Enter your mobile number below and we'll send you a link to download the free Kindle App. Then you can start reading Kindle books on your smartphone, tablet, or computer - no Kindle device required.
Getting the download link through email is temporarily not available. Please check back later.

  • Apple
  • Android
  • Windows Phone
  • Android

To get the free app, enter your mobile phone number.

Qty:1
  • List Price: $16.99
  • Save: $4.85 (29%)
FREE Shipping on orders with at least $25 of books.
In Stock.
Ships from and sold by Amazon.com. Gift-wrap available.
Book of Rhymes: The Poeti... has been added to your Cart
FREE Shipping on orders over $25.
Condition: Used: Good
Comment: Fast shipping from Amazon! Qualifies for Prime Shipping and FREE standard shipping for orders over $35. Overnight, 2 day and International shipping available! Item in good condition. Textbooks may not include supplemental items i.e. CDs, access codes etc...
Have one to sell? Sell on Amazon
Flip to back Flip to front
Listen Playing... Paused   You're listening to a sample of the Audible audio edition.
Learn more
See all 3 images

Book of Rhymes: The Poetics of Hip Hop Paperback – February 24, 2009

4.1 out of 5 stars 31 customer reviews

See all 3 formats and editions Hide other formats and editions
Price
New from Used from
Kindle
"Please retry"
Paperback
"Please retry"
$12.14
$8.05 $3.29

The Amazon Book Review
The Amazon Book Review
Author interviews, book reviews, editors picks, and more. Read it now
$12.14 FREE Shipping on orders with at least $25 of books. In Stock. Ships from and sold by Amazon.com. Gift-wrap available.
click to open popover

Frequently Bought Together

  • Book of Rhymes: The Poetics of Hip Hop
  • +
  • The Rap Year Book: The Most Important Rap Song From Every Year Since 1979, Discussed, Debated, and Deconstructed
Total price: $26.00
Buy the selected items together


Editorial Reviews

Review

Boston Globe
“[Bradley] lays out a nuanced, academically rigorous argument that the best hip-hop deserves attention as genuine artistry.... He traces the word rhythm from the Greek rheo, or flow. Biggie had flow; Jay-Z has flow. For an English professor, Adam Bradley got some flow of his own.”

Dallas Morning News
“Excellent.... Where so many hip-hop studies lean heavily on politics and sociology, Book of Rhymes is a welcome and thorough exploration of rap aesthetics that isn’t afraid to be learned.”

Henry Louis Gates, Jr.
“As comfortable in the company of Jay-Z as he is with John Donne, Adam Bradley is a visionary critic, skillful and wise. His Book of Rhymes is a tour de force, brilliantly renovating hip hop criticism as he rescues the forgotten vanguard of American poetry.”

Cornel West
“Adam Bradley’s Book of Rhymes is a marvelous exploration into the poetic genius of rap and the cultural gravity of Hip Hop. His analysis is subtle, sophisticated, and soulful!”

Jeff Chang, editor, Total Chaos: The Art and Aesthetics of Hip-Hop
“Where some hear noise, Adam Bradley hears the past and future of poetics. With taste, precision, and style, Book of Rhymes explains the art of rap in ways as bold, lyrical, and imaginative as the art form itself. Heads and theorists will find much to love and argue with in this fine work.”

Schoolly D
“All I can say is wow—it was like somebody was reading my mind. So many books have been written about hip hop's history—that time and that magic—but if you don't get it from reading Book of Rhymes, then you're just not going to get it.”

Junot Díaz, Pulitzer Prize-winning author of The Brief Wondrous Life of Oscar Wao
“Bradley delivers the intellectual dynamite with this astonishingly researched, passionately argued glove-across-the-face challenge to traditional hip hop scholarship. Superb on every level, a revelation and a joy to read.”

ColorLines
“Bradley’s book is ultimately successful, with a readable text that can engage diehard hip-hop heads, conventional poetry buffs or any combination of the two.”

About the Author

Adam Bradley, a Harvard PhD, is Assistant Professor of English Literature at Claremont McKenna College. He lives in Claremont, California.
NO_CONTENT_IN_FEATURE

New York Times best sellers
Browse the New York Times best sellers in popular categories like Fiction, Nonfiction, Picture Books and more. See more

Product Details

  • Paperback: 272 pages
  • Publisher: Basic Civitas Books (February 24, 2009)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0465003478
  • ISBN-13: 978-0465003471
  • Product Dimensions: 5.5 x 0.6 x 8.2 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 9.1 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.1 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (31 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #29,166 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

By Ivan Rott on December 9, 2009
Format: Paperback
In the preface to The Picture of Dorian Gray, the author Oscar Wilde defended his and all literary works by stating that "there is no such thing as a moral or an immoral book. Books are well written, or badly written. That is all." Condemned for his writings' homoerotic overtones, Wilde was publicly vilified and even imprisoned for his sexual orientation. Outspoken individuals like Allen Ginsberg and George Carlin famously received similar albeit less severe treatment for their expletive antics. A century after Wilde, rap music faces comparably harsh criticism for its explicit, aggressive, violent, misogynistic and, ironically to this analogy (both to Wilde and Ginsberg), homophobic rhymes. But like the diamond in the rough, below the surface of many of these lyrics lies profundity and value. After all, the culture that points the finger at rap is the very culture through which rap emerges - to describe, confront and reshape how we think, feel and live in this world.

