"One day it'll all make sense": hip-hop and rap resources for music librarians.
This bibliographical essay provides descriptions of wide array of resources relating to hip-hop culture and rap music, and its final section is devoted to the collecting of hip-hop and rap materials by libraries. While the essay is primarily intended to serve as a guide for music librarians who provide reference service and library instruction, and to those with collection development responsibilities, it may also prove useful to educators, students, and those beginning to conduct research on hip-hop or rap. The essay is not intended as a comprehensive bibliography on hip-hop culture and rap music, but rather, it provides information about materials that may be used as reference sources and as starting points for research in these subject areas. Since music is the primary focus of this essay, many worthwhile resources devoted specifically to non-music elements of hip-hop, such as break dancing and graffiti, are not covered here. Unless otherwise noted, the citations within the essay refer to the most recent editions of publications, and items that are out of print at the time of this writing are so indicated. For the reader's convenience, all resources described are listed, with full bibliographic citations, in an appendix following the essay, with an asterisk (*) denoting items that are particularly recommended. (1)
"HIP-HOP" AND "RAP": DEFINITIONS AND OVERVIEWS
Many people do not have a clear understanding of the meanings of "hip-hop" and "rap," and there is some disagreement about whether the terms are interchangeable. This is true even among hip-hop's most knowledgeable writers, performers, and listeners. The most commonly held view, however, is that hip-hop is a cultural movement that emerged in the South Bronx in New York City during the 1970s, and MCing (or rapping; MC = master of ceremonies, also mic controller) is one of its four primary elements. Hip-hop's other three essential elements are generally considered to be graffiti art (or aerosol art), breaking (or break dancing, b-boying), and DJing (or turntablism; DJ = disc jockey), though some maintain that beat-boxing, fashion, and language are also included among hip-hop's elements. Rap music has become by far the most celebrated expression of hip-hop culture, largely as a result of its being the easiest to market to a mass audience.
While the best comprehensive overviews of hip-hop and rap are generally provided by book-length studies (see the titles described below in the sections titled "Literature on Hip-Hop and Rap: A Brief Overview" and "Historical Information"), several sources offer more succinct overviews and definitions. An excellent overview of hip-hop can be found in the introduction to Yvonne Bynoe's Encyclopedia of Rap and Hip-Hop Culture. Bynoe begins by discussing hip-hop's primary elements and some of their antecedents, including griots (musician-entertainers) in Africa, toasting and black radio DJs in the United States, and capoeira (a Brazilian dance of African origin that incorporates martial arts movements). The essay then covers hip-hop's history, including discussions of its origins in the Bronx, the relationship between rap music and the media, hip-hop and fashion, and the East Coast/West Coast rap feud during the 1990s. A more concise definition of hip-hop can be found in David Toop's entry "Hip Hop" in The New Grove Dictionary of Music and Musicians and in Grove Music Online. The entry provides a good but brief discussion of the early development of hip-hop culture.
Perhaps the best place to start for someone seeking a very thorough overview of rap music is Dawn M. Norfleet's essay titled "Hip-Hop and Rap" in African American Music; An Introduction. The essay begins with a discussion of the various cultural roots of hip-hop and rap, including verbal traditions in the United States and the Caribbean, Jamaican DJs and sound systems, and precursors of rapping on recordings by 1970s soul singers. This is followed by a detailed historical account of rap music, including informative discussions of DJ techniques such as scratching, mixing, and sampling. The essay covers many of the most important figures in rap music and deals with several significant issues associated with the genre, including misogyny, women in rap, the differences between Old School and New School rap, and the underground hip-hop scene. Unlike most sources on the subject, Norfleet's essay also includes musical analysis with transcriptions, illustrating rhyme schemes and rhythmic elements in the music.
Several other noteworthy essays and encyclopedia entries provide overviews of rap music. One such essay is "The Rap Attack: An Introduction," written by leading hip-hop scholar William Eric Perkins in the anthology for which he served as editor, Droppin' Science: Critical Essays on Rap Music and Hip Hop Culture. Perkins's essay provides an excellent examination of rap music's early history and many of the musical origins of the rap tradition. Tricia Rose's essay "Rap Music," in The Hip Hop Reader, provides another superb scholarly account of rap music's early years while taking into account its connections to culture, identity, gender, and technology. Rose's essay is based on an excerpt from her seminal book Black Noise: Rap Music and Black Culture in Contemporary America (described in more detail in the section below titled "Literature on Hip-Hop and Rap: A Brief Overview"). David Toop's entry "Rap," in The New Grove Dictionary of Music and Musicians and in Grove Music Online, provides a useful overview of rap music, covering the genre's history from its beginnings to the present day and providing a short bibliography. Rob Bowman's succinct and well written entry "Rap" in The Harvard Dictionary of Music briefly discusses rap music's precursors in African and African American cultures, the use of turntables and samplers, copyright issues, political messages, censorship, and rap's broadening appeal among mainstream music listeners. Finally, the concise entry "Rap" in Bynoe's Encyclopedia of Rap and Hip-Hop Culture addresses rap's place within hip-hop culture, its musical antecedents, prior uses of the term "rap" within African American culture, and the music's origins and early history.
