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Reading Lists

Know Your Rap Vol 1


By C.S Lozie

A list of books to quench your thirst for hip hop history.


Know Your Rap Vol 1


1. The Rap Year Book: The Most Important Rap Song From Every Year Since 1979, Discussed, Debated, and Deconstructed

Here's what The Rap Year Book does: It takes readers from 1979, widely regarded as the moment rap became recognized as part of the cultural and musical landscape, and comes right up to the present, with Shea Serrano hilariously discussing, debating, and deconstructing the most important rap song year by year. Serrano also examines the most important moments that surround the history and culture of rap music--from artists' backgrounds to issues of race, the rise of hip-hop, and the struggles among its major players--both personal and professional. Covering East Coast and West Coast, famous rapper feuds, chart-toppers, and show stoppers, The Rap Year Book is an in-depth look at the most influential genre of music to come out of the last generation.

 

2. 3 Kings: Diddy, Dr. Dre, Jay-Z and Hip-hop's Multi-Billion Dollar Rise-Zack O’Malley Greenburg
Tracing the careers of hip-hop's three most dynamic stars, this deeply reported history brilliantly examines the entrepreneurial genius of the first musician tycoons: Diddy, Dr. Dre, and Jay-Z.

Being successful musicians was simply never enough for the three kings of hip-hop. Diddy, Dr. Dre, and Jay-Z lifted themselves from childhood adversity into tycoon territory, amassing levels of fame and wealth that not only outshone all other contemporary hip-hop artists but with a combined net worth of well over $2 billion made them the three richest American musicians, period.

Yet their fortunes have little to do with selling their own albums: between Diddy's Ciroc vodka, Dre's $3 billion sales of his Beats headphones to Apple, and Jay-Z's Tidal streaming service and other assets, these artists have transcended pop music fame to become lifestyle icons and moguls.

Hip-hop is no longer just a musical genre; it's become a way of life that encompasses fashion, film, food, drink, sports, electronics and more -- one that has opened new paths to profit and to critical and commercial acclaim. Thanks in large part to the Three Kings -- who all started their own record labels and released classic albums before moving on to become multifaceted businessmen -- hip-hop has been transformed from a genre spawned in poverty into a truly global multibillion-dollar industry.

These men are the modern embodiment of the American Dream, but their stories as great thinkers and entrepreneurs have yet to be told in full. Based on a decade of reporting, and interviews with more than 100 sources including hip-hop pioneers Russell Simmons and Fab 5 Freddy; new-breed executives like former Def Jam chief Kevin Liles and venture capitalist Troy Carter; and stars from Swizz Beatz to Shaquille O'Neal, 3 Kings tells the fascinating story of the rise and rise of the three most influential musicians in America.
3. Can't Stop Won't Stop: A History of the Hip-Hop Generation
Can't Stop Won't Stop is a powerful cultural and social history of the end of the American Century, and a provocative look into the new world that the hip-hop generation created.

Forged in the fires of the Bronx and Kingston, Jamaica, hip-hop became the Esperanto of youth rebellion and a generation-defining movement. In a post-civil rights era defined by deindustrialization and globalization, hip-hop crystallized a multiracial, polycultural generation's worldview, and transformed American politics and culture. But that epic story has never been told with this kind of breadth, insight, and style.

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