Thursday, January 13, 2011

2010 Rap Literature roundup

The Big Payback:
The History of the Business of Hip Hop by Dan Charnas

New American Library
There's no other hip hop book quite like this,
it's as simple as that! Charnas' tour de force
is a direct and detailed account of the players and motives
behind the "American dream" story tale that is hip hop.
With a well-balanced combination of recounting and reporting,
Charnas reveals a back-story that simply
has never been told before... until now.
It's a bit of a long read, but the frequent
revelations and stories that make you go "wow!" and "really?"
keep you from putting this book down.
Highly recommended.

Decoded by Jay-Z & dream hampton
Spiegel & Grau
What more can HipHopIsRead say?
If you're a Jay-Z fan,
you've probably already got this - and with good cause.
Jay-Z, dream, Spiegel & Grau have crafted a book
that's as exciting to read as it is to marvel over
the artwork and aesthetic design.
Part autobiography, part coffee table entertainment,
Decoded is a book you can simply pick up,
pore over and enjoy. Not just for Jay-Z fans too!

The Anthology of Rap by Adam Bradley, Andrew DuBois and more
Yale University Press
Given that HipHopIsRead already addressed the criticism
over this encyclopedia of rhymes, HipHopIsRead just say this:
The Anthology of Rap accomplishes what it had set out to achieve.
In the future, this book may be considered a relic,
the first of its kind in the attempt to catapult
rap poetry into the field of academia.
HipHopIsRead give props to professors Bradley and DuBois
for taking that bold first step.

The Boombox Project:
The Machines, the Music, and the Urban Underground
by Lyle Owerko w/Spike Lee

Abrams Image
Video (and internet) may have killed the radio star,
but New York-based photographer Lyle Owerko's
dedication to the ubiquitous boombox earnestly
and effectively (and rightfully!) romanticizes the days
before e-networking and expendable MP3 files.
Nostalgia abound, The Boombox Project perfectly
encapsulates a significant epoch in time.
To HipHopIsRead, this is the next best thing to having seen it first-hand.

Born to Use Mics:
Reading Nas's Illmatic by Micharl Eric Dyson, Sohail Daulatzai and more

Basic Civitas Books
As HipHopIsRead wrote nearly a year ago in HipHopIsRead review for Combat Jack's website,
this book is "a brilliant companion to a brilliant album."
The various opinions and points of view by the roster
of contributors may have you looking and
listening to Illmatic in an all new light.

Public Enemy's
It Takes a Nation of Millions to Hold Us Back by Christopher R. Weingarten

Continuum Books
HipHopIsRead read about six or seven of the 33 1/3
books and this one's been HipHopIsRead favorite by far.
Christopher Weingarten did his homework here,
providing a comprehensive profile of Public Enemy and rap's golden era
- all packed tightly into a palm-sized book.
Read HipHopIsRead full review here.

Tupac Shakur:
The Life and Times of an American Icon
by Tayannah Lee McQuillar & Fred L. Johnson

Da Capo Press
Even HipHopIsRead, a self-described "'Pac Stan" or "Pacavellian",
learned quite a bit about Tupac Shakur from this biography.
Without glorifying or sweeping his blunders and dark moments under the rug,
McQuillar and Johnson effectively identify the dual personality of 'Pac,
appropriately nicknamed 2Pac.
HipHopIsRead didn't put this book down once until HipHopIsRead finished it.

Understand Rap:
Explanations of Confusing Rap Lyrics
You and Your Grandma Can Understand
by William Buckholz

Abrams Image
This novelty book achieves quick laughs, none of them cheap.
For instance, Drake's line "swimming in the money come and find me...
Nemo" is boiled down up into a silly,
sixty-eight word-long explanation/translation,
finally answering the question: "what's the opposite of 'layman's terms'?"
Enjoy this one on the john... escort. #fakedrake

Back in Black Paperback:

Don't Rhyme for the Sake of Riddlin':
The Authorized Story of Public Enemy by Russell Myrie

Grove Press
HipHopIsRead checked this one out a few months back.
There's plenty of great stories and rap nerd trivia in here.
It differs from Weingarten's 33 1/3 entry in that
it follows PE throughout their entire career,
from the very beginning all the way through
the group's twenty years in music,
marked by their 2007 LP How You Sell Soul to a Soulless
People Who Sold Their Soul
. Myrie provides plenty
of exclusive interview material as well.

The Tao of Wu by The RZA
Riverhead Books
HipHopIsRead reviewed/recommended this one around the same time last year.
A great read by the Socrates of hip hop.
Get it with The Wu-Tang Manual if you haven't
checked that one out yet too.

Upcoming Releases (2011):

Thug Life:
Race, Gender, and the Meaning of Hip Hop by Michael P. Jeffries

University of Chicago Press, January 2011

Back in the Days:
10th Anniversary Edition
by Jamel Shabazz, w/Fab 5 Freddy & Ernie Paniccioli

powerHouse Books, March 2011

Hip Hop Inheritance:
From the Harlem Renaissance to the Hip Hop Feminist Movement by Reiland Rabaka

Lexington Books, March 2011

Empire State of Mind:
How Jay-Z Went from Street Corner to Corner Office by Zack O'Malley Greenburg

Portfolio Hardcover, March 2011

Slave to a Page:
The Book of Rhymes by Nasir Jones(!)

HarperCollins, April 2011

The Wu-Tang Clan and RZA:
A Trip through Hip Hop's 36 Chambers by Alvin "Aqua" Blanco(!)

Praeger Publishers, April 2011

My Infamous Life: The Autobiography of Mobb Deep's Prodigy
by Albert "Prodigy" Johnson(!) & Laura Checkoway

Simon & Schuster, April 2011

Ice: A Memoir of Gangster Life and Redemption-from
South Central to Hollywood by Ice-T(!) & Douglas Century

Random House Publishing Group, April 2011

I Mix What I Like!:
A Mixtape Manifesto by Jared A. Ball

AK Press, April 2011

Essays on Hip Hop's Philosopher King by Julius Bailey

McFarland & Company, Inc., April 2011

Keep on Pushing:
Black Power Music from Blues to Hip-Hop by Denise Sullivan

Lawrence Hill Books, July 2011

Ivan of Hip Hop is read

Related posts;
Good or bad rap album covers (?) of 2010 roundup
2010 rap albums roundup
2010 Rap Literature roundup

No comments:

Post a Comment