There are many bibliographies on hip-hop and rap that can serve as excellent starting points for research, and several of them can also be used by librarians to aid in developing collections of essential hip-hop and rap resources. Among the best is Judy McCoy's book Rap Music in the 1980s: A Reference Guide, an extensive annotated bibliography of articles and reviews relating to rap music during the 1980s. The majority of the sources listed in Rap Music in the 1980s are from mainstream periodicals such as Billboard, Melody Maker, Rolling Stone, and The Village Voice. The book includes a valuable selected and annotated discography (described in more detail in the section below titled "Discographies and Guides to Sound Recordings") and an array of helpful indexes. Emmett Price's resource guide Hip Hop Culture includes sections titled "Selected Print Resources" and "Selected Nonprint Resources," which are thorough, well organized, and up-to-date bibliographies that provide intelligent annotations. The book (described further in the section below titled "Additional Reference Sources") contains several other sections that provide valuable information as well.
A useful appendix titled "Words, Images, and Sounds: A Selected Resource Guide" can be found at the end of Jeff Chang's essential history Can't Stop, Won't Stop: A History of the Hip-Hop Generation. Chronologically arranged to correspond to the chapters of the book (described in further detail in the following section), the list provides many citations for recommended printed works, video materials, and sound recordings.
Robert M. Cleary's classified "Rap Music and Its Political Connections: An Annotated Bibliography" lists numerous works on rap music, including reference sources, historical discussions, cultural critiques, and writings on feminist rap performers. It concludes with a substantial section devoted to controversial rappers. Finally, John Ranck's online bibliography of hip-hop resources titled "Classified Hip-Hop, or I Wanna Blow Up Like Marilyn Monroe's Skirt" is an extensive list of citations for books, dissertations, articles, periodicals, sound recordings, and video materials.(2)
LITERATURE ON HIP-HOP AND RAP: A BRIEF OVERVIEW
The first literature on hip-hop culture and rap music began to appear in the late 1970s as reporters (many of whom were active participants within the culture) began writing about hip-hop and rap in magazine and newspaper articles. Within a few years, some of the first serious writing on the subjects began with the publication of books such as David Toop's Rap Attack: African Jive to New York Hip Hop, and Steven Hager's Hip Hop: The Illustrated History of Break Dancing, Rap Music, and Graffiti. Toop's book, which documented the origins of hip-hop and illustrated rap music's place within the landscape of African American music and culture, was one of the earliest comprehensive treatments of the subject. It is now in its third edition with the updated title Rap Attack 3: African Rap to Global Hip Hop. Hager's book (long out of print at the time of this writing) chronicled hip-hop's emergence and development in a straight-forward writing style, and included numerous photographs.
A decade later, substantial academic work on hip-hop and rap began when studies such as Tricia Rose's book Black Noise: Rap Music and Black Culture in Contemporary America were published. Rose's book, which is often regarded as the most important academic study on hip-hop culture, is an influential and frequently cited scholarly examination of the subject. Based on interviews, fieldwork, and the author's own experiences, it explores many of the social, cultural, and political implications of hip-hop. While the book was not intended to be a comprehensive history of the genre, it is essential reading on the subject and should be owned by any library that collects materials relating to American popular music. General academic studies such as Houston A. Baker's Black Studies, Rap, and the Academy, and Russell A. Potter's Spectacular Vernaculars: Hip-Hop and the Politics of Postmodernism, are also among the publications that further aided in establishing hip-hop and rap as subjects worthy of scholarly attention.(3) In the years since these sources came out, a great deal of additional academic writing on hip-hop culture and rap music has been published.
Still, while scholarly work in this area has certainly come into its own over the years, it is also important to recognize that popular sources such as magazines, newspapers, and Web sites have published the majority of literature on hip-hop and rap, and have provided some of the finest and most intelligent writing on the subjects. The earliest journalistic writings on hip-hop can now serve as valuable resources that offer perspective on how the culture was viewed in its earliest years. Furthermore, popular literature on hip-hop and rap has often captured the essence and spirit of the culture and music. As hip-hop scholar Michael Eric Dyson has pointed out, the greatest literature on hip-hop can possess the same qualities of the best hip-hop itself: "seductive rhythms, throbbing beats, intelligent lyrics, soulful samples, and a sense of joy that is never exhausted in one sitting," (4) In fact, one of Dyson's own critically acclaimed books, Holler If You Hear Me, is among the publications that helped to make publishers aware that intelligent examinations of rap music can sell to a mass audience. (5)
Numerous important historical works on hip-hop and rap have been published, and several of these are among the essential books for libraries to own and to recommend to library users. Drawn from original interviews with many of hip-hop's most important figures, Jeff Chang's book Can't Stop, Won't Stop: A History of the Hip-Hop Generation is a comprehensive, intelligent, and thoroughly researched cultural and social history of hip-hop that astutely frames the culture within its political and socioeconomic context. In addition to its useful resource guide (described above in the section titled "Bibliographies"), the book also provides Chang's extensive and useful list of notes.