In 2004, comedian Chris Rock performed an HBO special called Never Scared which was subsequently released on DVD and as a Grammy-winning CD. One of the highlights of this standup set was a segment called "Rap Stand Up", in which Rock professed his love for hip hop. Rock went on to lament the fact that while old school artists like Grandmaster Flash, Run-D.M.C. and Whodini could be "broken down intellectually", it was becoming increasingly difficult to "defend" new school emcees; he went on to mock rhymes like "I got hoes in different area codes" and "move, bitch, get out the way" by Ludacris. The questions then arise: What exactly constitutes the intellectuality that Rock was referring to? Can hip hop be valued as poetry and not just "beats and rhymes"?
Read more ›
Comment 19 people found this helpful. Was this review helpful to you? Yes No Sending feedback...
Thank you for your feedback.
Sorry, we failed to record your vote. Please try again
Report abuse
Format: Paperback
Hip hop is poetry regardless of its beat and music connections: here a literary scholar and hip hop expert makes the case for the artistic seriousness of hip hop poetry, contending that rap may be the most revolutionary development in poetry since hip hop's birth in the South Bronx over thirty years ago. It argues the case for rap as a distinct literary tradition and makes for a fine pick for any collection strong in contemporary music or poetry discussions.
Comment 6 people found this helpful. Was this review helpful to you? Yes No Sending feedback...
Thank you for your feedback.
Sorry, we failed to record your vote. Please try again
Report abuse
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
This book was really helpful for some things like the poetic techniques that some rappers use. However I felt like the majority of the book was written through the eyes of an outsider looking into the art of rap as a whole. I also felt like the author was trying to tell me that I shouldn't be a rapper because I didn't grow up liking the genre I had to teach that to myself.
Comment Was this review helpful to you? Yes No Sending feedback...
Thank you for your feedback.
Sorry, we failed to record your vote. Please try again
Report abuse
Format: Paperback
Looking back at "the Humpty Dance" it's hard to take hip hop too seriously as a form of poetry... by reading this book, though, you'll see a good argument made for the seriousness of hip hop and rap; the true meaning and intensity of these lyrics. It gives good reasons as to why these are some of the most important developments in poetry in the last thirty years.
Comment 2 people found this helpful. Was this review helpful to you? Yes No Sending feedback...
Thank you for your feedback.
Sorry, we failed to record your vote. Please try again
Report abuse
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
I'm stll reading it but what I have read so far has showed me more about how certain emcees structure their rhymes. You'll get more understanding out of listening to Hip Hop when you read this.
Comment 7 people found this helpful. Was this review helpful to you? Yes No Sending feedback...
Thank you for your feedback.
Sorry, we failed to record your vote. Please try again
Report abuse
Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
Adam Bradley has a total mastery of his subject matter. Most of the arguments in this book will be familiar to any avid rap fan, but Bradley crystallizes these concepts in useful ways, and provides interesting depth of analysis. Additionally, he brings an expert understanding of poetic form and formal concepts that will be new and useful to any rap listener who is interested in understanding the formal elements that make rap brilliant.
Comment Was this review helpful to you? Yes No Sending feedback...
Thank you for your feedback.
Sorry, we failed to record your vote. Please try again
Report abuse
Format: Paperback
I tell all rappers I know and work with to read this book. It presents a proper dissection of the poetics in an art form our culture often struggles to explain or understand. Also Bradley's Love affair with Biggie throughout the book really drives home a genuine personal connection. Refreshing and totally recommended to anyone who values rap as something that's important to them.
Comment Was this review helpful to you? Yes No Sending feedback...
Thank you for your feedback.
Sorry, we failed to record your vote. Please try again
Report abuse
Format: Kindle Edition
I don't consider myself a reader because I never find a book in interested in! I love to rap and want to be an emcee so this book has helped form me as an artist and will always continue teaching me more and more about the poetics of hip hop! Thank you Adam Bradley
Comment Was this review helpful to you? Yes No Sending feedback...
Thank you for your feedback.
Sorry, we failed to record your vote. Please try again
Report abuse

Set up an Amazon Giveaway

Book of Rhymes: The Poetics of Hip Hop
Amazon Giveaway allows you to run promotional giveaways in order to create buzz, reward your audience, and attract new followers and customers. Learn more about Amazon Giveaway
This item: Book of Rhymes: The Poetics of Hip Hop