The Story of Hip Hop

The Story of Hip Hop : From Africa to America, Sugarhill to Eminem

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This volume provides a history of rap music from its West African roots to slavery, spritual and work songs through to today's rap artists like Eminem, Snoop, Puff Daddy, and Missy. The book shows how the first explosive rap hit evolved into the contemporary hip-hop scene.
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Product details

  • 12-17
  • Paperback | 176 pages
  • 128 x 198 x 12mm | 143g
  • Penguin Books Ltd
  • Puffin Books
  • London, United Kingdom
  • illustrations, glossary, bibliography, index
  • 0141314362
  • 9780141314365

About Jim Haskins

James Haskins is a highly-esteemed chronicler of Africana American history and has written more than a hundred books. He is a Professor at the University of Florida.
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Review Text

Hip-hop is not just a music style; it is a whole lifestyle. Although to the casual observer it might seem that the likes of Eminem, Missy and Snoop emerged overnight from nowhere, rap actually has a long history of development. As a musical tradition it has its roots not in America, but in the African continent of hundreds of years ago. At that time music making was the province of professional storytellers and singers called griots, who performed against a background of drums and other rhythmic instruments. They carried the history of their tribes within their music and this oral tradition was transported, via the slave markets, to the New World. Ragtime, the blues and Dixieland jazz were all evolutions of this original formula. Each type of music gained popularity first with a black audience, then increasingly with a white one. Rhythm and blues, rock and roll and Motown were all further stops along the way that have led directly to the contemporary rap scene, and hip-hop culture now encompasses the club and street parties, music, clothes and break dancing. Using his background as an expert in African-American history, James Haskins has written an accessible and entertaining guide to hip-hop. It's a rich journey that never fails to fascinate with its insights into the rise of a modern music phenomenon. Haskins never makes the mistake of allowing his voice to take on a patronising tone and always avoids treating his subject in a frivolous manner. Nor does he overuse exclusive jargon or slang. In spite of accusations that rap is a merely a passing fad, Haskins has understood its importance within the long-term influence of African American music. This is a serious study and deservedly so. (Kirkus UK)
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