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The Hip Hop Years: A History of Rap Paperback – August 1, 1999

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Product Details

  • Paperback: 222 pages
  • Publisher: Macmillan UK; Pap/Com edition (August 1, 1999)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0752217801
  • ISBN-13: 978-0752217802
  • Product Dimensions: 6 x 0.7 x 9.2 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 12 ounces
  • Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (2 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #950,534 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

"Where hip hop once attacked the mainstream, to all intents and purposes, it now is the mainstream.... It has been customised and redefined, not only in the ghettos, but throughout white suburbia and beyond, paying no heed to geographical or linguistic boundaries." Through interviews with more than a hundred MCs, rappers, producers and music writers some well-known, some obscure the authors capture the essence of a movement that has lasted for more than 25 years, even longer than the "punk" culture that most rock critics see as the dominant strain of post-Beatles music. Of the many books written about rap music and hip-hop culture, this is the best one-volume introduction to the range, depth and historical trajectory of the music and the artists, from the early days of Afrika Bambaataa's electro-funk Zulu Nation in the Bronx of the 1970s and the early turntable breakthroughs of Grandmaster Flash to the international acclaim given in the 1980s to Run-DMC and Public Enemy (and the derision heaped on popular white artists like Vanilla Ice) and the current obsession with violent gangster images. The latter began in the '80s with Ice-T and N.W.A., and dominated the '90s with high-profile battles between East Coast artists like "Puffy" Combs and Biggie Smalls and West Coast artists like Snoop Dogg and Tupac Shakur. While the authors (journalist Upshal and Ogg, author of Radiohead) tend toward hyperbole, by detailing rap's lasting contribution to global culture they offer a corrective to the way rap is so often covered by the press: as yet another ephemeral phenomenon, like Britney Spears, in an ever-changing music scene. For fans of hip-hop and anyone interested in popular culture, this book is essential. Color photos.

Copyright 2001 Cahners Business Information, Inc.

--This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

From Library Journal

For their history of rap music and hip hop culture, British journalists Ogg and Upshal have interviewed over 100 DJs, rappers, record label impresarios, critics, and insiders, whose recollections propel the account with minimal intrusion from the authors. The result reads like a disjointed series of depositions. At its best recounting rap's beginnings in the late 1970s at parties in the Bronx, NY, the book becomes increasingly uneven and superficial as the music spreads, focusing on the more commercially viable acts and seldom straying from the New York-Los Angeles axis. The sharp analysis of Nelson George's Hip Hop America (LJ 9/15/98) and the sweeping narrative of Alan Light's Vibe History of Hip Hop (Three Rivers, 1999) are sacrificed here for anecdotal recollections of events that are recent and already well documented. The nurturing role of underground radio, the growing contributions of Latino rappers, and the influence of Five Percent Nation ideology are among several themes that are largely ignored. Readers attracted by hip hop's recent commercial success will discover the book, first published in the U.K. in 1999, out of step with the ever-changing rap scene; longtime enthusiasts will be stunned to find a section devoted to the reviled Vanilla Ice while such seminal rappers as KRS-One and Rakim receive no mention at all. Perhaps they did not return Ogg and Upshal's calls. Not recommended. Richard Koss, "Library Journal"
Copyright 2001 Reed Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

More About the Author

I'm an author of several well regarded, large-scale book projects. The Hip Hop Years was published both in Britain and America and accompanied the BAFTA-nominated Channel 4 TV series of the same title, on which I served as consultant. No More Heroes was an exhaustive 600,000-word project analysing the punk era and its contributors. Independence Days, my latest book, has already received rave reviews and documents the development of independent record labels in the UK over a ten-year period, drawing on more than 150 interviews. Other books include biographies of Radiohead, a further tie-in with Channel 4 (for their Top Ten series) and a book on hip-hop lyrics as well as the iconic Def Jam record label. My booklet accompanying the reissue of Pillows & Prayers won the 2008 Mojo Catalogue award. I have written more than 100 CD liner notes, and articles for The Times and numerous music magazines including Classic Rock, Record Collector, Vox, etc as well as websites including the Quietus. I have just been appointed editor of the academic journal Punk & Post-Punk, based at Leeds University and wrote one of the introductions to the Worth Classics edition of Dickens' A Christmas Carol.

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

6 of 7 people found the following review helpful By R. Riis VINE VOICE on July 26, 2001
Format: Hardcover
There are several rap/hip-hop history books out there, but very few that just give you the straight facts free from press-kit biographies or fan-magazine drivel. This is one of the few really good ones, covering the whole spectrum from the early 1970s block party DJs to the late 1990s mega-industry. Well-informed and informative.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By classic 1965 on May 19, 2008
Format: Paperback
There are plenty of books about hip hop. And most of them aren't very good. But this one really stands out as the best - telling the compelling story of how hip hop rose from the streets of the Bronx in the 1970s and grew up to conquer the world. It's informative, entertaining and captures just the right balance between humour and a hard-hitting sense of context.

The book has the advantage of being the companion to an excellent Channel 4 TV series of the same name - widely regarded as the definitive history of the music. The book captures the same blend of great story-telling and authoritative analysis.

It's authors have gone to the trouble of investigating the often-ignored true origins of hip-hop and build a vivid picture. It's a story full of sparkling anecdote from those who were there - such as Afrika Bambaataa, Grandmaster Flash, Public Enemy's Chuck D and Run DMC's Daryl McDaniel. Sometimes the interview material is so extensive it seems like a "who's who of hip hop". Ice Cube, Ice-T, MC Hammer, Vanilla Ice (whose story is strangely tragic and hilarious!), De La Soul, Mos Def, Missy Elliott, Wu Tan Clan, Black Eyed Peas, Eminem ... It's a staggering roster. Okay, it may not include everyone - but it goes pretty close!

The book spends alot more time on the early origins of hip-hop than on the modern era. But that's a small criticism. We all know what hip-hop has become. The pleasure of this book is being able to discover the true roots of the music and where it came from.
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