A smartly written and entertaining history that offers an insider's look into hip-hop culture is Hip Hop America, by Nelson George, a journalist who has been involved in hip-hop from the time of its early development. In addition to examining rap music, George explores hip-hop topics including entrepreneurship, language, fashion, and violence. A book that chronicles the earliest ten years of hip-hop culture is Yes, Yes Y'all: The Experience Music Project Oral History of Hip Hop's First Decade, edited by Jim Fricke and Charlie Ahearn. Based on over fifty interviews with many of hip-hop's pioneers, Yes, Yes Y'all is lavishly illustrated with hundreds of vintage color photographs, posters, and flyers.
Though technically not a comprehensive historical account of hip-hop culture, The VIBE History of Hip Hop, edited by Alan Light, is an attractive coffee-table book that contains an excellent collection of photographs as well as informative essays dealing with various rap performers and other hip-hop topics. Finally, Alex Ogg's and David Upshal's The Hip Hop Years: A History of Rap is a history that traces the evolution of rap music through firsthand accounts of over one hundred DJs, MCs, producers, and critics.
Biographical information on individuals and groups in hip-hop and rap can be found in numerous publications. These include reference sources (some devoted specifically to hip-hop and rap, and others more general in scope); book-length biographies and autobiographies on individuals and groups; and articles in magazines, journals, and news sources (which often provide biographical information not found in other sources). For more information on locating biographical information within periodicals, see the section below titled "Articles and Databases."
At the time of this writing, there are two encyclopedias devoted completely to hip-hop culture and rap music, and both provide quality biographical information on hip-hop and rap performers. The first of these is Yvonne Bynoe's Encyclopedia of Rap and Hip-Hop Culture, which provides more than five hundred intelligently written entries. While the majority of these are biographical, the encyclopedia also includes entries on styles, record labels, and other topics. Additionally, most of the book's biographical entries include comprehensive album discographies. Also worth noting in this encyclopedia is the introduction (described above in the section titled " 'Hip-Hop' and 'Rap': Definitions and Overviews") which provides an overview of hip-hop culture, the "Selected Rap Discography," and the "Selected Bibliography." The second encyclopedia entirely devoted to hip-hop and rap is Icons of Hip Hop: An Encyclopedia of the Movement, Music, and Culture, edited by Mickey Hess. This two-volume reference source features twenty-four detailed essays, each by a different author, on some of the most significant artists in the history of hip-hop. The encyclopedia also includes numerous sidebars on a variety of topics ranging from hip-hop in Hollywood films to homophobia in rap music, a timeline of hip-hop history, two original interviews with hip-hop DJs, and an afterword titled "The Twenty-Four Most Overlooked MCs in Hip Hop."
Another two important reference sources that provide biographical information are the All Music Guide to Hip Hop, edited by Vladamir Bogdanov, and Peter Shapiro's The Rough Guide to Hip-Hop. Although the books are similarly arranged, the biographical sketches in The Rough Guide to Hip-Hop are a bit more thorough, while the All Music Guide to Hip Hop provides more extensive discographies for each performer. Both books also serve as guides to purchasing recordings, and are described from that perspective below in the section titled "Discographies and Guides to Sound Recordings." Several sections within the All Music Guide to Hip Hop may be useful to librarians; these include a brief section titled "Style Descriptions" that succinctly defines a number of substyles of rap music, essays on various topics, a set of "music maps," a section devoted to important record labels, and a biographical section on non-rap performers who have influenced rap music. It is worth pointing out that the free on line version of the All music Guide book series is more up-to-date and comprehensive than any of the print guides described in this section.
During the early to mid 1990s, three of the earliest reference sources to include biographical information on hip-hop and rap performers were published. The first of these was Bring the Noise: A Guide to Rap Music and Hip-Hop Culture, by Havelock Nelson and Michael A. Gonzales. Through research and personal stories by the authors, the book provides extended biographical sketches of selected rap artists in a lively hip-hop-influenced writing style. A second early reference book is Judy McCoy's Rap Music in the 1980s: A Reference Guide (described above in the section titled "Bibliographies"). The book is worth mentioning again in this section because it can be used to locate a wealth of biographical information within periodical literature on 1980s rap musicians. Another early reference book that provides biographical information on rap performers, producers, and promoters is Steven Stancell's Rap Whoz Who: The World of Rap Music. The book's title, its design, and the brevity of many of its entries indicate that it was intended for a young audience.
Another biographical reference source is Hip-Hop Divas, which is a collection of more than thirty profiles of women who have played an integral role in rap music, and its essays are by some of the best writers on hip-hop. A final reference source worth mentioning is Frank Hoffman's Rhythm and Blues, Rap, and Hip-Hop, which includes entries on rap record labels as well as biographies. Much of the content of this encyclopedia is also available as part of African American History Online (described below in the section titled "Articles and Databases").
