A History of Rap and Hip Hop

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					 A History of Rap and Hip Hop

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                                                 History of Rap

                                Lil Kim - Keeping it Real (1999)- David LaChapelle

         Hip Hop (Cultural Movement) [...]
         Hip hop is a cultural movement that began amongst
         urban (primarily, but not entirely, African American)
         youth in New York and has since spread around the
         world. The four main elements of hip-hop are MCing,
         DJing, graffiti art, and breakdancing. The term has
         since come to be a synonym for rap music to http://

         Hip Hop (Music)
         Hip hop music is related to the griots of West Africa, traveling singers and
         poets whose musical style is reminiscent of hip hop. Some griot traditions
         came with slaves to the New World. The most important direct influence on
         the creation of hip hop music is the Jamaican style called dub, which arose in
         the 1960s. Dub musicians such as King Tubby isolated percussion breaks
         because dancers at clubs (sound systems) preferred the energetic rhythms of
         the often-short breaks. Soon, performers began speaking in sync with these
         rhythms. In 1967, Jamaican immigrants such as DJ Kool Herc brought dub to

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        New York City, where it evolved into hip hop. In Jamaica, dub music has
        diversified into genres like ragga and dancehall. --http://en.wikipedia.org/

        Parallels with Rock
        Rap originated in the mid-1970s in the South Bronx area of New York City.
        The rise of rap in many ways parallels the birth of rock'n roll in the 1950s.
        Both originated within the African American community and both were
        initially recorded by small, independent record labels and marketed almost
        exclusively to a black audience. In both cases, the new style gradually
        attracted white musicans, a few of whom began performing it. For rock'n roll
        it was a white American from Mississippi, Elvis Presley, who broke into the
        billboard magazine popular music charts. For rap it was a white group from
        New York, the Beastie Boys. The release of their albums was one of the first
        two rap records to reach the billboard top-ten list of popular hits. The other
        significant early rap recording to reach the top-ten, "Walk This Way" (1986),
        was a collaboration of the black rap group Run-DMC and the white hard-rock
        band Aerosmith. Soon after 1986, the use of the samples and declaimed
        vocal styles became widespread in popular music of both black and white
        performers, significantly altering previous notions of what constitutes a
        legitimate song, composition or musical instrument. -- Unknown Author

        Hip Hop Timeline



        Rap music originated as a cross-cultural product. Most of its
        important early practitioners—including Kool Herc, D.J. Hollywood,
        and Afrika Bambaata—were either first- or second-generation
        Americans of Caribbean ancestry. Herc and Hollywood are both
        credited with introducing the Jamaican style of cutting and mixing into the
        musical culture of the South Bronx. By most accounts Herc was the first DJ
        to buy two copies of the same record for just a 15-second break (rhythmic
        instrumental segment) in the middle. By mixing back and forth between the
        two copies he was able to double, triple, or indefinitely extend the break. In

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        so doing, Herc effectively deconstructed and reconstructed so-called found
        sound, using the turntable as a musical instrument.

        While he was cutting with two turntables, Herc would also perform with the
        microphone in Jamaican toasting style-joking, boasting, and using myriad in-
        group references. Herc's musical parties eventually gained notoriety and
        were often documented on cassette tapes that were recorded with the
        relatively new boombox, or blaster technology. Taped duplicates of these
        parties rapidly made their way through the Bronx, Brooklyn, and uptown
        Manhattan, spawning a number of similar DJ acts. Among the new breed of
        DJs was Afrika Bambaataa, the first important Black Muslim in rap.
        Bambaataa often engaged in sound-system battles with Herc, similar to the
        so-called cutting contests in jazz a generation earlier. The sound system
        competitions were held at city parks, where hot- wired street lamps supplied
        electricity, or at local clubs. Bambaataa sometimes mixed sounds from rock-
        music recordings and television shows into the standard funk and disco fare
        that Herc and most of his followers relied upon. By using rock records,
        Bambaataa extended rap beyond the immediate reference points of
        contemporary black youth culture. By the 1990s any sound source was
        considered fair game and rap artists borrowed sounds from such disparate
        sources as Israeli folk music, be bop jazz records and television news

