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22 of 24 people found the following review helpful
on July 15, 2010
As an up and coming rapper, I didn't know what to think about the book but I wanted to improve myself and my music. This book is a must have for any new or established artist. It has a vast range of artist comments, guidance and input. It also breaks down the music theory of hip hop to instruct/guide artists and listeners to better understand the music. It's very detailed and thorough (even what may seem obvious). I'm dissecting it now and learning some new every page. I know that my music will go to the next level because of it. Buy it invest in yourself or just enjoy the artistry and science of hip hop.
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21 of 23 people found the following review helpful
on October 12, 2010

I am someone who has always been moderately interested in rapping, but never really knew much about it. There are some songs and some artists that I absolutely love, but everything else I pay little attention to. I don't know very many artists names and am almost completely unaware of rap prior to about 1999.

On to the book. This book has taught me all of the intricate details that go on into imagining, creating, editing, and performing that I could have ever wanted. Every single page taught me something that I found worthwhile and often thought was incredible. Another amazing side-effect of this book is that I now have a huge appreciation for the hip hop community, and am amazed and inspired by many of the individuals. I am now aware or and appreciate tons of great artists of the past and present that I had know idea about before. I have now listened to 100's of tracks that I never would have before, and have learned how incredibly talented these artists truly are.

I highly recommend this book for anyone that is interested in the hip hop community, wants to appreciate the art form more, or who wants to learn how to rap.

And as others have mentioned, it seems that the only people that have given this book low reviews are "nobody" rappers who think that they are famous. There is nothing wrong with being a "nobody" rapper as that is what 99.99% of us will be, and it can still be fun and meaningful! Just don't pretend to be able to construct something better than this book.
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12 of 13 people found the following review helpful
on June 17, 2011
This book offers great insight on various views and directions for artists beginning, artists to brush up on knowledge, and artists looking to put it all together.

Now I'm not a professional but I would assume a professional would have little reason to buy a book like this unless they have not found them selves yet. This book is not a spoon feeder. It is more of a 4 COURSE meal. You choose at your own pace what you would like to eat and the order you would like to eat it. It offers great reference from many artists. Most are underground yet the important thing is that there are many avenues on the various components of rap. These are present. It doesn't give you worksheets, it instead provides views and points of views. These points of views are then perceived by the reader according to their understanding. The level of information is great depending on the ability of the reader to comprehend what is being read.

Truthfully just about everything covered in this book was something I already knew or did, but the fact that it was neatly laid out and organized was the key. Some people have to have some peace of mind when they write which can be achieved by understanding direction and options. This book can give peace of mind to rappers that excel in writing.

I have recommended it to my friends and have seen fast improvement.
This is the definitive book on the subject.
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67 of 85 people found the following review helpful
on October 8, 2010
Look, I am a professional rapper. I make my living doing it, and have for 10 years. I personally know a lot of the people in this book. I was actually very excited to read this book, and thought the potential was endless, especially with some of the artists selected.

The problem though, is some of the answers are so atrocious and uninformative that I began to feel sorry for the author for reasons he may not even understand. Why would you put all the effort (which was clearly a lot) into a book like this, only to have passages like these?:

"A lot of MC's do research before writing their lyrics. Some talk to friends or family as a way of research." Then, the first quote from a rapper to back up this statement and explain the "science" of talking to friends and family for rap research is from 40 Cal. And this is, verbatim, the entire quote:

40 Cal: I might ask a friend about a line.

Really? That's incredible! And no, there is no elaboration on that.

The book is full of very uninspired, pointless quotes from rappers, who never state anything more than the painfully obvious. And let's be real. Do we need to quote Omar Cruz every other page? Is Omar Cruz the master rap technician all the kids aspire to be like?

I'm just saying. The author could have based an entire 10 page chapter on Big Daddy Kane's entire unique approach. Instead, there are about 10 Big Daddy Kane quotes scattered around the book, and none of them are even remotely informative.

