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 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 --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
George (The Death of Rhythm and Blues) calls this wide-ranging history of hip-hop a "book of memory" and compares his relationship with the music to a love affair. A portrait not just of the music but of the whole culture coalescing around beats and rhymes, from graffiti to break dancing and basketball, George's narrative sometimes jumps from topic to topic like the fragmentary soundscapes of his subject. Nonetheless, he does follow a loose, anecdotal trajectory from the "post-soul" era of the early 1980s through the Old School to the New School, through gangsta rap to the latest innovators. Often, detours seem to be taken solely because George couldn't bear to drop material, and the writing can seem hasty. One may disagree with certain assessments (he says of trendy vocalist and hip-hop impresario Puff Daddy, "Never in the history of postwar black pop has a single man done so much so well"), but quibbling aside, the author's knowledge and passion run deep. George conveys a continuing excitement and personal investment rather than pretending critical distance, still rethinking his own past positions. Most refreshingly, while an advocate, he is blunt and perceptive in areas where traditional hip-hop advocates can be blindly protective. The book is at its best when George is more commentator than chronicler; one wishes more space had been devoted to exploration of many provocative issues raised in passing: Is democracy good for art? Why no great women rappers? One such thought George offers is that art can be suffocated when "loved too well by the people [it was] intended to make uncomfortable"; the best audience for these memories may turn out to be those outsiders rather than hip-hop purists.-- intended to make uncomfortable"; the best audience for these memories may turn out to be those outsiders rather than hip-hop purists.
Copyright 1998 Reed Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
Gave me good insight to a research project I'm working on.
Since the change in sports in how it's marketed.
Every now and then I like to move outside my comfort zone. Hip Hop America is such a move: I have very little taste for hiphop music, but the book fell into my hands and seemed... Read morePublished 21 months ago by Dan'l Danehy-Oakes
There's so much information in this book I hate to give it a 2 star rating, but I feel I must on two counts, these being: A)excessively irrelevant & anecdotal in content, and... Read morePublished on May 28, 2012 by A. M. Welsh
Can't remember anything earth shattering that I learned from this book but it was worth the money and time and written by the most respected hip hop journalist everPublished on March 28, 2012 by deeznuts
Wednesday, January 28, 2009
Truth of God Institute and the End of Ghetto Scholarship
What distinguishes TGI scholarship? In a word: sources. Read more
The musical scene in the Sixties and the Eighties was hip-hop for all races and religions in the USA. The Seventies was devoted mostly to folk music. Read morePublished on November 26, 2006 by Betty Burks
Nelson George has written several books on Hip Hop and African-American popular culture, all of which are worth reading. Read morePublished on September 28, 2006 by British Commentator