In addition to the hip-hop and rap resources described in this section, there are also a handful of general resources that can aid in locating biographical information on individuals in hip-hop and rap. Among the best of these is the quarterly Contemporary Musicians, which provides biographical information on performers in many styles of popular music. Included in its entries are biographical sketches, selected discographies, and useful bibliographies listing both print and online resources. Other helpful general resources include the Biography and Genealogy Master Index (Gale Research), Contemporary Black Biography (Gale Research), and The Encyclopedia of Popular Music, currently in its 4th edition. (6)
ADDITIONAL REFERENCE SOURCES
A few additional general reference sources devoted to hip-hop culture and rap music are particularly worth pointing out. First, one of the finest all-around hip-hop reference sources available is Emmett Price's resource guide Hip Hop Culture, which can be an excellent place to start for those beginning to conduct research. The book provides a brief history of hip-hop culture and its influence, discussions, of each of hip-hop's elements, essays on several topics, an annotated timeline, and selected biographical sketches. Especially noteworthy are the book's section titled "Figures, Tables, and Documents," which provides useful data such as statistics on rap music sales and listenership, and "Selected Organizations, Associations, and Programs." Additionally, the book's lists of print and non-print resources (described above in the section titled "Bibliographies") are particularly valuable.
A second general hip-hop reference source with which librarians should be familiar is Brian Coleman's Check the Technique: Liner Notes for Hip-Hop Junkies, which contains thirty-six chapters, each devoted to a significant hip-hop album released between the mid-1980s and mid-1990s. Each chapter begins with a historical essay on an album, followed by track-by-track comments by the original artists and producers involved in its creation. This is an entertaining and often enlightening reference book that provides a great amount of information not found in other sources. (7)
A final noteworthy hip-hop reference book is Ego Trip's Book of Rap Lists. Compiled with a sense of humor and a passion for the music, it consists of an extraordinary number of lists covering nearly every conceivable facet of rap music. Examples range from "20 Classic James Brown Productions & The Rap Songs That Made Them Famous Again" to "KRS-One's Greatest Quotes." In addition to containing a remarkable amount of information, the book also makes for enjoyable reading.
ARTICLES AND DATABASES
As mentioned earlier, most of the literature written on hip-hop culture and rap music has been published in magazines, journals, and news sources. These publications often serve as the best sources for extensive biographical information on rap performers and for reviews of recordings and books on the subjects. Because of this, an understanding of how this information can be accessed using article databases is especially essential for librarians. While some of the most common periodicals that cover hip-hop and rap topics are indexed by databases, many others are not. Moreover, the extent to which databases index items within these publications can vary as well. Some databases may index only the feature articles from issues of a given periodical, while others might index the publication's smaller articles, reviews, obituaries, and song transcriptions.
Many periodicals have been exclusively or primarily devoted to hip-hop and rap. Among these are Ego Trip, Hip-Hop Connection, Rap Pages, Rap Sheet, Rock and Rap Confidential, Scratch, The Source, Straight No Chaser, VIBE, Wax Poetics, and XXL. The most popular of these include The Source and VIBE, while Straight No Chaser and Wax Poetics are examples of lesser known publications that nevertheless contain some of the most intelligent journalistic writing on hip-hop and rap. Other music publications that consistently include articles on hip-hop and rap range from popular music magazines (such as Billboard, Blues & Soul, Melody Maker, Rolling Stone, and Spin) to scholarly music journals (including American Music, Ethnomusicology, the Journal of Popular Music Studies, Popular Music, and Popular Music and Society). Hip-hop and rap are also the subjects of articles in African American publications, including scholarly journals such as African American Review. Callaloo, the Journal of Black Studies, and Transition; and popular magazines such as Black Enterprise, Ebony, and Jet. General news publications, including the Los Angeles Times, the New York Times, Newsweek, Time, and 'The Village Voice, have also printed numerous pieces on hip-hop and rap.
Among subscription-based music-article databases, music librarians are familiar with the International Index to Music Periodicals (IIMP), Music Index Online, and RILM Abstracts of Music Literature. In terms of hip-hop and rap coverage, IIMP indexes articles and record reviews in popular music and general magazines, including Billboard, Blues & Soul, Rolling Stone, The Source, Spin, VIBE, and The Village Voice. By contrast, Music Index Online maintains more of a balance between scholarly articles (in publications such as Popular Music, Popular Music and Society, and the Journal of Popular Music Studies) and popular journalism (in magazines including Billboard, Melody Maker, Rock & Rap Confidential, Rolling Stone, Spin, VIBE, and The Village Voice). Both databases provide comprehensive indexing within periodical issues and are often helpful in locating biographical information and reviews of recordings. Among the music databases, RILM is the most effective for locating scholarly information on hip-hop and rap, particularly because it indexes books, essays within anthologies, and dissertations, as well as articles within periodicals. Of the periodicals that RILM indexes, the titles containing numerous articles relating to hip-hop and rap include Popular Music and Popular Music and Society, while other scholarly publications such as Black Music Research Journal and the Journal of Popular Culture are shown in RILM to contain a handful of articles on these subjects. While coverage of popular sources in RILM is weak overall, it nevertheless indexes a number of articles on hip-hop and rap in some non-scholarly publications, including Billboard, the New York Times, and Spin.
