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Book of Rhymes: The Poetics of Hip Hop

Book of Rhymes: The Poetics of Hip Hop

by Adam Bradley


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The definitive account of rap and hip hop as forms of American poetry

"Bradley is a visionary critic, skillful and wise.... Book of Rhymes is a tour de force, brilliantly renovating hip hop criticism as [lit] rescues the forgotten vanguard of American poetry." —Henry Louis Gates, Jr.

Rap may be the most revolutionary development in poetry over the past forty years, yet its originality is hidden in plain sight. Often overshadowed by the beat, bluster, and hype surrounding the music, lyrics are the heart of hip hop. Book of Rhymes explores America's least-understood poets by unpacking their complex craft and according them the respect they deserve as lyricists. Examining the language and techniques of hip hop's most memorable artists, literary scholar Adam Bradley argues that a new world of rhythm and rhyme awaits us if we put aside preconceptions and encounter rap with new ears and new eyes.

Updated to reflect nearly a decade of the genre's evolution, Book of Rhymes remains the definitive work on the poetry of hip hop.

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Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780465094400
Publisher: Basic Books
Publication date: 06/27/2017
Edition description: Revised
Pages: 288
Sales rank: 266,175
Product dimensions: 6.20(w) x 9.20(h) x 1.90(d)

About the Author

Adam Bradley is a professor of English at the University of Colorado Boulder where he directs the Laboratory for Race and Popular Culture. The author or editor of six books, Bradley has contributed to the New York Times, Wall Street Journal, and Washington Post, among others. He lives in Boulder, Colorado

Table of Contents

Prologue xi

Rap Poetry 101 xiii

Rap Poetry 201 xxv

Part 1

1 Rhythm 3

2 Rhyme 41

3 Wordplay 73

Part 2

4 Style 103

5 Storytelling 133

6 Signifying 149

Epilogue 173

Appendix 181

Acknowledgments 211

Credits 215

Notes 217

Index 227

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