To the Break of Dawn: A Freestyle on the Hip Hop Aesthetic / Edition 1 available in Hardcover
- Pub. Date:
- New York University Press
2007 Arts Club of Washington’s National Award for Arts Writing - Finalist
SEE ALSO: Pimps Up, Ho’s Down: Hip Hop’s Hold on Young Black Women by T. Denean Sharpley-Whiting.
With roots that stretch from West Africa through the black pulpit, hip-hop emerged in the streets of the South Bronx in the 1970s and has spread to the farthest corners of the earth. To the Break of Dawn uniquely examines this freestyle verbal artistry on its own terms. A kid from Queens who spent his youth at the epicenter of this new art form, music critic William Jelani Cobb takes readers inside the beats, the lyrics, and the flow of hip-hop, separating mere corporate rappers from the creative MCs that forged the art in the crucible of the street jam.
The four pillars of hip hop—break dancing, graffiti art, deejaying, and rapping—find their origins in traditions as diverse as the Afro-Brazilian martial art Capoeira and Caribbean immigrants’ turnstile artistry. Tracing hip-hop’s relationship to ancestral forms of expression, Cobb explores the cultural and literary elements that are at its core. From KRS-One and Notorious B.I.G. to Tupac Shakur and Lauryn Hill, he profiles MCs who were pivotal to the rise of the genre, verbal artists whose lineage runs back to the black preacher and the bluesman.
Unlike books that focus on hip-hop as a social movement or a commercial phenomenon, To the Break of Dawn tracks the music's aesthetic, stylistic, and thematic evolution from its inception to today's distinctly regional sub-divisions and styles. Written with an insider's ear, the book illuminates hip-hop's innovations in a freestyle form that speaks to both aficionados and newcomers to the art.
|Publisher:||New York University Press|
|Product dimensions:||6.00(w) x 9.00(h) x 9.00(d)|
About the Author
William Jelani Cobb is Assistant Professor of History at Spelman College and editor of The Essential Harold Cruse: A Reader. He is a contributing writer at Essence magazine, and his music criticism and essays have also appeared in the Washington Post , Emerge , and the Progressive. His website can be found at www.jelanicobb.com. He resides in Atlanta, Georgia.
Table of Contents
Microphone Check: An Intro
Word of Mouth
Asphalt Chronicles: Hip Hop and the Storytelling Tradition
Seven MCs Conclusion Shout Outs
About the Author
What People are Saying About This
“To the Break of Dawn marks a crucial turning point in hip-hop writing. . . . By opening the discourse on hip-hop's aesthetic, Cobb spearheads a new sub-genre, and perhaps a return or revolution in hip-hop aesthetics.”
-Black Issues Book Review
“[P]eels back the many digitized layers of hip-hop to explore the evolution of the MC, from African folkloric traditions to the global (and often hypercommercial) phenomenon it is today.”
“To the Break of Dawn is smart, funny, conversational — a book to touch off serious study of the modern MC”
-The Austin Chronicle
“Upon finishing To The Break of Dawn any objective fan will acknowledge that Cobb has done a commendable job in chronicling rap's evolution and explaining its multiple influences and impact.”
"“To the Break of Dawn dissects the evolution of hip hop lyricism from its most primitive beginnings to its current manifestation as a global phenomenon. Author Jelani Cobb examines issues of race, geography, genre and bravado in this overview of hip hop’s lyrical art. Covering words from B.I.G., Cube, Obie Trice and Pimp C, Cobb offers an intellectual and up-to-date report on hip hop's most powerful element.”
-The Source Magazine