        In 1976 Grandmaster Flash introduced the technique
        of quick mixing, in which sound bites as short as one
        or two seconds are combined for a college effect.
        Quick mixing paralleled the rapid-editing style of
        television advertissing used at the time. Shortly after
        Flash introduced quick mixing, his partner
        Grandmaster MelleMel composed the first extented
        stories in rhymed rap. Up to this point, most of the
        words heard over the work of disk jockeys such as
        Herc, Bambaataa, and Flash had been improvised
        phrases and expressions. In 1978 DJ Grand Wizard
        Theodore introduced the technique of scratching to
        produce rhythmic patterns. -- unkown author, 19??

        DJ Kool Herc

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        Kool DJ Herc, the godfather of hip-hop, was a
        Jamaican-born DJ who moved to the Bronx in
        1967. With his unique playlist of R&B, soul,
        funk, and obscure disco, Herc quickly became
        the catalyst of the hip-hop way of life. The
        kids from the Bronx and Harlem loved his
        ghetto style, which gave birth to the concept
        of the B-Boy. The B-Boy -- or beat boy, break
        boy, Bronx boy -- loved the breaks of Kool
        Herc, and as a result soon created break
        dancing. These were the people of the hip-
        hop culture. While Pete DJ Jones was #1 for
        the black disco crowd in NYC, Herc and the B-Boys were the essence of the
        hip-hop movement, because of they lived the lifestyle. The way they danced,
        dressed, walked, and talked was unique, as opposed to most of the disco
        artists and fans of the time, who were not as in touch with the urban streets
        of America. [...]

        Sound Systems
        As Steve Barrow (author of The Rough Guide to Reggae/Blood and Fire
        Records) writes in the sleevenotes, Jamaican deejay music is the source for
        all Rap music: From Count Machuki talking over records on Sir Coxsone's
        legendary Downbeat Sound System this style would eventually travel to
        America when the Jamaican-born Kool Herc began playing at Block parties (a
        version of the Kingston Soundsystem parties) in the Bronx. Cutting up rare-
        groove classics for the first B-Boys to rap over, Hip-Hop was born and the DJ
        music that had started on the early Soundsystems of Kingston would go on
        to conquer the world! [...]

        When DJ Kool Herc performed to Breaks at crowded venues, such as the
        Hervalo in the Bronx, he would shout loudly 'B-Boys go down!' and this was
        the cue for dancers to cut and jump their gymnastics. Even today nobody is
        quite clear what Kool Herc meant by his phrase. Some suggest B-Boys
        stands for 'Boogie Boy' while others insist it means 'Break Boy'. The later has
        become the favored choice. But who were the original B-Boys and where had
        they learned their skillz? Again the answer is fairly straight-forward. They
        had simply adapted what they had been doing on the ghetto streets. [...]

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        Afrika Bambaataa
        Urban spaceman Afrika Bambaataa and producer Arthur Baker,
        plus musician John Robie, were the trio behind a musical
        revolution called "Planet Rock", Bambaataa's 1982 single with
        Soul Sonic Force. Following the impact of "Planet Rock", UK
        groups made Electro-boogie pilgrimages to Baker's studio in Manhattan:
        Freeze's "IOU" rocketed jazz funk into the infosphere but more significantly,
        New Order's "Blue Monday" launched indie dancing and sold massively on
        12". Also breaking and robot dancing, the acrobatic and simulated machine
        dances that drew many adolescents into the alien zone of black science
        fiction. Bleep music was one consequence of this. Hardly adequate to
        describe and encompass the protozoic chaos of New York Nu Groove, Detroit
        Techno, Chicago House. Next came techno. -- David Toop for Wire magazine

        Spoonie Gee
        [...] "Spoonie Gee cut "Spoonin' Rap", on 'Sounds Of New York, Usa'
        records, one of Peter Browns many labels. It also appeared on an
        album on 'Queen Constance' records called "The Big Break Rapper
        Party" and was remixed and re-released in 1984 on 'Heavenly Star'
        records. "Spoonin' Rap" was like a diamond in a pile of rubble in Peter
        Brown's recordings, usually classics of low-budget incompetence, e.g. label
        says 33 on a 45 recording, raps out of time, drummers losing the beat, and
        sound like your dad's garage...Spoonie Gee shone through as a real talent.
        written by Jeff Slattery (slats@uclink3.berkeley.edu) [...]

