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Can't Stop Won't Stop: A History of the Hip-Hop Generation Paperback – December 27, 2005
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About the Author
Jeff Chang has been a hip-hop journalist for more than a decade and has written for The San Francisco Chronicle, The Village Voice, Vibe, The Nation, URB, Rap Pages, Spin, and Mother Jones. He was a founding editor of Colorlines Magazine, senior editor at Russell Simmons's 360hiphop.com, and cofounder of the influential hip-hip label SoleSides, now Quannum Projects. He lives in California.
From School Library Journal
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
Top Customer Reviews
As I've said, in the book and in talks I've given on the book, I never set out to do a "definitive" history of hip-hop culture, let alone one simply about rap music. I don't believe that any one book could capture the breadth and depth of the hip-hop generation's contributions to culture and politics.
In 14+ years of writing on hip-hop from the street level around the globe, working (and often battling) in an international cipher of incredibly talented, passionate, and committed hip-hop artists (not just rappers), journalists, activists, writers, and scholars, I have developed a very strong opinion on this point: there are millions of ways to tell the story of the hip-hop generation. Mine is but one version. It's not "the" history, it's just "a" history.
I want to point everyone to some of the incredible writing that is available-in anthologies edited by people like Raquel Cepeda, Oliver Wang, and Rob Kenner, in books by Joan Morgan, Selwyn Seyfu Hinds, Bakari Kitwana, Raquel Rivera, Michael Eric Dyson, Mark Anthony Neal, S.H. Fernando, Adisa Banjoko, and Cheo Hodari Coker, and in fiction by Danyel Smith, Black Artemis, Erica Kennedy, and Adam Mansbach. There are classics of hip-hop writing by Tricia Rose, Brian Cross, Steven Hager, David Toop, Greg Tate, Billy Upski Wimsatt, James Spady, Jim Fricke and Charlie Ahearn. As I write this, I know of future classics still coming by people like Dave Tompkins, Brian Coleman, and many others. Nor am I trying to exclude the many other worthy and important writers out there-trust me, I've only scraped the surface of this expanding field of hip-hop generation (not just rap) books.Read more ›
I can't help but compare "Can't Stop, Won't Stop" to the recent movie "Cidade de Deus" about a young boy who manages to somewhat avoid the gangs, drugs and cyclical poverty of Brazil's slums. The movie's protagonist Rocket could be analogous to hip-hop itself, struggling to find an alternate path to the violence and ignorance brought on by apathetic governments, organizations and a few evil people in the right places. Chang gives us remarkably well-done portraits of the various social changes that combined to give us some of the most transcendent expressions of thoughts and feelings I've ever heard. The book is worth the time and money.
The shortage of Tupac and Biggie material arises from the book's focus on the "original generation" itself, as the creators of the format got older and had to deal with not only a changed society, but also the question of "Where to go next?" Chang does point out the commercialization of hip-hop has had, on the whole, a mostly negative impact upon the validity and "goodness" of the music being made; that the industry executives have managed to create a system where decent beats, attractive musicians and shoddy lyrics are rewarded more often than the intelligent, expressive and fun block party spirit in the beginning.
Read this book.
He's trying to do a hell of a lot. And the writing succeeds when he sticks to a specific story in a specific time: reggae in the 1970s; the birth of hip-hop in the Bronx; the rise and fall of the Source. His narratives are clear and exciting; just the very fact of this information being documented with such strength and legitimacy makes it exciting.
However, the text starts to slip and slide when Chang tries to tell too big of a story all at once. As the book proceeds, it is dragged down by the accumulation of narratives he keeps trying to follow, threads he tries to tie up with generalizations; summary statements that lose power with each iteration.
I feel like if the book had tried less to make all the points connect; presented a more consciously disconnected juxtaposition of these various stories--various chapters of the development of hip hop, even out of chronological order--if Chang had left it up to the reader to hear the echoes between his beautifully narrated case studies--it would have been a far stronger work.
That being said--no one, to my knowledge, has attempted a project about hip-hop on such a grand scale. It's always difficult to be the first--Chang sets up a theoretical framework in whose wake many great books will follow.
For a similarly exhilerating/groundbreaking work with similar problems, check out Judith Halberstam's terrific "Female Masculinity."
Most Recent Customer Reviews
This is the only book I read cover to cover before assigned (While pursing a higher education, History of Hip-Hop, University of Oregon.) Drops the Mic......Published 3 months ago by Amazon Customer
I do not normally write negative reviews, but this book really enraged me. OK, I get it, this is “a history of the hip-hop generation”, in other words, the writer does not commit... Read morePublished 3 months ago by melodius
This book is awesome especially if you are a hip hop lover. It's an easy read but at times it gave me the chills. Read morePublished 4 months ago by Daniel Ramirez
A complete history of hip hop and it's origin story. I love it!Published 4 months ago by mizlady107
Every movie I have ever seen about hiphop lists this book as a reference...'nuff said!Published 5 months ago by LeadGen