"You have to bear in mind that Questlove] is one of the smartest motherf*****s on the planet. His musical knowledge, for all practical purposes, is limitless." --Robert ChristgauA punch-drunk memoir in which Everyone's Favorite Questlove tells his own story while tackling some of the lates, the greats, the fakes, the philosophers, the heavyweights, and the true originals of the music world. He digs deep into the album cuts of his life and unearths some pivotal moments in black art, hip hop, and pop culture. Ahmir "Questlove" Thompson is many things: virtuoso drummer, producer, arranger, Late Night with Jimmy Fallon bandleader, DJ, composer, and tireless Tweeter. He is one of our most ubiquitous cultural tastemakers, and in this, his first book, he reveals his own formative experiences--from growing up in 1970s West Philly as the son of a 1950s doo-wop singer, to finding his own way through the music world and ultimately co-founding and rising up with the Roots, a.k.a., the last hip hop band on Earth. Mo' Meta Blues also has some (many) random (or not) musings about the state of hip hop, the state of music criticism, the state of statements, as well as a plethora of run-ins with celebrities, idols, and fellow artists, from Stevie Wonder to KISS to D'Angelo to Jay-Z to Dave Chappelle to...you ever seen Prince roller-skate? ? But Mo' Meta Blues isn't just a memoir. It's a dialogue about the nature of memory and the idea of a post-modern black man saddled with some post-modern blues. It's a book that questions what a book like Mo' Meta Blues really is. It's the side wind of a one-of-a-kind mind. It's a rare gift that gives as well as takes. It's a record that keeps going around and around.
The Rap Year Book takes readers on a journey that begins in 1979, widely regarded as the moment rap became recognized as part of the cultural and musical landscape, and comes right up to the present. Shea Serrano deftly pays homage to the most important song of each 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.
Complete with infographics, lyric maps, hilarious and informative footnotes, portraits of the artists, and short essays by other prominent music writers, The Rap Year Book is both a narrative and illustrated guide to the most iconic and influential rap songs ever created.
A New York Times Best Seller
A February IndieNext Pick
Named A Most Anticipated Book of 2019 by Buzzfeed, Nylon, The A. V. Club, CBC Books, and The Rumpus. And a Winter's Most Anticipated Book by Vanity Fair and The Week
Starred Reviews: Kirkus and Booklist
"Warm, immediate and intensely personal."--New York Times
How does one pay homage to A Tribe Called Quest? The seminal rap group brought jazz into the genre, resurrecting timeless rhythms to create masterpieces such as The Low End Theory and Midnight Marauders. Seventeen years after their last album, they resurrected themselves with an intense, socially conscious record, We Got It from Here . . . Thank You 4 Your Service, which arrived when fans needed it most, in the aftermath of the 2016 election. Poet and essayist Hanif Abdurraqib digs into the group's history and draws from his own experience to reflect on how its distinctive sound resonated among fans like himself. The result is as ambitious and genre-bending as the rap group itself.
Abdurraqib traces the Tribe's creative career, from their early days as part of the Afrocentric rap collective known as the Native Tongues, through their first three classic albums, to their eventual breakup and long hiatus. Their work is placed in the context of the broader rap landscape of the 1990s, one upended by sampling laws that forced a reinvention in production methods, the East Coast-West Coast rivalry that threatened to destroy the genre, and some record labels' shift from focusing on groups to individual MCs. Throughout the narrative Abdurraqib connects the music and cultural history to their street-level impact. Whether he's remembering The Source magazine cover announcing the Tribe's 1998 breakup or writing personal letters to the group after bandmate Phife Dawg's death, Abdurraqib seeks the deeper truths of A Tribe Called Quest; truths that--like the low end, the bass--are not simply heard in the head, but felt in the chest.
TOGETHER FOREVER is not only a visual time capsule of hip-hop on the cusp of becoming mainstream, but a record of the strong bond of friendship between these two groups and how they significantly influenced each other, all while having a massive impact on music history and the industry. Including scores of never-before-published photos made by Friedman--the bands in concert, goofing around with celebrities, portraits, and, of course, hanging out together--TOGETHER FOREVER includes a foreword by Chris Rock, plus text contributions by the surviving members of both groups and others who were there, proving that the originals still reign.
A compendium of rap lyrics paired with academic translations which precisely explain all the confusing terms and lyrics in a language even the most unhip person can understand. It features hip hop artists of all names, colours and creeds and organises the lyrics into categories including cars, money, fashion and crime.