        Todd Terry

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        It was into this exciting and transitional environment
        that a young, would-be producer walked up to Vega
        and handed him a cassette. "This guy came up to the
        booth and said, 'My name is Todd Terry. I just
        wanted to give you these new jams.'" The night was
        drawing to a close, so Vega had a quick listen to the
        track that was about to turn Terry into New York's
        hottest house producer. "I was like, 'Wow! This is
        powerful!'" With its quick-fire sampling techniques and
        harder beats, 'Party People' introduced an edgy, hip
        hop aesthetic to the Chicago house sound, and Vega
        wasted little time in securing a reel-to-reel copy.
        "There was an instant reaction on the dance floor," he
        remembers. "I was playing 'Party People' six to nine months before it came
        out, so I got everybody into that sound." [...]

        Homophobia [...]
        [...] What hasn't changed is the gap between rap and house, an antipathy
        which exists between these two forms of soul music. [...] According to
        Frankie Knuckles, this goes to the core of attitudes towards gays, especially
        amongst the black community. "The fact that house got started in the gay
        clubs makes it tough for some of them to deal with it." This is about more
        than musical taste; for Frankie, it goes to the core of the future of minority
        groups in the US. And, ironically, it's rap, with all of its violence and too-
        frequent lapses into intolerance and homophobia, that has pushed things

        Enjoy! Records [...]
        Enjoy was Bobby Robinson's label. This Harlem label had been home to
        saxophone legend King Curtis, and in 1979 it put out its first hip hop record,
        "Rappin' and Rockin' in the House" by The Funky Four (Plus One More). [...]

        Peter Brown
        Peter Brown found our studio by accident in a newspaper ad. When Brown
        showed up for that first recording, he was literally dressed in rags. The next
        time he showed up, he was wearing full fur covered pimp regalia complete
        with a beaver skin hat and was driving a brand new Lincoln Continental. He
        kept overdubbing different rap groups onto the same music tracks. It was

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        pathetic. --- Frank Heller [...]

        Related Pages
        George Clinton, Peter Brown

        More surprisingly, Kraftwerk had an
        immediate impact on black dance
        music: as Afrika Bambaataa says in
        David Toop's Rap Attack, "I don't
        think they even knew how big they
        were among the black masses back
        in '77 when they came out with
        'Trans-Europe Express.' When that
        came out, I thought that was one
        of the best and weirdest records I ever heard in my life." In 1981,
        Bambaataa and the Soulsonic Force, together with producer Arthur Baker,
        paid tribute with "Planet Rock," which used the melody from "Trans-Europe
        Express" over the rhythm from "Numbers." In the process they created
        electro and moved rap out of the Sugarhill age. - electro

        Modern day rap music finds its immediate roots in
        the toasting and dub talk over elements of reggae
        music. In the early 70's, a Jamaican dj known as
        Kool Herc moved from Kingston to NY's West Bronx.
        Here, he attempted to incorporate his Jamaican style
        of dj which involved reciting improvised rhymes over
        the dub versions of his reggae records.
        Unfortunately, New Yorkers weren't into reggae at
        the time. Thus Kool Herc adapted his style by
        chanting over the instrumental or percussion sections
        of the day's popular songs. Because these breaks were relatively short, he
        learned to extend them indefinitely by using an audio mixer and two identical
        records in which he continuously replaced the desired segment.

