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The Vibe History of Hip Hop Paperback – October 26, 1999


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Editorial Reviews

Amazon.com Review

In his introduction, founding Vibe editor Alan Light justifies the magazine's 300-page hip-hop chronicle in historical terms, noting that while less than 15 years passed between Elvis's first single and Woodstock, it's been two full decades since rap busted out of New York City street parties via the Sugar Hill Gang's "Rapper's Delight." It's a righteous point, and the multi-author Vibe History indeed deserves to be filed next to The Rolling Stone Illustrated History of Rock & Roll. Like that book, Vibe's serves both as a fact-heavy primer and a passionate critical missive aimed straight for fans' hearts. Here we find all the contradictions of a pop-culture phenomenon: art and a hope for immortality rolled into a brightly colored form whose practitioners, even the most politically driven, demand to get paid. Or, as Charles Aaron writes in his essay on KRS-One, the rapper "has never failed to passionately contradict himself--footnotes, bibliography, and dope beats included." Those contradictions may not make the culture go, but as with rock's, they help make it both more frustrating and more fascinating. Whether reminiscing about the future shock of first hearing Run-D.M.C.'s "Sucker M.C.'s," gnawing at the tragic knots at the heart of Tupac Shakur's story, or celebrating women rappers, hip-hop movies, and dancehall reggae, these chapters do what the best music writing should--educate, excite, and lead the reader to the record racks. --Rickey Wright

From School Library Journal

YA-This chronicle of the music parents love to hate is a must purchase, and should be shelved right next to The Rolling Stone Illustrated History of Rock and Roll (Random, 1992). The book covers a remarkable amount of history, and readers will find the answers to many of their pressing questions about hip-hop culture, such as how rap got started, who the earliest performers were, etc. Even larger issues such as the role of women as rap artists, regional rivalries, money, power, and the merge of rock and roll are examined in great detail. A discography is included for many of the popular artists profiled, as is a sample unreleased CD by the original hip-hop kings Run-DMC. This gargantuan masterpiece is profusely illustrated.
ayo dayo, Chinn Park Regional Library, Prince William, VA
Copyright 2000 Reed Business Information, Inc.
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Product Details

  • Paperback: 432 pages
  • Publisher: Three Rivers Press; 1st edition (October 26, 1999)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0609805037
  • ISBN-13: 978-0609805039
  • Product Dimensions: 8.6 x 1 x 11 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 3.4 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 4.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (16 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #217,703 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

17 of 18 people found the following review helpful By Knyte on May 20, 2000
Format: Paperback
In this day and age, we are now witnessing an explosion of hip-hop in mainstream popular culture. Acts like Limp Bizkit, Korn and Kid Rock have all incorporated hip-hop into their music. Lately, hip-hop has been defined as 'the music of the youth'. This definition is devoid of color, making hip hop accessible to people of all races and cultures. The tricky aspect of this new 'universal' definition of hip hop is the possibility of the artform 'going the way of Rock and Roll' in that although it was pioneered by African-Americans, it may be 'stolen' by White artists the way Elvis and Pat Boone 'stole' Rock & Roll. There is sad evidence to this theory - Although TLC is the biggest selling female group of all time, they have yet to make the cover of Rolling Stone, yet Eminem made the cover after one hit song. There are countless other examples of this double standard that would take too much room to mention here. The history of hip hop is happening right now, but there's no better way to start paying attention by doing a little research, and VIBE's History of Hip Hop is the best place to begin.
This book is a masterpiece. Some break down hip hop into four elements: Graffitti, The Turntable, The MC and Breakdancing. I believe that while these are the cornerstones on which hip hop culture was built, this definition is too simplistic - and the VIBE history of Hip Hop does a wonderful job of bringing to life yet another form of Black music that has taken not only the United States, but the world by storm.
Broken down into many, many sections including "The Real Old School", "Pop Rap", "Ladies First" and "Hip Hop in the Movies", you can see first hand the amount of research and work that went into this book.
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8 of 8 people found the following review helpful By Steve Sanderson on August 21, 2000
Format: Paperback
This book was my introduction to Hip Hop and I recommend it both to people who want to rip their hands into the music and for those that been around it for years. I would rate this 4 1/2 stars if that was possible...
The book covers Hip Hop from every possible angle, charting the cultural as well as political significance of the misunderstood and under appreciated genre. The writers assembled for the book put down literate, well thought out prose that gives Hip Hop its perspective for just about anyone who wants it, whatever their cultural background.
I found The Vibe History of Hip Hop one of the best books I've read on music. I also used the editors' recommendations for CDs when I went shopping to flesh out my music collection.
If you are seriously interested in Hip Hop, in critical music writing, want to look at glossy black and white pictures of Hip Hop performers, or listen to the 4 song cd included with the book, then this is a good buy and an even better read.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on February 2, 2002
Format: Paperback
A large glossy book that outstands for its pictures. Written in a cronological manner, covers from the beginnings of the rap scene until nowadays. Very attractive to look at, but composed from a media point of view.
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5 of 7 people found the following review helpful By Kim Thipe, Urban Underground on June 18, 2000
Format: Paperback
Vibe History of Hip Hop Culture is a accurate chronology of the hip hop movement and its impact on urban culture. The book documents the urban experience and gives a great entree for brand marketers considering using the genre to hype their products.
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By austin ryall on February 23, 2015
Format: Paperback
This book tells the history of hip hop in the 90s and how it became a world wide music genre. It tells the lives of many different rappers including Eazy E, Snoop Dog, Tupac, and many others. I read this book because it related to my ethnography topic of electronic music. Ethnography is a look into the culture of a certain topic. Hip Hop is not EDM but it was the first time people started to use electronic add ins in their music. You should read this book because it tells many thrilling stories about the success and hardships of the hip hop scene in the 90’s. Like how Tupac was shot on Las Vegas boulevard right after a Mike Tyson fight. His producer was walking in front of him and after the fact in an interview he said “I saw the gold Cadillac roll up”. It also tells the story of the notorious BIG and how after he got shot one of his crew kept saying “One Bullet”, “One Bullet got him”. It shows that this type of music was not accepted at first and was looked down upon because of how drugs were interlaced into the rappers success. Where there was coke there was hip hop. This same thing can be said about EDM, EDM is seen as a joke or not music to some people. These people look down upon it and say things like it is just sounds mixed with sounds or that’s computer music. So if you want to learn how hip Hop began and what the scene was first like I would highly recommend this book for you to read. My overall rating of this book was good, it was interesting and kept my attention to keep reading.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By Mia Butler on July 10, 2013
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
I am very pleased with my purchase. The book is helping me fulfill my remaining English requirement for my upcoming graduation next semester.
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By HipHop Junky on October 19, 2005
Format: Paperback
This book tells the complete story of hip hop the photos are cool of the true pioneers in the industry Pac, Big, and it shows where hip hop first orginated to where it is today. I rate this book #1 in all hip hop literature.
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