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The Vibe History of Hip Hop

The Vibe History of Hip Hop

4.0 2
by Vibe Magazine, Alan Light (Editor)

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Music, fashion, dance, graffiti, movies, videos, and business: it's all in this brilliant tale of a cultural revolution that spans race and gender, language and nationality. The definitive history of an underdocumented music genre, The VIBE History of Hip Hop tells the full story of this grassroots cultural movement, from its origins on the streets of the Bronx to


Music, fashion, dance, graffiti, movies, videos, and business: it's all in this brilliant tale of a cultural revolution that spans race and gender, language and nationality. The definitive history of an underdocumented music genre, The VIBE History of Hip Hop tells the full story of this grassroots cultural movement, from its origins on the streets of the Bronx to its explosion as an international phenomenon. Illustrated with almost 200 photos, and accompanied by comprehensive discographies, this book is a vivid review of the hip hop world through the eyes and ears of more than 50 of the finest music writers and cultural critics at work today, including Danyel Smith, Greg Tate, Anthony deCurtis, dream hampton, Neil Strauss, and Bönz Malone.

"A history? No. A story, really. A tale from the dark side. In this book, hip hop is all. It's always there. Like hip hop, this book is about the intense kind of aspiration that comes from having little. About holding and rhyming into a microphone. Mixing and scratching. Guns pain blood. Desire desperation truth true love. Art and mystery and metaphor. The singularity of voice. The magnificence of ingenious sampling. The glory of a beat. This book is that story."
-- From the Preface by Danyel Smith, editor-in-chief of VIBE, the voice of the hip hop generation, presents the essence of hip hop.

Editorial Reviews

Nathan Rabin
Following Lauryn Hill's Grammy wins in 1998, a slew of clueless newspaper articles marveled that something called "hip hop" is more than a passing fad. While that must have been newsworthy to some, for those who follow the genre it provided belated acknowledgement that hip hop has and will continue to change the face of popular music, regardless of the Grammys. Published 20 years after the chart success of The Sugarhill Gang's groundbreaking single "Rapper's Delight," The Vibe History Of Hip Hop consists of a series of essays chronicling the bumpy, uneven, and frequently strange rise of rap music and hip-hop culture.

Editor Alan Light acknowledges early on that such informal histories have inherent flaws, among them an inevitable obsolescence, and that flaw rears its head in a chapter on Southern rap that ignores the dominance of the New Orleans-based Cash Money label. Fortunately, the book compensates with depth and substance, capturing surreal moments--from a Fruity Pebbles commercial featuring break-dancing to Eazy-E selling tiny bags of weed even after his massive commercial success--as vividly as it does those that define the genre. As with virtually any volume involving many writers, its quality varies drastically from chapter to chapter, with hard-hitting, fascinating pieces on LL Cool J, N.W.A, and MC Hammer alternating with sketchy lists of regional hip-hop acts and a muddled chapter on '90s gangsta rap. It falls off noticeably in its second half, but despite its flaws, The Vibe History Of Hip Hop is still the best book of its kind.
Onions A.V. Club

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 Cahners Business Information.|

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Crown Publishing Group
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8.60(w) x 10.95(h) x 0.97(d)

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Read an Excerpt

Vibe History of Hip Hop

By Magazine Vibe

Crown Publishing Group (NY)

Copyright © 1999 Magazine Vibe
All right reserved.

ISBN: 0609899058


by Alan Light

In October 1979, a new record label called Sugar Hill Records released a single titled "Rapper's Delight," credited to a trio known as the Sugarhill Gang. A few weeks later--on January 5, 1980, to be precise--the song entered Billboard's Top 40, where it remained for just two weeks, peaking at No. 36.

For the burgeoning culture that would come to be known as hip hop, this moment was a fulcrum. "Rapper's Delight" wasn't the first hip hop recording--as the early chapters in this book show, that distinction is as much a judgment call as the first rock 'n' roll song or the first jazz musician--but it marked the first time a national, even international audience stood up and took notice. The revolutionary new sound and style that was being developed by black and Latino kids in the 1970s in the parks, clubs, and parties around New York City had been captured on wax, commodified with visible commercial results. For some, "Rapper's Delight" was the end of hip hop's beginning; for others, it was the beginning of the end.

It is now a full twenty years later. (To put that in some context for any who still doubt hip hop's longevity, Woodstock happened only fifteen years after Elvis Presley's first recordings.) After years of denial, dismissal, and disapproval, hip hop has unquestionably become the dominant force in contemporaryAmerican youth culture. Lauryn Hill wins a shelf full of Grammy awards and ends up on the cover of Time magazine. Will Smith is one of Hollywood's top leading men. Q-Tip appears in national fashion advertising campaigns. Week in and week out, the top of the album sales chart is packed with rap records, and many of the hitmakers who are classified as pop or rock bands, from Korn to Hanson, reveal the unmistakable imprint of the genre. Across the country and around the globe, hip hop has changed the way songs are recorded and what they can say, how clothes are designed and marketed, which films get made and how they are distributed--and it has helped shape an entire generation's thoughts and attitudes about race.

Some would argue--as they do occasionally in these pages--that hip hop has never actually recovered from the success of "Rapper's Delight" (which, it must be pointed out, the Sugarhill Gang, a group initially put together in the studio just for that recording, did not even write). These noble purists believe that the true spirit of the music was traded in for record sales, and with that change came the loss of a genuine community and culture, complete with the eventual weakening of its visual expression (graffiti), physical representation (breakdancing), and musical backbone (DJ-ing).

And who that wasn't there in the beginning, who didn't experience the joyous creation of (to quote Sly Stone) a whole new thing, can say that this feeling is wrong? But in return, we have gained the most significant and most innovative cultural force since the emergence of rock 'n' roll in the 1950s. Hip hop has quite simply changed the world, and after years of fighting off the stigma that it was surely nothing more than a passing fad, the time has come to take a look back, to examine everything that has brought the music to the extraordinary, hard-fought status it enjoys today. The time has come to recognize.


Excerpted from Vibe History of Hip Hop by Magazine Vibe Copyright © 1999 by Magazine Vibe. Excerpted by permission.
All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.
Excerpts are provided by Dial-A-Book Inc. solely for the personal use of visitors to this web site.

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The Vibe History of Hip Hop 4 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 2 reviews.
Guest More than 1 year ago
There are a lot of fiction books that talk about eras of hip hop ('Masks of the Darkest American Game' and 'Fly Girl'). This is not only a collector's item, but a beautiful pictorial/historical nostalgia of an international phenomenon as it unfolds--hip hop. I won't have to explain hip hop to my children or grandchildren!
Guest More than 1 year ago
I was very eager to buy this book. I am a very big fan of hip hop. However this book did not fall anywhere near my expectations. The book portrays more personal opinions about artist than thier history. For example I was really mad after reading the article on Tupac Shakur R.I.P. The article claimed as Tupac being a hero we do not need, and that he lead a sad life. Plus the article claimed that Tupac used songs like 'keep ypu head up' as escape goats to innocence. On top of that the author passes her opinions that his movies and production were all lame. The same was done on the article on WU Tang. The reason I do not like this is because the readers who just started listening to hip hop will get a wrong perception about the one of the legends of Hip Hop. The other thing that did not impress me was that only a few paragraphs were mentioned on Bone,Thugs and Harmony. They clearly deserve more praise than they were given. Lastly I am no hater infact I like both Tupav and Biggie but the book just sends a vibe that Biggie is good and Tupac is bad. The articles were ery good especially the one on Public enemy and the one KRS one but overall the book is not about history of Hip Hop. It is a book about personal comments and opinions on various artists.