At the time of this writing, two other music databases, both of which are Web-based and available at no cost, are useful in locating information on hip-hop and rap that is not indexed elsewhere. One of these is the Hip Hop Research Portal, which is maintained by Tiffeni Fontno, a librarian at Case Western Reserve University. The database contains several hundred bibliographic records for books, dissertations, periodicals, video materials, and other items relating to hip-hop culture, and it includes materials not found in other databases. It currently provides only keyword searching. Another valuable and free online music database is the RoJaRo-Index, which is maintained by Kjetil Maria Aase in Norway. The RoJaRo-Index (an abbreviation for Rock-Jazz-Roots) indexes articles and reviews in over five hundred popular music magazines. While its interface currently allows only name searching, and its search results are quite minimal, the database, indexes a great amount of information relating to hip-hop and rap that is not indexed by other databases, such as articles and reviews published in Ego Trip, Hip-Hop Connection, Rap Pages, Straight No Chaser, Wax Poetics, and XXL.
Subscription-based databases with a focus on research in African American studies can also provide considerable coverage of hip-hop and rap. Black Studies Center is an impressive database consisting of Black Literature Index, the Chicago Defender and Daily Defender, International Index to Black Periodicals, The Marshall Index, and Schomburg Studies on the Black Experience. In terms of hip-hop and rap, the main strength of Black Studies Center is its coverage of scholarly journal articles. Another database with a focus on African American studies is African American History Online, which includes the content of several reference sources published by Facts on File, including the book Rhythm and Blues, Rap, and Hip-Hop (described above in the section tided "Biographical Information"). The database contains brief biographical entries and images of hip-hop performers.
Among more general article databases, Academic Search Premier, Expanded Academic ASAP, LexisNexis Academic Universe, and Periodicals Abstracts provide effective coverage of hip-hop and rap. These four databases index articles from a wide range of scholarly journals, popular magazines, and news sources, and they can be particularly useful for locating reviews of books and recordings. Humanities International Complete, JSTOR, and the Modern Language Association's MLA International Bibliography are three multidisciplinary databases that provide excellent coverage of academic work on hip-hop and rap, including theoretical and critical writing and scholarship on cultural issues such as race and gender. MLA International Bibliography is especially valuable for its indexing of essays in anthologies in addition to periodical literature. Hip-hop and rap topics are also well covered in America: History & Life, a multidisciplinary database that contains references to an array of scholarly and critical works, including dissertations, articles, and book reviews.
Databases that cover news sources can be exceptionally useful for their coverage of hip-hop and rap and for indexing reviews of related books and recordings. Ethnic News Watch is one such database. It provides coverage of over one hundred American ethnic and minority publications, including journals, magazines, and newspapers. In particular, databases that cover the content of the New York Times (most notably, ProQuest's New York Times Historical Archive) are worth pointing out for their coverage of some of the earliest reporting on hip-hop culture in the city of its birth.
Several databases can be particularly valuable to those seeking information on specific topics and issues relating to hip-hop and rap. ABI/INFORM is useful for locating information on business and management relating to hip-hop and rap, including, for example, the recording industry, entrepreneurship in hip-hop, and hip-hop in advertising and films. Topics such as social, political, racial, and gender issues are well covered in the Alternative Press Index, which lists citations for articles on hip-hop and rap in alternative, radical, and leftist publications. For information relating to hip-hop and society, two article databases that can be especially effective are Social Sciences Full Text and Sociology Index with Full Text. Both databases, which provide coverage of academic and nonacademic publications alike, can aid in locating writings on topics such as hip-hop's effects on society, misogyny in rap music, and violence in rap music.
Lastly, it is also worth mentioning that some of the finest writing on hip-hop and rap has been printed in anthologies of articles and essays, which contain works ranging from scholarly and critical writings to journalism in popular magazines. Among the best of these anthologies are And It Don't Stop?: The Best American Hip-Hop Journalism of the Last 25 Years, edited by Raquel Cepeda; Droppin' Science: Critical Essays on Rap Music and Hip Hop Culture, edited by William Eric Perkins; The Hip Hop Reader, edited by Tim Strode and Tim Wood; Rap on Rap: Straight Up Talk on Hip Hop Culture, edited by Adam Sexton; That's the Joint!: The Hip-Hop Studies Reader, edited by Murray Forman and Mark Anthony Neal; and Total Chaos: The Art and Aesthetics of Hip-Hop, edited by Jeff Chang. Since articles and essays in anthologies are not often indexed in article databases, it may be wise for librarians to peruse these sources in order to become familiar with their contents. Browsing through these essays can also occasionally be useful to students who are seeking starting points for research or ways to narrow topics for papers and other class assignments.
DISCOGRAPHIES AND GUIDES TO SOUND RECORDINGS
The most comprehensive discography of rap music now available is Freddy Fresh Presents the Rap Records. Intended primarily for record collectors and DJs, the book is a remarkably exhaustive discography of mostly pre-1990 rap 12" singles. It also includes a helpful section listing stores and Web sites where one can purchase rare records.
