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50 Years of Hip-Hop

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50 Years of Hip-Hop

50 years of hip hop

This month marks the 50th anniversary of the birth of Hip-Hop, which has become not just one of America’s most popular musical genres, but a global phenomenon as well. In commemoration of this milestone, Hoopla has curated a collection of classic Hip-Hop albums that you can stream for free with your Livingston Library card. Or if you’d like to learn more about the history and culture surrounding Hip-Hop music, here are some exceptional books and films you could check out. (Descriptions taken from the publishers)

Books

come up

The Come Up: An Oral History of the Rise of Hip-Hop by Jonathan Abrams

The music that we would later know as hip-hop was born at a party in the Bronx in the summer of 1973. Now, fifty years later, it’s the most popular genre in America and its electric impact on contemporary music is likened to that of jazz on the first half of the twentieth century. And yet, despite its tremendous influence, the voices of many of hip-hop’s pioneers have never been thoroughly catalogued-and some are at risk of being lost forever. Now, in The Come Up, Jonathan Abrams offers the most comprehensive account so far of hip-hop’s rise, told in the voices of the people who made it happen.

Hip-Hop (And Other Things): A Collection of Questions Asked, Answered, Illustrated by Shea Serrano

Hip-Hop (And Other Things) is about, as it were, rap, but also some other things. It spends the entirety of its time celebrating what has become the most dominant form of music these past two and a half decades. Tupac is in there. Jay Z is in there. Missy Elliott is in there. Drake is in there. Pretty much all of the big names are in there, as are a bunch of the smaller names, too. There’s art from illustrator Arturo Torres, there are infographics and footnotes; there’s all kinds of stuff in there. Some of the chapters are serious, and some of the chapters are silly, and some of the chapters are a combination of both things. All of them, though, are treated with the care and respect that they deserve

What’s Good: Notes on Rap & Language by Daniel Levin Becker

A work of passionate lyrical analysis, a set of freewheeling liner notes, and a love letter to the most vital American art form of the last half century. Over a series of short chapters, each centered on a different lyric, Daniel Levin Becker considers how rap’s use of language operates and evolves at levels ranging from the local (slang, rhyme) to the analytical (quotation, transcription) to the philosophical (morality, criticism, irony), celebrating the pleasures and perils of any attempt to decipher its meaning-making technologies. Ranging from Sugarhill Gang to UGK to Young M.A, Rakim to Rick Ross to Rae Sremmurd, Jay-Z to Drake to Snoop Dogg, What’s Good reads with the momentum of a deftly curated mixtape, drawing you into the conversation and teaching you to read it as it goes. A book for committed hip-hop heads, curious neophytes, armchair linguists, and everyone in between.

God Save the Queens: The Essential History of Women in Hip-Hop by Kathy Iandoli

For far too long, women in hip-hop have been relegated to the shadows, viewed as the designated “First Lady” thrown a contract, a pawn in some beef, or even worse. But as Kathy Iandoli makes clear, the reality is very different. Today, hip-hop is dominated by successful women such as Cardi B and Nicki Minaj, yet there are scores of female artists whose influence continues to resonate. God Save the Queens pays tribute to the women of hip-hop–from the early work of Roxanne Shante, to hitmakers like Queen Latifah and Missy Elliot, to the superstars of today. Exploring issues of gender, money, sexuality, violence, body image, feuds, objectification and more, God Save the Queens is an important and monumental work of music journalism that at last gives these influential female artists the respect they have long deserved.

Promise That You Will Sing About Me: The Power and Poetry of Kendrick Lamar by Miles Marshall Lewis

Widely known for his incredible lyrics and powerful music, Kendrick Lamar is regarded as one of the greatest rappers of all time. Promise That You Will Sing About Me explores his life, his roots, his music, his lyrics, and how he has shaped the musical landscape of this generation. With incredible graphic design, quotes, lyrics and commentary from Ta-Nehisi Coates, Alicia Garza and more, this book provides an in-depth look at how Kendrick came to be who he is today, his world, how he creates his lyrics and music, and how he revolutionizes the music industry from the inside.

