I try to read as much as I can when it comes to hip hop books. I’m sure there are people out there that have read a lot more than I have, but I’ve read my fair share of books over the past couple years. I’m sure a lot on this list will be fairly common knowledge to those that read often, but if not, I highly suggest you read these five books.
1. Check The Technique/Rakim Told Me – Brian Coleman
I include these books together, because they are fairly similar. Rakim Told Me was like the independent EP release of Check The Technique, which is a MUST read for any hip hop head out there. Coleman goes over the history of how certain certified hip hop classics came to be. He get’s it straight from the artist, which is in my eyes, truly amazing and a great chronicle of this hip hop history.
The reason for this zany five days that I have going on this week. Like I said in the intro for this week, I’m a list junkie. I love lists. This book was made just for me, at least that’s the way I felt when I sat down and read it a day and a half.
There are a couple dry places in Chang’s “Can’t Stop, Won’t Stop,” but the rest of it picks it up enough to get you through those. Lots of interesting stuff going on in the book and one that should be read by anyone that is thirsty for knowledge or just likes reading about other people’s interpretation on hip hop and it’s history.
I’m big on reading journalism regarding hip hop anyway, especially in the magazine format, so reading this book was a great way to catch some of the greatest articles ever written. This goes from the early 80′s all the way to the present, with some classic articles from The Source, Vibe, and some of the others. This was another book that was easy to ready, just ready a chapter at a time. Good stuff.
I’m sure I’ll be stoned for including this in my top 5 list, but the truth of it is, I loved this book. I think I read it in one night while drinking a six pack. Paul’s Boutique is one of my favorite albums of all-time, just simply for all the crazy sounds that is going on it. I think it’s a freaking masterpiece production wise. And this book, captures how the whole thing went down, and rather indepth too. Think of a chapter from “Check The Technique” and turn it into a book. That’s basically what this book is. Any fan of the album, the Beasties, or music in general should check this book out.