NOW A NEW YORK TIMES, USA TODAY, AND PUBLISHER'S WEEKLY BESTSELLER
Dyson writes with the affection of a fan but the rigor of an academic. ... Using extensive passages from Jay-Z's lyrics, 'Made in America' examines the rapper's role as a poet, an aesthete, an advocate for racial justice and a business, man, but devotes much of its energy to Hova the Hustler. --Allison Stewart, The Washington Post
Dyson's incisive analysis of JAY-Z's brilliance not only offers a brief history of hip-hop's critical place in American culture, but also hints at how we can best move forward. --Questlove
JAY-Z: Made in America is the fruit of Michael Eric Dyson's decade of teaching the work of one of the greatest poets this nation has produced, as gifted a wordsmith as Walt Whitman, Robert Frost and Rita Dove. But as a rapper, he's sometimes not given the credit he deserves for just how great an artist he's been for so long.
This book wrestles with the biggest themes of JAY-Z's career, including hustling, and it recognizes the way that he's always weaved politics into his music, making important statements about race, criminal justice, black wealth and social injustice. As he enters his fifties, and to mark his thirty years as a recording artist, this is the perfect time to take a look at JAY-Z's career and his role in making this nation what it is today.
In many ways, this is JAY-Z's America as much as it's Pelosi's America, or Trump's America, or Martin Luther King's America. JAY-Z has given this country a language to think with and words to live by.
Featuring a Foreword by Pharrell
In 2008, with help from Jay-Z and Puff, Barack Obama got the hip hop vote, and became the first African American to be elected president. For a brief moment, the "Audacity of Hope" seemed attainable. The 2014 Ferguson riots signaled the end of that hope, and in 2016 the hip hop community had to grapple with the election of Donald J. Trump as Obama's successor. Now more than ever, hip hop artists such as J. Cole and Kendrick Lamar are the voice of the voiceless.
In the new, updated compact edition of Hip Hop Raised Me., DJ Semtex examines the crucial role of hip hop in society and reflects on the positive influence it has had on his own life, and the lives of disaffected youths from generation after generation. Featuring specially commissioned photography and seminal interviews he conducted with key artists such as Jay-Z, Kanye West, Eminem, Drake, Nicki Minaj, and Nas, Semtex traces the course of hip hop from its origins in the early 1970s through its breakthrough to the mainstream and the advent of gangsta rap in the late 1980s to the global industry that it has become today.
A PERFECT COMPANION READ TO THE SHOWTIME DOCUMENTARY, WU-TANG CLAN: OF MICS AND MEN
Selected as a Best Book of the Year by Esquire
"Couldn't put it down." - Charlamagne Tha God
"Mesmerizing." - Raekwon da Chef
"Insightful, moving, necessary." - Shea Serrano
"Cathartic." -The New Yorker
"A classic." -The Washington Post
The explosive, never-before-told story behind the historicrise of the Wu-Tang Clan, as told by one of its founding members, Lamont "U-God" Hawkins.
"It's time to write down not only my legacy, but the story of nine dirt-bomb street thugs who took our everyday life--scrappin' and hustlin'and tryin' to survive in the urban jungle of New York City--and turned that into something bigger than we could possibly imagine, something that took us out of the projects for good, which was the only thing we all wanted in the first place." --Lamont "U-God" Hawkins
The Wu-Tang Clan are considered hip-hop royalty. Remarkably, none of the founding members have told their story--until now. Here, for the first time, the quiet one speaks.
Lamont "U-God" Hawkins was born in Brownsville, New York, in 1970. Raised by a single mother and forced to reckon with the hostile conditions of project life, U-God learned from an early age how to survive. And surviving in New York City in the 1970s and 1980s was no easy task--especially as a young black boy living in some of the city's most ignored and destitute districts. But, along the way, he met and befriended those who would eventually form the Clan's core: RZA, GZA, Method Man, Raekwon, Ol' Dirty Bastard, Inspectah Deck, Ghostface Killah, and Masta Killa. Brought up by the streets, and bonding over their love of hip-hop, they sought to pursue the impossible: music as their ticket out of the ghetto.
U-God's unforgettable first-person account of his journey, from the streets of Brooklyn to some of the biggest stages around the world, is not only thoroughly affecting, unfiltered, and explosive but also captures, invivid detail, the making of one of the greatest acts in American music history.