        In those early days, young party goers initially recited popular phrases and
        used the slang of the day. For example, it was fashionable for dj to
        acknowledge people who were in attendance at a party. These early raps
        featured someone such as Herc shouting over the instrumental break; 'Yo

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        this is Kool Herc in the joint-ski saying my mellow-ski Marky D is in the
        house'. This would usually evoke a response from the crowd, who began to
        call out their own names and slogans.

        As this phenomenon evolved, the party shouts became more elaborate as dj
        in an effort to be different, began to incorporate little rhymes-'Davey D is in
        the house/An he'll turn it out without a doubt.' It wasn't long before people
        began drawing upon outdated dozens and school yard rhymes. Many would
        add a little twist and customize these rhymes to make them suitable for the
        party environment. At that time rap was not yet known as 'rap' but called
        'emceeing'. With regards to Kool Herc, as he progressed, he eventually
        turned his attention to the complexities of djaying and let two friends Coke
        La Rock and Clark Kent (not Dana Dane's dj) handle the microphone
        duties. This was rap music first emcee team. They became known as Kool
        Herc and the Herculoids. [...]

        Rap is where you first heard it [sampling] --Grandmaster Flash's 1981
        "Wheels of Steel," which scratched together Queen, Blondie, the Sugarhill
        Gang, the Furious Five, Sequence, and Spoonie Gee --but what is sampling if
        not digitized scratching? If rap is more an American phenomenon, techno is
        where it all comes together in Europe as producers and musicians engage in
        a dialogue of dazzling speed. [...]

        Grandmaster Flash
        Rap is where you first heard it [sampling] --Grandmaster Flash's 1981
        "Wheels of Steel," which scratched together Queen, Blondie, the Sugarhill
        Gang, the Furious Five, Sequence, and Spoonie Gee --but what is sampling if
        not digitized scratching? If rap is more an American phenomenon, techno is
        where it all comes together in Europe as producers and musicians engage in
        a dialogue of dazzling speed. [...]

        10 Hip Hop Myths Dismissed
             1.   "There is a difference between hip hop and rap music."
             2.   "Hip Hop is Black music."
             3.   "Rakim is the greatest MC of all time."
             4.   "Biggie Smalls was assasinated by the FBI."

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             5.   "Rap music started in the Bronx."
             6.   "There are no gay hip hop artists."
             7.   "Hip Hop is threatened by corporations."
             8.   "The best hip hop music was made in the 1980s."
             9.   "No one in hip hop has a sense of humor."
            10.   "Hip Hop is dead."

        Being that hip hop is such a poorly documented culture, it is understandable
        that subjective opinions and false myths run amok. Now, a fact is a fact. And
        a fact can be backed up with unrefutable evidence. But what I have collected
        here are a bunch of rumors, hearsay, and subjective opinions which are often
        presented as facts. I have collected, what I think are the most blatantly false
        "myths", and given my perspective on them. The purpose is to reexamine
        commonly accepted beliefs within the hip hop community. --Eric Nord for
        http://www.stinkzone.com/writing/hiphop_myths.html, accessed May 2003

             1. Speakerboxxx/ The Love Below (2003) - Outkast[Amazon US] [FR]
                  [DE] [UK]
                  At a time when experimentation is taboo in most
                  overground rap, that’s all Outkast seem intent on executing.
                  Firstly, this double CD has no cohesive link, other than the
                  fact that it sounds like a pair of solo albums stitched
                  together to demo exactly how Andre’s yin works to augment Big Boi’s
                  yang. Andre 3000’s Love Below disc rates as the more eclectic of the
                  two, given that he’s turned in his emcee credentials to become a full-
                  on funk-soul-jazz vocalist who mostly sings about items of love
                  ("Happy Valentine's Day"), carnal lust ("Spread"), and female
                  adoration ("Prototype"). Minus the big band schmaltz of "Love Hater"
                  and cheesy cover jobs ("My Favorite Things"), Andre’s disc is sick
                  (meaning great). As is to be expected, the Big Boi disc is less arty,
                  more gangsta and worldly, and features the less-progressive guest
                  raps of ATL crunk purveyors Lil’ Jon and The Eastside Boyz ("Last Call")
                  and Jay-Z who rhymes the hook on "Flip Flop Rock". Unlike Big Boi,
                  Andre keeps his collabos to a minimum, once crooning alongside Norah
                  Jones on the cool yet sappy "Take Off Your Cool", and once with Kelis.
                  Boi fulfills his Dungeon Family duty with flying colors by flipping some
                  dirty southern up-tempo raps over electro beats on "GhettoMusick". By
                  the time Cee-Lo sermonizes on "Reset", Speakerboxx and Love Below
                  rate mostly as majestic and inspiring, with the remaining 23 per cent
                  being just plain incredible --Dalton Higgins, Amazon.com

