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Best Hip Hop Books: The Ultimate List

Below I’ll give you my selections for the best Hip Hop books by a few categories. I will cover these and other great books more in depth later.

1. The Rap Year Book: The Most Important Rap Song From Every Year Since 1979, Discussed, Debated, and Deconstructed (2015)

 Best Hip Hop Books: The Ultimate ListHere'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…
Author(s): Shea Serrano , Arturo Torres, et al.

2. Can’t Stop Won’t Stop: A History of the Hip-Hop Generation (2005)

 Best Hip Hop Books: The Ultimate ListForged 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.Based on original interviews with DJs, b-boys, rappers, graffiti writers, activists, and gang members, with unforgettable portraits of many of…
Author(s): Jeff Chang, D.J. Kool Herc

3. The Hip Hop Wars: What We Talk About When We Talk About Hip Hop–and Why It Matters (2008)

 Best Hip Hop Books: The Ultimate ListHow hip hop shapes our conversations about race–and how race influences our consideration of hip hop Hip hop is a distinctive form of black art in America-from Tupac to the Pulitzer Prize-winning Kendrick Lamar, hip hop has long given voice to the African American experience. As scholar and cultural critic Tricia Rose argues, hip hop, in fact, has become one of the primary ways we talk about race in the United States. But hip hop is in crisis. For years, the most commercially successful hip hop has become increasingly saturated with caricatures of black gangstas,…
Author(s): Tricia Rose

4. Hip-hop Poetry And The Classics (2004)

 Best Hip Hop Books: The Ultimate ListFans of Hip-Hop can gain a deeper understanding of the bridges that link the great poets of the past to contemporary poets of today through a comparison of the writings of classic authors such as Robert Frost, Shakespeare, Rudyard Kipling, Edgar Allen Poe and Langston Hughes with those of Hip-Hop artists such as Tupac Shakur, Public Enemy, Mos Def, Eminem, KRS One, and Notorious B.I.G. This text includes in-depth analysis of all poetic literary devices, writing activities, critical thinking prompts and a host of user-friendly material to deepen one s own skills and understanding. Designed to be the pre-eminent source…
Author(s): Alan Sitomer, Michael Cirelli


 Best Hip Hop Books: The Ultimate ListThe Hip Hop Coloring Book is a fun activity book for kids and adults, and the latest in Dokument Press’s popular Coloring Book series. The book features a selection of Mark 563’s own illustrative takes on some of Hip Hop’s most important figures, ready to be colored in. The 64 pages are packed with legendary rappers from the East to the West coast, spanning the Golden Era through to today’s rap superstars….
Author(s): Mark 563

6. The History of Gangster Rap: From Schoolly D to Kendrick Lamar (2018)

 Best Hip Hop Books: The Ultimate ListThe History of Gangster Rap is a deep dive into one of the most fascinating subgenres of any music category to date. Sixteen detailed chapters, organized chronologically, examine the evolution of gangster rap, its main players, and the culture that created this revolutionary music. From still-swirling conspiracy theories about the murders of Biggie and Tupac to the release of the 2015 film Straight Outta Compton, the era of gangster rap is one that fascinates music junkies and remains at the forefront of pop culture. Filled with interviews with key…
Author(s): Soren Baker, Xzibit

7. Hip-Hop Revolution: The Culture and Politics of Rap (Culture America (Paperback)) (2007)

 Best Hip Hop Books: The Ultimate ListIn the world of hip-hop, “keeping it real” has always been a primary goal—and realness takes on special meaning as rappers mold their images for street cred and increasingly measure authenticity by ghetto-centric notions of “Who’s badder?”In this groundbreaking book, Jeffrey O. G. Ogbar celebrates hip-hop and confronts the cult of authenticity that defines its essential character—that dictates how performers walk, talk, and express themselves artistically and also influences the consumer market. Hip-Hop Revolution is a balanced cultural history that looks past negative stereotypes of…
Author(s): Jeffrey O. G. Ogbar

8. Book of Rhymes: The Poetics of Hip Hop (2017)

 Best Hip Hop Books: The Ultimate ListRap may be the most revolutionary development in poetry over the past forty years, yet its originality is hidden in plain sight. Often overshadowed by the beat, bluster, and hype surrounding the music, lyrics are the heart of hip hop. Book of Rhymes explores America’s least-understood poets by unpacking their complex craft and according them the respect they deserve as lyricists. Examining the language and techniques of hip hop’s most memorable artists, literary scholar Adam Bradley argues that a new world of rhythm and rhyme awaits us if we put…
Author(s): Adam Bradley

