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.
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.
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!
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.
How did an inner-city subculture, all but dismissed in the early 1980s, become the ruler of the world's airwaves and iPods? Who are the players who moved Hip Hop from the record bins to the pinnacles of entertainment, business, and fashion? Who are the founders, innovators, legends, and major players? Authoritative and authentic, Hip Hop Culture provides a wealth of information and insights for students, educators, and anyone interested in the ways pop culture reflects and shapes our lives.
SEE ALSO: Pimps Up, Ho’s Down: Hip Hop’s Hold on Young Black Women by T. Denean Sharpley-Whiting.
With roots that stretch from West Africa through the black pulpit, hip-hop emerged in the streets of the South Bronx in the 1970s and has spread to the farthest corners of the earth. To the Break of Dawn uniquely examines this freestyle verbal artistry on its own terms. A kid from Queens who spent his youth at the epicenter of this new art form, music critic William Jelani Cobb takes readers inside the beats, the lyrics, and the flow of hip-hop, separating mere corporate rappers from the creative MCs that forged the art in the crucible of the street jam.
The four pillars of hip hop—break dancing, graffiti art, deejaying, and rapping—find their origins in traditions as diverse as the Afro-Brazilian martial art Capoeira and Caribbean immigrants’ turnstile artistry. Tracing hip-hop’s relationship to ancestral forms of expression, Cobb explores the cultural and literary elements that are at its core. From KRS-One and Notorious B.I.G. to Tupac Shakur and Lauryn Hill, he profiles MCs who were pivotal to the rise of the genre, verbal artists whose lineage runs back to the black preacher and the bluesman.
Unlike books that focus on hip-hop as a social movement or a commercial phenomenon, To the Break of Dawn tracks the music's aesthetic, stylistic, and thematic evolution from its inception to today's distinctly regional sub-divisions and styles. Written with an insider's ear, the book illuminates hip-hop's innovations in a freestyle form that speaks to both aficionados and newcomers to the art.