A number of reference sources provide lists of "essential" or "recommended" hip-hop recordings for music librarians with collection development responsibilities who may need to fill gaps in their collections. Two such sources are the All Music Guide to Hip Hop and The Rough Guide to Hip-Hop (both described above in the section titled "Biographical Information"). Both books are excellent sources of informative album reviews and lists of recommended recordings. The end of the All Music Guide to Hip Hop includes extensive and well organized sections, including "Essential Albums" and "Essential Songs." Another useful collection-development reference source is Classic Material: The Hip-Hop Album Guide, edited by Oliver Wang. This book contains intelligently written essays on more than sixty classic rap albums, and it can serve as an enlightening listening guide to the recordings discussed. Another valuable guide to recordings is the "Selected Discography" section in Judy McCoy's Rap Music in the 1980s: A Reference Guide (described above in the section titled "Bibliographies"). The discography is a thoughtfully selected and thoroughly annotated list of essential rap recordings released during the 1980s.
Those needing to know when certain albums charted and how they ranked on the charts can find this information in Joel Whitburn's Top R&B Albums, 1965-1998, which is compiled from Billboard's R&B albums charts. The back of the book includes a number of lists, such as "The Top Artists," "The Top Albums," and "#1 Albums." A useful Web site that can complement this book is Billboard.com, which provides selected chart information from Billboard magazine, including current lists such as "Top R&B/Hip-Hop Albums" and "Top Rap Albums." The site also includes a "Historical" section listing "Top R&B/Hip-Hop Albums" for each year.
Among other notable Web sites is RapReviews.com, which provides an extensive selection of decent reviews written by a group of knowledgeable reviewers. The site is a good resource for reviews of new releases and classic albums alike (the latter being showcased in the site's "Back to the Lab" section). Other notable features of RapReviews.com include original interviews and a handy section called "The Nines," which highlights the site's highest-rated albums. Also among the best Web-based guides is the All Music Guide's online counterpart, Allmusic.com, which is a comprehensive and continually updated online guide to recordings.(8)
There are a handful of excellent CD compilations that attempt to provide overviews of the entire genre of rap music. One of these is Hip Hop Essentials, which is a set of twelve CDs (available as a box set or as individual volumes) that showcase some of the most important rap music recorded between 1979 and 1991. Unlike most box sets, Hip Hop Essentials does not present the recordings in chronological order, arguably resulting in a more enjoyable listening experience than would a strict historical survey of the genre. It should be pointed out, however, that the explicit lyrics that were present in many of the original recordings have been censored on this release. Another box set that attempts to cover the entire rap genre is The Hip Hop Box, a four-CD set that summarizes the first twenty years of rap recordings in chronological order, and includes brief annotations devoted to each track. A third excellent set of CDs that provides an enjoyable overview of rap music in the 1980s and some of the earlier music that influenced it is Kurtis Blow Presents The History of Rap. Thoughtfully compiled by early hip-hop legend Kurtis Blow, these three CDs are unfortunately out of print at the time of this writing.
Compilations devoted to specific record labels can also provide decent surveys of important rap recordings. Some compilations that are particularly worth mentioning are The Sugar Hill Records Story; Def Jam Music Group, Inc.: 10th Year Anniversary; The Best of Enjoy! Records; and 15 Years on Death Row. (9)
LYRICS AND INFORMATION ABOUT SONGS
There are many Web sites that provide song lyrics, and some sites are devoted entirely to rap lyrics. A search for a song title in a Web search engine will often result in links to dozens of sites that provide the song's lyrics, albeit with varying accuracy. Perhaps the most comprehensive database of rap lyrics on the Web is The Original Hip-Hop Lyrics Archive, which provides largely accurate content. Among printed collections of rap lyrics are Rap: Portraits and Lyrics of a Generation of Black Rockers, edited by Janette Beckman; Rap: The Lyrics, edited by Lawrence A. Stanley; Rap Lyrics: From the Sugarhill Gang to Eminem, edited by Alex Ogg; and Hip-Hop & Rap: Complete Lyrics for 175 Songs. Additionally, liner notes to recordings are often sources of rap lyrics, and transcriptions of rap songs can be found in magazines such as The Source, VIBE, and XXL. These transcriptions can sometimes be located by searching databases such as IIMP and RoJaRo-Index (both described in the section above titled "Articles and Databases").
Information about individual rap songs can be found in several sources. One of these is Brian Coleman's Check the Technique: Liner Notes for Hip-Hop Junkies (described above in the section titled "Additional Reference Sources"). Another is Neil Kulkarni's Hip Hop: Bring the Noise: The Stories behind the Biggest Songs, which highlights over seventy seminal rap songs through high-spirited essays, providing historical context and discussing the songs' importance to the genre. Similar information can be found in Emmett Price's resource guide Hip Hop Culture (described above in the section titled "Additional Reference Sources"), which includes an appendix titled "Fifty Influential Hip Hop Records (Singles)." This appendix provides brief annotations describing each song's significance.