9. Rap and Hip Hop Culture (2014)

 Best Hip Hop Books: The Ultimate ListRap and Hip Hop Culture traces the ideological, social, historical, and cultural influences on a musical genre that first came to prominence in the mid-1970s in one of New York’s toughest neighborhoods, the South Bronx. Orejuela describes how the arts of DJing, MCing, breakin’ [b-boying], and graffiti developed as a way for this community’s struggle to find its own voice. He addresses rap’s early successes on the pop charts; its spread to mainstream culture; the growth of “gangsta rap” and mainstream society’s reaction to it; and the commercial…
Author(s): Fernando Orejuela

10. The Hip-Hop Generation (2003)

 Best Hip Hop Books: The Ultimate ListThe Hip Hop Generation is an eloquent testament for black youth culture at the turn of the century. The only in-depth study of the first generation to grow up in post-segregation America, it combines culture and politics into a pivotal work in American studies. Bakari Kitwana, one of black America’s sharpest young critics, offers a sobering look at this generation’s disproportionate social and political troubles, and celebrates the activism and politics that may herald the beginning of a new phase of African-American empowerment….
Author(s): Bakari Kitwana

11. Prophets of the Hood: Politics and Poetics in Hip Hop (2004)

 Best Hip Hop Books: The Ultimate ListAt once the most lucrative, popular, and culturally oppositional musical force in the United States, hip hop demands the kind of interpretation Imani Perry provides here: criticism engaged with this vibrant musical form on its own terms. A scholar and a fan, Perry considers the art, politics, and culture of hip hop through an analysis of song lyrics, the words of the prophets of the hood. Recognizing prevailing characterizations of hip hop as a transnational musical form, Perry advances a powerful argument that hip hop is first and foremost black American music. At the same time, she…
Author(s): Imani Perry

12. The History of Hip Hop (2017)

 Best Hip Hop Books: The Ultimate ListThis cultural brilliance of sound presented a voice and unique mind through the rough streets of America’s largest conurbations going as far back as the 1920s. Sprung from the spirits of poverty, this inner city culture quickly uncovered an amazing bunch of young fresh black American forces of nature eager to express their unique self street accounts and contributed to a spirited new style of soul of black Americana across major cities in the USA.Nowadays, Hip Hop has reached the doorsteps of Africa, Australia, Asia, Jamaica, Canada and just about everywhere on the planet. To picture how far rap has…
Author(s): Eric Reese

13. When the Beat Was Born: DJ Kool Herc and the Creation of Hip Hop (2018)

 Best Hip Hop Books: The Ultimate ListPaperback Publisher: Scholastic, Inc. (2018) ISBN-10: 133819318X ISBN-13: 978-1338193183 Package Dimensions: 9 x 9 x 0.3 inches Shipping Weight: 3.5 ounces (View shipping rates and policies) Average Customer Review: 4.8 out of 5 stars 47 customer reviews Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #311,325 in Books (See Top 100 in Books) Would you like to tell us about a lower price? If you are a seller for this product, would you like to suggest updates through seller support?…
Author(s): Laban Carrick Hill, Theodore Taylor, III

Best Hip Hop Books: The Ultimate List

We highly recommend you to buy all paper or e-books in a legal way, for example, on Amazon. But sometimes it might be a need to dig deeper beyond the shiny book cover. Before making a purchase, you can visit resources like Genesis and download some hip hop books mentioned below at your own risk. Once again, we do not host any illegal or copyrighted files, but simply give our visitors a choice and hope they will make a wise decision.

Chronicling Stankonia: The Rise of the Hip-Hop South

Author(s): Regina N. Bradley
ID: 2988083, Publisher: University of North Carolina Press, Year: 2021, Size: 5 Mb, Format: pdf

Kendrick Lamar and the making of black meaning

Author(s): Driscoll, Christopher M.; Lamar, Kendrick; Miller, Monica R.; Pinn, Anthony B.
ID: 2461959, Publisher: Routledge, Year: 2020, Size: 2 Mb, Format: epub

Kendrick Lamar and the Making of Black Meaning

Author(s): Christopher M. Driscoll; Monica R. Miller; Anthony B. Pinn
ID: 2461960, Publisher: Routledge, Year: 2020, Size: 2 Mb, Format: pdf

Please note that this booklist is not final. Some books are truly hot items according to Washington Post, others are drafted by unknown writers. On top of that, you can always find additional tutorials and courses on Coursera, Udemy or edX, for example. Are there any other relevant books you could recommend? Drop a comment if you have any feedback on the list.

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