it was all a dream

It Was All a Dream: Biggie and the World That Made Him by Justin Tinsley

The Notorious B.I.G. was one of the most charismatic and talented artists of the 1990s. Born Christopher Wallace and raised in Clinton Hill/Bed Stuy, Brooklyn, Biggie lived an almost archetypal rap life: young trouble, drug dealing, guns, prison, a giant hit record, the wealth and international superstardom that came with it, then an early violent death. Biggie released his first record, Ready to Die, in 1994, when he was only 22. Less than three years later, he was killed just days before the planned release of his second record, Life After Death. Journalist Justin Tinsley’s It Was All a Dream is a fresh, insightful telling of the life beyond the legend. It places Biggie’s life in context, both within the history of rap but also the wider cultural and political forces that shaped him, including Caribbean immigration, the Reagan era disinvestment in public education, street life, the war on drugs, mass incarceration, and the booming, creative, and influential 1990s music industry.

Jay-Z: Made In America by Michael Eric Dyson

The author wrestles with the biggest themes of Jay-Z’s career, including hustling, and recognizes the way that he’s always woven politics into his music, making important statements about race, criminal justice, black wealth, and social injustice.

Beastie Boys Book by Michael Diamond and Adam Horovitz

Formed as a New York City hardcore band in 1981, Beastie Boys struck an unlikely path to global hip hop superstardom. Here is their story, told for the first time in the words of the band. Adam “ADROCK” Horovitz and Michael “Mike D” Diamond offer revealing and very funny accounts of their transition from teenage punks to budding rappers. Alongside the band narrative you will find rare photos, original illustrations, a cookbook by chef Roy Choi, a graphic novel, a map of Beastie Boys’ New York, mixtape playlists, pieces by guest contributors, and many more surprises.

Go Ahead in the Rain: Notes to A Tribe Called Quest by Hanif Abdurraqib

How does one pay homage to A Tribe Called Quest? The seminal rap group brought jazz into the genre, resurrecting timeless rhythms to create masterpieces such as The Low End Theory and Midnight Marauders. Seventeen years after their last album, they resurrected themselves with an intense, socially conscious record, We Got It from Here . . . Thank You 4 Your Service, which arrived when fans needed it most, in the aftermath of the 2016 election. Poet and essayist Hanif Abdurraqib digs into the group’s history and draws from his own experience to reflect on how its distinctive sound resonated among fans like himself. The result is as ambitious and genre bending as the rap group itself.

Films

wild style

Wild Style – 1981, directed by Charlie Ahearn

Universally hailed as the first hip-hop movie, WILD STYLE captures New York’s 1981 hip-hop culture and several prominent figures including Busy Bee Starski, Fab Five Freddy, The Cold Crush Brothers, and one of the godfathers of hip-hop, Grandmaster Flash.

Time is Illmatic – 2014, directed by Erik Parker

The story behind Nas’s groundbreaking 1994 debut album ‘Illmatic,’ and the early life of one of the most talented rappers of all time. Featuring interviews with Pharrell Williams, Alicia Keys, Q-Tip, and Busta Rhymes.

Underground Chinese Hip-Hop: The Rap Pioneers of China – 2014, directed by Jimmy Wang

A fascinating documentary portrait of this nascent musical revolution, Underground Chinese Hip-Hop follows pioneering rapper MC Weber as he spearheads the creation of rap music in China. This form of creative self-expression has spread like wildfire amongst those struggling the most: young working class students and migrants left out of the country’s meteoric rise.

Fresh Dressed: The Evolution of Rap Fashion – 2015, directed by Sacha Jenkins

A fascinating chronicle of hip-hop, urban fashion, and the hustle that brought oversized pants and graffiti-drenched jackets from Orchard Street to high fashion’s catwalks and Middle America shopping malls. Director Sacha Jenkins’ music-drenched history draws from a rich mix of archival materials and in-depth interviews with rappers, designers, and other industry insiders.

All Eyez On Me – 2017, directed by Benny Boom

Chronicles the life and legacy of Tupac Shakur, including his rise to superstardom as a hip-hop artist, actor, poet and activist, as well as his imprisonment and prolific, controversial time at Death Row Records. Against insurmountable odds, Shakur rose to become a cultural icon whose career and persona both continue to grow long after his passing.

Joe, Adult Services & Acquisitions

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