beat.
These are the sounds of hip-hop.
Hip-hop music busted out of New York City in the 1970s. Many young African Americans found their voices after stepping up to the mic. In the decades afterward, rappers and DJs took over the airwaves and transformed American music. In the twenty-first century, hip-hop is a global sensation.
Learn what inspired hip-hop's earliest rappers to start rhyming over beats, as well as the stories behind hip-hop legends such as Run-D.M.C., 2Pac, Lauryn Hill, and Jay-Z. Follow the creativity and the rivalries that have fueled everything from party raps to songs about social struggles. And find out how you can add your own sounds to the mix!
Among those few were two visionaries: Russell Simmons, a young black man from Hollis, Queens, and Rick Rubin, a Jewish kid from Long Island. Though the two came from different backgrounds, their all-consuming passion for hip-hop brought them together. Soon they would revolutionize the music industry with their groundbreaking label, Def Jam Records.
Def Jam, Inc. traces the company’s incredible rise from the NYU dorm room of nineteen-year-old Rubin (where LL Cool J was discovered on a demo tape) to the powerhouse it is today; from financial struggles and scandals–including The Beastie Boys’s departure from the label and Rubin’s and Simmons’s eventual parting–to revealing anecdotes about artists like Slick Rick, Public Enemy, Foxy Brown, Jay-Z, and DMX.
Stacy Gueraseva, former editor in chief of Russell Simmons’s magazine, Oneworld, had access to the biggest players on the scene, and brings you real conversations and a behind-the-scenes look from a decade–and a company–that turned the music world upside down. She takes you back to New York in the ‘80s, when late-night spots such as Danceteria and Nell’s were burning with young, fresh rappers, and Simmons and Rubin had nothing but a hunch that they were on to something huge.
Far more than just a biography of the two men who made it happen, Def Jam, Inc. is a journey into the world of rap itself. Both an intriguing business history as well as a gritty narrative, here is the definitive book on Def Jam–a must read for any fan of hip-hop as well as all popular-culture junkies.
From the Hardcover edition.