Information on specific rap songs is also found in Allmusic.com (described above in the sections titled "Biographical Information" and "Discographies and Guides to Sound Recordings"), which includes brief reviews of selected songs. Its song reviews (indicated by capital "R"s to the left of selected song titles within its track listings for albums) often provide historical context, and occasionally include brief analyses of lyrics and music. Information about when a given rap song charted and how it ranked on the charts is found in Joel Whitburn Presents Top R&B/Hip-Hop Singles, 1942-2004, which is compiled from Billboard's R&B singles charts. (10)
HIP-HOP TERMINOLOGY AND SLANG
While short glossaries of hip-hop terminology and slang are included in a number of the printed sources mentioned earlier (including Ogg's The Hip Hop Years, Price's Hip Hop Culture, and Shapiro's The Rough Guide to Hip-Hop), there are several book-length dictionaries that provide more extensive collections of words and phrases used in hip-hop culture. Two of the earliest of these books (both now out of print) are Fab 5 Freddy's Fresh Fly Flavor; and A 2 Z: The Book of Rap & Hip-Hop Slang, by Lois Stavsky, I.D. Mozeson, and Dani Reyes Mozeson, which includes a short thesaurus. A comprehensive dictionary of hip-hop slang that is currently in print is Alonzo Westbrook's Hip Hoptionary: The Dictionary of Hip-Hop Terminology. In addition to its main section of definitions, Hip Hoptionary also provides a helpful section titled "English to Slanguage." A noteworthy Web site that serves as an online dictionary of hip-hop terminology and phrases is Rap Dictionary. This site provides a searchable collection of terms that is not as comprehensive as the Hip Hoptionary but is more up to date. It is important to note, however, that because Rap Dictionary is a wiki, its content can be edited by virtually anyone.
Many dictionaries devoted to American and African American slang include definitions of hip-hop terms. Among the most useful and thorough of these are Randy "Mo Betta" Kearse's extensive Street Talk, and Geneva Smitherman's Black Talk. Other slang dictionaries that incorporate hip-hop terminology include Hip and Hot!: A Dictionary of 10,000 American Slang Expressions, by Richard A. Spears, and Juba to Jive: A Dictionary of African-American Slang, edited by Clarence Major. (11)
PHOTOGRAPHS AND ALBUM COVER ART
Library users may occasionally need to find photographs relating to hip-hop culture and rap music. While a few of the books discussed in other sections of this essay are noteworthy for including numerous quality images (these include Fricke's Yes, Yes Y'all and The VIBE History of Hip Hop), there are many publications that focus entirely on hip-hop photography.
A number of such books are based around the work of individual photographers. Martha Cooper's Hip Hop Files: Photographs, 1979-1984 showcases the work of one of the most important photographers of hip-hop culture during its early years. Cooper's vibrant photographs capture the spirit of the culture by showing its graffiti art, break dancing, musical performances, and street life. The photographs are accompanied by insightful quotations by many representatives of hip-hop's initial era. The work of photographer Joe Conzo is featured in Born in the Bronx: A Visual Record of the Early Days of Hip Hop, edited by Johan Kugelberg. In addition to providing Conzo's vivid photographs documenting hip-hop's earliest years, Born in the Bronx also features images of early hip-hop flyers, a foreword by the legendary Afrika Bambaataa, a thoroughly researched timeline of hip-hop by Jeff Chang, and several essays and interviews. Breaks: Stylin' and Profilin' 1982-1990 showcases the work of British photographer Janette Beckman, who shot photographs of many hip-hop icons during the 1980s, and was responsible for numerous album covers of the era.
The photography of Jamel Shabazz in his collection Back in the Days documents the hip-hop styles of the 1980s. Unlike most of the books described in this section, Back in the Days primarily features photographs of everyday people on the street rather than renowned hip-hop performers. The book includes a foreword by Fab 5 Freddy and an essay by fellow photographer Ernie Paniccioli. Paniccioli's own book Who Shot Ya?: Three Decades of Hiphop Photography, edited by Kevin Powell, is a collection of photographs of numerous rap stars. It features many of Paniccioli's photographs that have appeared in other publications, as well as images published for the first time in this book. Who Shot Ya? also includes essays by Paniccioli and Kevin Powell, and it concludes with a selected bibliography of Paniccioli's work and a chronology of his life and career. Photographs of famous rap artists are found in Oh Snap!: The Rap Photography of Ricky Powell. Powell's photographs show performers such as the Beastie Boys, Run-D.M.C., and LL Cool J on and off stage. Artistic and intimate photographs of hip-hop performers taken by photographer Mika Vaisanen are featured in And It Don't Stop: Hip Hop Photography by Mika. The book's many photographs, in both color and black-and-white, were taken between the years 1997 and 2004 in the United States, Germany, Japan, Holland, and the United Kingdom.
Two similar coffee-table books featuring elaborate studio shots of rap stars by first-rate photographers are VX: Ten Years of VIBE Photography, by Rob Kenner and George Pitts; and Hip Hop Immortals, vol. 1: The Remix, written by Bonz Malone, edited by Nicole Beattie and DJ Lindy. VX features some of the most striking photographs that have appeared in VIBE, as well as images that had not been published prior to the book's release. The book includes a foreword by VIBE founder Quincy Jones, and an essay by VIBE director of photography George Pitts. Hip Hop Immortals includes historical context written by Malone among its photographs.