             2. Hip-Hop From The Top: Part 1 - Various Artists [1 CD, Amazon US]

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                  1. Skanless Hip-Hop from the Top Mega-Mix 2. Rapper's
                  Delight - The Sugarhill Gang 3. Breaks - Kurtis Blow 4.
                  Sucker D.J.'s (I Will Survive) - Dimples D. 5. Request Line -
                  Rock Master Scott and the Dynamic Three 6. What People
                  Do for Money - Divine Sounds 7. Adventures of Super
                  Rhyme - Jimmy Spicer 8. King of the Beat - Pumpkin 9. Message -
                  Duke Bootee 10. Friends - Whodini 11. One for the Treble - Davy DMX
                  12. Pure - Captain Rock [...]

             3. Kurtis Blow Presents The History of Rap: Vol. 3 [Amazon US]
                  1. Rock Box - Run DMC 2. Friends - Whodini 3. Five Minutes
                  Of Funk - Whodini 4. Jail House Rap - Fat Boys 5. Roxanne,
                  Roxanne - UTFO 6. The Bridge - M.C. Shan 7. Rebel Without
                  A Pause - Public Enemy 8. Criminal Minded - Boogie Down
                  Productions 9. Raw - Big Daddy Kane 10. It Takes Two -
                  Rob Base & D.J. E-Z Rock 11. Vapors - Biz Markie 12. Just A Friend -
                  Biz Markie

             4. Kurtis Blow Presents The History of Rap: Vol. 2 [Amazon US]
                  1. Rapper's Delight (Short 12' Version) - Sugarhill Gang 2.
                  Funk You Up (Short 12' Version) - The Sequence 3. Rappin
                  And Rocking The House (Album Version) - Funky Four Plus
                  One More 4. Christmas Rappin' - Kurtis Blow 5. The Breaks -
                  Kurtis Blow 6. Monster Jam - Spoonie Gee Meets The
                  Sequence 7. Jazzy Sensation (Short 12' Bronx Version) - Africa
                  Bambaataa & The Jazzy Five 8. Feel The Heartbeat - The Treacherous
                  Three 9. The Message - Grand Master Flash & The Furious Five 10.
                  Starski Live At The Disco Fever - 'Love Bug' Starski 11. One For The
                  Treble (Fresh) - Davy DMX

             5. Kurtis Blow Presents The History of Rap: Vol. 1 [Amazon US]
                  1. Give It Up Or Turnit A Loose (In The Jungle...) - James
                  Brown 2. Get Into Something - The Isley Brothers 3. Melting
                  Pot - Booker T. & The M.G.'s 4. Listen To Me - Baby Huey 5.
                  Scorpio - Dennis Coffey & The Detroit Guitar Band 6. It's
                  Just Begun - The Jimmy Castor Bunch 7. Apache - Micheal
                  Viner's Incredible Bongo Band 8. Hum Along And Dance - The Jackson
                  5 9. Love The Life You Live - Black Heart 10. Theme From S.W.A.T.
                  (Extended 7' Version) - Rhythm Heritage 11. Dance To The Drummer's
                  Beat - Herman Kelly & Life 12. King Tim III (Personal Jock) - Fatback

