I'm convinced now that more than truth is at stake  
Where people create language that pretends to communicate  
Euphamisms are misundertood as mistakes  
But it's a by-product of the ghetto music we make  
From an extroverted point of view, I think it's too late  
Hip-Hop has never been the same since '88
					-Canibus "Poet Laureate II"

Hip Hop History


Grandmaster Flash and the Furious Five

Hip-Hop has changed significantly since it began as party anthems in clubs and playful competition on the New York streets in the late 1970s. Now it is a multi-billion dollar industry that influences all aspects of pop culture, plus some of politics. The following resources provide sufficient accounts of the genre's past:


The definitive source of all things hip-hop. A comprehensive A-to-Z guide covering history up to the publication date. Artist entries include reviews of each album and guest artist cameos. Also includes full-length essays, essential songs & albums (arranged by genre and geography), and similar (following the hip-hop artist entries) in-depth attention to non-rap artists who influenced the genre.

Another excellent overview. Special attention paid to artists that Vibe deems to be the most important, and they are rewarded with spotlight essays. Organization is sometimes chronological and sometimes separated topically (i.e. Gangsta Rap), but each chapter ends with relevant discography. Best to use the excellent rear index.

Not as thorough as the All Music Guide, but covers the basics. Includes an appendix of suggested albums from the hip-hop “canon.” Some illustrations for more well-known artists. Entries appear in alphabetical order by artist name.

A history of rap in the South and profiles of the artists who legitimized the sub-genre. An excellent guide to Southern rap. The author does a wonderful job of speaking with the key players. Includes esoteric awards named by the author and recommended singles and albums lists.

Insightful interviews with key hip-hop artists from the 1980s. Each artist or group dissects their chosen album track-by-track in addition to giving background information on their rise and history in the industry. Includes Public Enemy, Eric B & Rakim, Slick Rick, De La Soul, and RUN-DMC among others. Another excellent, and this time straight from the sources, look at hip-hop in the 80s.

Culled primarily from The Source, Vibe, and The Village Voice. Includes articles on the Fugees returning to Haiti, concert afterparties, and a one-on-one with Public Enemy’s Chuck D. Article titles do not give much away, but the index is very helpful.