Saturday, May 14, 2016

Books notes (rap music & hip hop)

The discourse on rap music and hip hop culture is incredibly expansive and growing. Mentioning 10 books or even 20 or 30 hardly seems like enough. But hey, I was asked to name just a few books that I'd recommend or that I've been interested in re-reading. The following 5 came to mind.  

• Tricia Rose's Black Noise: Rap Music and Black Culture in Contemporary America (1994) -- A classic. Rose's book offers one of the earliest, extensive scholarly treatments of the music and culture. 

• Jay Z's Decoded (2010) -- Co-written with dream hampton, this book is part memoir, part lyrics annotation book. In addition to offering useful narrative points, the book is visually compelling as well. 

• Adam Bradley's Book of Rhymes: The Poetics of Hip Hop (2009) -- He offers an accessible yet complex read on the stylistic and literary components of the music.

• Dan Charnas's The Big Payback: The History of the Business of Hip Hop (2010) -- This extensive work is the first book-length treatment I've encountered that takes a careful look at the actual business of rap.

• Tricia Rose's The Hip Hop Wars: What We Talk About When We Talk About Hip Hop--and Why It Matters (2008) -- I really appreciate the way this book presents popular arguments concerning rap and hip hop, offering takes on the strengths and limits of those arguments. 

Books noted lists  

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