Pass on this book unless you are a 46 year old white secretary who is doing a parody rap for her boss on his birthday. If you know a single thing about rapping, or furthemore, LISTENING to rapping, you will gain nothing from this book.
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
on July 25, 2011
This book is a very fascinating read for leisure for non-rappers. For people like myself who is an avid listener of rap music, this book broke down the many aspects of emceeing; vocal tone, delivery, breath control, flow, content, collaborations with other rappers and producers, etc. There are many current rappers on the scene that could use this book as a gift but would probably catch feelings and say you'r a hater (Soulja Boy, Gucci Mane, Waka Flacka Flame). This book is very well organized and edited. The content inside the book is far from dense, which makes it an easier read. This book can be understood by laymen and musicians.

Many of my favorite musicians were interviewed to get their advice and insight into the art and science of being an emcee-Royce Da 5'9", ATCQ, Shock G, E-40, Big Daddy Kane, Kool G Rap, Crooked I, Joell Ortiz to name a few. I cannot praise this book enough. Often I will listen to music and reference a certain topic and analyze how well a particular emcee demonstrated the lesson. When it comes to breath control for example my fave emcees who do it the best are (Treach from Naughty By Nature, KRS-1, Eminem), showmanship (Em, KRS-1, The Roots). If you love Hip-Hop and celebrate rap for its linguistic acrobatics, rhythm and poetry then get this book. As Rakim said on "Follow The Leader" 'rap is rhythm and poetry/cuts create sound effects"
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
on May 1, 2014
Although Kool G. Rap is featured on the cover the book is mainly composed of excerpts from interviews of various rappers and observations from the other author (Paul Edwards) tying them together thematically. The order of topics and choice of quotes is not perfect, many quotes are repeated and often some concepts seem to have quotes thrown in simply to avoid having no 'sources' even though the quotes are not very interesting out of context. Many of the ideas covered could be considered basic or obvious to anyone except a person who just recently began listening to Hip Hop.
The historical context of the Hip Hop movement and reference to many classic 'required listening' albums and artists are great, and the lists of various attributes of an MC are useful, if only to have a vocabulary to discuss things you have already noticed. The flow diagram method is interesting and reflects what many lyrically talented rappers like Rakim already do when writing. Unfortunately these diagrams are not easily resized for reading on a kindle or other small tablet so it can be a little bit difficult to follow some of the longer technical breakdowns if you are reading the electronic version. The book describes many techniques but is hesitant to give many rules or guidelines, especially because of conflicting advice from various interviews. Ultimately I would almost prefer to read or listen to the interviews themselves, especially because many of the rappers interviewed clearly express themselves through sound, intonation, and gestures which are lost in the quotations. There is also a lot of space devoted to the actual act of performing performing on stage and furthering your notoriety as an MC. This book might be better titled 'How MCs are made'

Bottom line - If you are new to the genre, don't know where to start, or would like a fun read with a lot of great context for modern Hip Hop this is a great buy. It's definitely worth the money but beyond the flow diagrams most of the advice could be boiled down to ' Practice constantly, be creative with your process, and listen to a lot of Hip Hop if you ever want to be an MC.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
on December 29, 2011
This book isn't so much a "how-to" book, but rather a collection of quotes from a number of skilled, high-profile rappers about the importance of a number of different technical aspects of making rap music. This is a great book for anyone looking to learn about rap music.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
on November 18, 2010
The book is a pretty good book. Good knowledge for starting out to emcee. Gives insight on creative process and what goes into the music.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
on May 17, 2013
This book contained very little content that one could easily assume with relative confidence. It was definitely nice to hear from the likes of Aesop and Talib Kweli, but even their quotes were rather simple and uninformative. If nothing else, this product was helpful in that it motivated me to freestyle a bit more (and for the price I feel wrong to even complain), but if you are looking for any "secrets" or such, do not hold your hopes too high.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
on May 16, 2011
Excellent break down of how to be an MC. Covers all the important points while including opinions from some of the best MC's in the game. Highly recommended for anyone that is interested in the science and breakdown of rap. Also a good read for beginner and experienced MC's.
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