             6. The Best of Enjoy Records [Amazon US]

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                  1. Superappin - Grandmaster Flash & The Furious Five 2.
                  Love Rap - Spoonie Gee 3. Body Rock - Kool Moe Dee 4. At
                  the Party - Kool Moe Dee 5. It's Magic - Fearless Four 6.
                  Move With the Groove - Disco Four 7. Funk Box Party -
                  Masterdon Committee 8. Feel the Heart Beat - Kool Moe Dee
                  9. Just Havin Fun - Doug E. Fresh 10. New Rap Language -
                  Treacherous Three 11. Rockin' It - Fearless Four
                  Enjoy was Bobby Robinson's label. This Harlem label had been home to
                  saxophone legend King Curtis, and in 1979 it put out its first hip hop
                  record, "Rappin' and Rockin' in the House" by The Funky Four (Plus
                  One More). [more on Enjoy Records]

             7. Tribe Called Quest - Anthology [1CD, Amazon US]
                  In their decade of existence, A Tribe Called Quest weren't
                  rap's biggest hit makers, but their signature numbers indeed
                  fill this CD with style, eclecticism, and laid-back but
                  deliberate flow; indeed, the group's stature seems to have
                  grown since its 1998 breakup. The continued importance of
                  their music and ideals for many hip-hop fans will only be enhanced by
                  Anthology's 18 tracks (Q-Tip's recent hit "Vivrant Thing," from the
                  Violator album is a bonus track). Those unfamiliar with Tribe's
                  achievement should have their heads and booties set into motion by
                  the fellas' many moods, from the playful "Check the Rhime" and "I Left
                  My Wallet in El Segundo" to trenchant commentaries such as
                  "Description of a Fool" and "Sucka Nigga." And with its inclusion here,
                  the somewhat rare and all-the-way out "If the Papes Come" will
                  doubtless reestablish itself as an underground favorite. --Rickey Wright

             1. Vibe History of Hip Hop (1999) - Alan Light [Amazon US]
                  In his introduction, founding Vibe editor Alan Light justifies
                  the magazine's 300-page hip-hop chronicle in historical
                  terms, noting that while less than 15 years passed between
                  Elvis's first single and Woodstock, it's been two full decades
                  since rap busted out of New York City street parties via the
                  Sugar Hill Gang's "Rapper's Delight." It's a righteous point,
                  and the multi-author Vibe History indeed deserves to be filed next to
                  The Rolling Stone Illustrated History of Rock & Roll. Like that book,
                  Vibe's serves both as a fact-heavy primer and a passionate critical
                  missive aimed straight for fans' hearts. Here we find all the
                  contradictions of a pop-culture phenomenon: art and a hope for
                  immortality rolled into a brightly colored form whose practitioners,
                  even the most politically driven, demand to get paid. Or, as Charles
                  Aaron writes in his essay on KRS-One, the rapper "has never failed to

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                  passionately contradict himself--footnotes, bibliography, and dope
                  beats included." Those contradictions may not make the culture go, but
                  as with rock's, they help make it both more frustrating and more
                  fascinating. Whether reminiscing about the future shock of first hearing
                  Run-D.M.C.'s "Sucker M.C.'s," gnawing at the tragic knots at the heart
                  of Tupac Shakur's story, or celebrating women rappers, hip-hop
                  movies, and dancehall reggae, these chapters do what the best music
                  writing should--educate, excite, and lead the reader to the record
                  racks. --Rickey Wright, amazon.com

             2. Rap Attack 3 - David Toop [Amazon US]
                  "All music has a history, shameful or illustrious, but for a
                  14-year old chilling out in Playland, white nylon anorak
                  with the hood pulled tight and maybe a pair of Nike kicks
                  with the tongues pulled out, what matters in the mini-
                  phones plugged into the Walkman (or one of its cheaper
                  variants) is the post-NASA - Silicon Valley - Atari - TV
                  Break Out - Taito - Sony - Roland - Linn - Oberheim - Lucas -
                  Speilberg groove." That's David Toop on the "electro" music of the
                  early '80s--just one of many subjects handled with real sensitivity and
                  street smarts in _Rap Attack_, a classic text now in its third edition. A
                  musician as well as a writer, Toop conveys the magnitude of hip hop's
                  revolution in sound--combining the musique concrete of Edgar Varese
                  with the urban frenzy of a Bronx social club at 2:00 a. m.--but also its
                  verbal genius, a lineage extending from the griots of Northern Nigeria
                  to "doin' the dozens" to Kool Keith. With a dry wit and the erudition of
                  a walking pop-music encyclopedia, Toop tells the tale of the amazing
                  homegrown phenomenon that by 1998 "had overtaken country music
                  to become America's biggest-selling format." --Tom Moody for amazon.

