We’re celebrating our 50th anniversary this year and so is Hip Hop.
On August 11th, 1973, 18-year-old Clive Campbell, also known as DJ Kool Herc, deejayed a back-to-school party at a Bronx apartment building in New York City. History remembers this event as the birth of Hip Hop culture. As a birthday present we’re offering a list of books the examine the history of the art form.
Hip Hop Family Tree by Ed Piskor
Hip Hop Family Tree is the entertaining, encyclopedic history of the formative years of the music genre that changed global culture. Ed Piskor’s cartooning crackles like Kirby and takes you from the parks and rec rooms of the South Bronx to the night clubs, recording studios, and radio stations where the scene started to boom, capturing the flavor of late 1970s New York City in panels bursting with obsessively authentic detail. With a vigorous and engaging Ken Burns-meets-Stan Lee approach, the battles and rivalries, the technical innovations, the triumphs and failures are all thoroughly researched and lovingly depicted. Like the acclaimed hip hop documentaries Style Wars and Scratch, Hip Hop Family Tree is an essential cultural chronicle and a must for hip hop fans, pop-culture addicts, and anyone who wants to know how it went down back in the day.
Can’t Stop Won’t Stop: A History of the Hip-Hop Generation by Jeff Chang
Forged in the fires of the Bronx and Kingston, Jamaica, hip-hop became the Esperanto of youth rebellion and a generation-defining movement. In a post-civil rights era defined by deindustrialization and globalization, hip-hop crystallized a multiracial, polycultural generation’s worldview, and transformed American politics and culture. But that epic story has never been told with this kind of breadth, insight, and style. Based on original interviews with DJs, b-boys, rappers, graffiti writers, activists, and gang members, with unforgettable portraits of many of hip-hop’s forebears, founders, and mavericks, including DJ Kool Herc, Afrika Bambaataa, Chuck D, and Ice Cube, Can’t Stop Won’t Stop chronicles the events, the ideas, the music, and the art that marked the hip-hop generation’s rise from the ashes of the 60s into the new millennium. Here is a powerful cultural and social history of the end of the American century, and a provocative look into the new world that the hip-hop generation created.
The Come Up: An Oral History of the Rise of Hip-Hop by Jonathan Abrams
The music that would come to be known as hip-hop was born at a party in the Bronx in the summer of 1973. Now, fifty years later, it’s the most popular music genre in America. Just as jazz did in the first half of the twentieth century, hip-hop and its groundbreaking DJs and artists—nearly all of them people of color from some of America’s most overlooked communities—pushed the boundaries of music to new frontiers, while transfixing the country’s youth and reshaping fashion, art, and even language.
And yet, the stories of many hip-hop pioneers and their individual contributions in the pre-Internet days of mixtapes and word of mouth are rarely heard—and some are at risk of being lost forever. Now, in The Come Up, the New York Times bestselling author Jonathan Abrams offers the most comprehensive account so far of hip-hop’s rise, a multi-decade chronicle told in the voices of the people who made it happen.