MUSIC Nelson George Hip Hop America

ISBN 13: 9780140280227

Hip Hop America

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9780140280227: Hip Hop America

This is an account of the history of hip hop music, from its roots in the late 1970s to its emergence as the cultural force it is today, influencing everything from films to advertising, fashion to sports. Nelson examines why it has held a steady grip on American popular culture for over 20 years.

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Review:

Although it's been part of the cultural soundscape for over 25 years, hip-hop has been the focus of very few books. And when those books do pop up, they tend to be either overtly scholarly, as if the writer in question has just landed on some alien planet, or a bit too much like a fanzine. If there's anyone qualified to write a solid, informative, and entertaining tome on the culture, politics, and business of hip-hop, it's Nelson George. A veteran journalist, George is one of the smartest and most observant chroniclers of African American pop culture. Much as he broke down and illuminated R&B with his acclaimed book The Death of Rhythm and Blues, George now tackles hip-hop with the clarity of a reporter and the enthusiasm of a fan--which is fitting, because George is both. A Brooklyn native, he began writing about rap back in the late 1970s, when the beats and the lifestyle were not only foreign to most white folks, they were still underground in the black communities. Hip Hop America is filled with George's memories of the scene's nascent years, and it tells the story of rap both as an art form and a cultural and economic force--from the old Bronx nightclub the Fever to the age of Puffy. Highlighting both the major players and some of the forces behind the scenes, George gives rap a historical perspective without coming off as too intellectual. All of which makes Hip Hop America a worthwhile addition to any fan's collection. --Amy Linden

About the Author:

Nelson George has written for the New York Times Magazine, Playboy, Billboard, Esquire, and Essence, and has received two ASCAP-Deems Taylor awards. He lives in Brooklyn, New York.

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