             3. Hip Hop America - Nelson George [1 book, Amazon US]
                  Although it's been part of the cultural soundscape for over 25
                  years, hip-hop has been the focus of very few books. And
                  when those books do pop up, they tend to be either overtly
                  scholarly, as if the writer in question has just landed on some
                  alien planet, or a bit too much like a fanzine. If there's
                  anyone qualified to write a solid, informative, and
                  entertaining tome on the culture, politics, and business of hip-hop, it's
                  Nelson George. A veteran journalist, George is one of the smartest and
                  most observant chroniclers of African American pop culture. Much as
                  he broke down and illuminated R&B with his acclaimed book The Death
                  of Rhythm and Blues, George now tackles hip-hop with the clarity of a
                  reporter and the enthusiasm of a fan--which is fitting, because George
                  is both. A Brooklyn native, he began writing about rap back in the late
                  1970s, when the beats and the lifestyle were not only foreign to most

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                  white folks, they were still underground in the black communities. Hip
                  Hop America is filled with George's memories of the scene's nascent
                  years, and it tells the story of rap both as an art form and a cultural
                  and economic force--from the old Bronx nightclub the Fever to the age
                  of Puffy. Highlighting both the major players and some of the forces
                  behind the scenes, George gives rap a historical perspective without
                  coming off as too intellectual. All of which makes Hip Hop America a
                  worthwhile addition to any fan's collection. --Amy Linden or amazon.

             1. Style Wars (1983) - Tony Silver[Amazon US] [FR] [DE] [UK]
                  Some call it tagging, some call it writing, still others call it
                  bombing--it's all graffiti. Whether it's art or not is another
                  matter, but it's undeniably illegal. Tony Silver and Henry
                  Chalfant's historic PBS documentary Style Wars tracks the
                  rise and fall of subway graffiti in New York in the late 1970s
                  and early 1980s. At the peak of its popularity, graffiti was
                  as much a part of B-boy culture as rapping, scratching, and breaking.
                  The filmmakers present a sympathetic, but well-rounded portrait of
                  their subject through extensive interviews with taggers--notably Seen,
                  Kase, and Dondi--art collectors, transit authorities, and even Mayor Ed
                  Koch, who would eventually put the hammer down. Along the way,
                  they documented the burgeoning breakdance scene, with a focus on
                  the world-famous Rock Steady Crew. The soundtrack features
                  selections from Grandmaster Flash, the Treacherous Three, and other
                  tagger-approved icons of old-school hip-hop. --Kathleen C. Fennessy

             2. The Freshest Kids - A History of the B-Boy (2001)[Amazon US]
                  The subtitle couldn't be more accurate: A History of the B-
                  Boy is a comprehensive look at the world's "freshest kids."
                  This lively documentary isn't about hip-hop or hip-hop
                  culture as much as about an integral part of that culture. B-
                  boys are defined, variously, as "breakboys" (the original
                  term) and "breakdancers" (the more widely known one).
                  These "kids," many now in their 30s, helped to shape hip-hop's look
                  and spread its gospel. The narrative traces their evolution from the
                  South Bronx 1970s to media-crazed 1980s--when they were featured
                  in movies from Wild Style to Flashdance--to today, as the phenomenon
                  has returned to the underground while remaining as popular as ever
                  (as exemplified by footage from Germany, Japan, etc.). The old and
                  new school are on hand to explain and to praise the b-boy; everyone
                  from rappers like KRS-One and Mos Def to breakers like Crazy Legs
                  and Ken Swift. --Kathleen C. Fennessy for amazon.com

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A History of Rap and Hip Hop

             3. Wild Style (1982) - Charlie Ahearn [Amazon US]

                  [T]he cult movie that captured the essence of the new sub-
                  culture that was happening in the the Bronx, New York in
                  the early 1980s.

                  Wild Style is a slice of hip hop history with appearances from
                  old-skool hip hop artists such as GrandMaster Flash, The Rock Steady
                  Crew, Fab 5 Freddy, The Cold Crush Brothers, Rammellzee, Double
                  Trouble and Grand Wizard Theodore.

             4. Scratch(2001) Doug Pray [Amazon US]
                  In the language of hip-hop, the MC raps on top of the beats.
                  The DJ--or turntablist--supplies the beats. Doug Pray's lively
                  documentary is a tribute to these unsung heroes of the
                  "scratch." His approach is neither dry nor academic and is
                  designed as much for the masters of the form as for the
                  fans. Pray was also behind Hype!, which focused on the
                  Seattle scene in the 1980s and 1990s. In his 2002 follow-up, he
                  travels as far back as the 1970s (DJ Kool Herc, Afrika Bambaataa) and
                  roams the U.S. from New York (Gang Starr's DJ Premier) to the Bay
                  Area (DJ Shadow, Q-Bert). After watching the film and grooving to the
                  beat, you're likely to wonder if there's a soundtrack to accompany it.
                  Fortunately, there is--Bill Laswell, producer of Herbie Hancock's
                  seminal "Rockit," is behind a compilation featuring many of the same
                  artists celebrated in Scratch. --Kathleen C. Fennessy for amazon.com

        Hard Core - (1996) - Lil' Kim [...]

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A History of Rap and Hip Hop

                       Hard Core - (1996) - Lil' Kim [Amazon.com] [FR] [DE] [UK]

        In November of 1996, the world was introduced to Kim Jones. This woman
        may be little, but her words and opinions aren't. Lil Kim realeased her solo
        album, but still had some help from her pals Lil Cease, Biggie, and Puffy. A
        then relatively unknown Jay-Z made a guest appearence on "Big Momma
        Thang", just months after his own debut album. Commercially successful
        tracks like "No Time" and "Crush On You" propelled the album's success...
        Although listeners may have felt mislead when they realized that the album
        version of "Crush On You" was different from the highly rotated radio
        version. This album is an in-depth look at a young, hustling female player,
        and is not for the light at heart. "Not Tonight" is a good lyrical effort with a
        relaxed beat, produced by another new comer, Jermaine Dupri. His vocals in
        the background are reminiscent of Puffy, and are now a staple in every rap
        song. "Dreams" is most likely not was most would describe as their dreams,
        but you can't say you've never thought of those men! Hard Core is worth a
        try, give it a couple of listens....If you're not satisfied that's too bad because
        you'll never find another female MC like Kim. --carakay2 via Amazon.com

        Lil' Kim is called the Madonna of hip hop.

        Another of the Notorious B.I.G's women--Lil' Kim comes into her own with
        Hard Core, perhaps the most explicitly pornographic album ever made by a
        woman. With the possible exception of soulmate Foxy Brown, Lil' Kim is the
        hardest woman in R&B. Sexual over and undertones abound with songs like

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        'Take it!', and the album features the usual handful of guest appearances,
        including the now-late Biggy Smalls and members of her former band Junior
        Mafia. Production chores are handled by the hottest kids on the block: Sean
        Combs--a.k.a Puff Daddy, Badboy second-in-command Stevie J. and
        SoSoDef supremo Jermaine Dupri. With the rudest introduction and interlude
        sections ever recorded, the album features the single "Crush On You" (not to
        be confused with the Jets/Aaron Carter) which is confusing since Li'l Kim's
        only contribution to this track seems to be intermittently moaning the word
        "true". Incidentally, the album's cover is stolen more regularly than any
        other from London's largest chain of second hand record shops, although
        what this says about the music is perhaps open to question. --Ronita Dutta

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