Finally, Andrew Emery's The Book of Hip Hop Cover Art brings together art work from hundreds of influential and memorable hip-hop album covers, chronicling an important visual expression of commercial rap music. The book includes exclusive interviews with performers as well as a list of cover art credits and a useful index.
Several worthwhile documentary films devoted to various aspects of hip-hop culture and rap music are available on DVD, and some provide excellent general introductions to their particular topics. One such film is Freestyle: The Art of Rhyme, directed by Kevin Fitzgerald. Featuring footage of several legendary underground performers, the film celebrates the improvisatory art of freestyle rapping (or MCing). Scratch, directed by Doug Pray, is a documentary film devoted to hip-hop DJing that features numerous interviews and performances. The 2-DVD set of Scratch includes a number of special features, including a superb instructional segment provided by DJ Z-Trip called "How to Rock a Party." Though it is not a documentary the classic feature film Wild Style, directed by Charlie Ahearn, provides a wonderful snapshot of hip-hop's early years through footage of performances by legendary DJs, MCs, b-boys, and graffiti artists. Two additional hip-hop documentary films that do not specifically focus on music but are particularly worthy of mention are Style Wars, and The Freshest Kids: A History of the B-Boy, which explore the topics of graffiti artists and break dancing, respectively. (12)
ADDITIONAL WEB SITES
Numerous Web sites are devoted to hip-hop culture and rap music. Perhaps the most valuable of these is the extensive yet selective directory of Web sites called HHD: Hiphop-Directory. (13) It lists numerous links to hip-hop and rap Web sites in a well organized format, providing brief annotations and identifying selected sites as "recommended" and/or "popular." Another useful online resource is The-Breaks.com, AKA The (Rap) Sample FAQ, which is a searchable database that indexes many hip-hop samples and indicates the songs from which they originated. Providing the ability to search by sampling artist, song using the sample, original artist, and original song, The-Breaks.com essentially serves as a citation index for rap music. A third Web site that may be of interest to library users is the Experience Music Project: Hip Hop Timeline, which is an interactive chronology that traces the development of hip-hop from 1973 through 1992 and provides audio examples and images. (14)
RESEARCH COLLECTIONS AND EXHIBITIONS
Librarians may occasionally need to refer researchers to other institutions with more extensive collections of published and/or archival materials on hip-hop culture and rap music. While primary source materials on hip-hop and rap are currently not widely available, a few archives and other institutions have begun to recognize the need to collect these materials, provide access to them, and preserve them for the future. One such facility is the Hiphop Archive at the W. E. B. Du Bois Institute for African and African American Research at Harvard University. Originally started by Marcyliena Morgan at UCLA, the archive later relocated to Harvard University, followed by a temporary move to Stanford University before recently returning to Harvard. The Hiphop Archive holds published materials such as books, periodicals, and commercial sound and video recordings, as well as archival video footage and various rare artifacts.
Another institution with a significant amount of hip-hop and rap materials is the Archives of African American Music and Culture (AAAMC) at Indiana University. The AAAMC's archival holdings include sound recordings of the radio programs RadioScope and Hip-Hop Countdown & Report, sound recordings of interviews donated by hip-hop journalist Harry Allen, research materials and video footage donated by researcher Miles White, video recordings of the DMC World DJ Championships and other celebrated hip-hop club DJs, and promotional photographs of rap artists. The AAAMC also holds a significant amount of published materials on hip-hop and rap, including books, periodicals, and commercial sound and video recordings.
The Schomburg Center for Research in Black Culture at the New York Public Library is the home of the Hip-Hop Archive Project, which is housed in the center's Manuscripts, Archives and Rare Books Division. The Hip-Hop Archive Project is a small but important collection of materials relating to early hip-hop artists including Afrika Bambaataa, Grandmaster Flash, and the Cold Crush Brothers. The collection includes rare newsletters, original flyers for early hip-hop shows in New York, oral histories, photographs, promotional materials, correspondence, and contracts. The Hip-Hop Archive Project is open to the public by appointment. The Schomburg Center's Manuscripts, Archives and Rare Books Division is also the home of the Steven Hager Hip Hop Research Collection, which consists of an outline, manuscript, and other materials relating to the publication of Hager's book, described above, as well as articles and reviews of books and films. The center also holds hip-hop and rap materials in its four other divisions; these are the General Research and Reference Division (including periodicals and clippings), the Photographs and Prints Division (including the Joe Conzo Photograph Collection), the Moving Image and Recorded Sound Division (including LPs, CDs, films, and videos), and the Art and Artifacts Division (including posters and other artifacts).
In 2001, several small, privately-owned hip-hop and rap collections were identified and described as part a collaborative project undertaken by the New York Folklore Society and the Brooklyn-based Urban Think Tank. The collections (which include commercial and archival sound recordings, interviews, photographs, sketchbooks, flyers, posters, and clothing) are described in finding aids that can be accessed at the society's Web site. Finally, three noteworthy collections that have been assembled for large-scale museum exhibitions are Roots, Rhymes + Rage: The Hip-Hop Story at the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame and Museum, Yes Yes Y'all: The First Decade of Hip-Hop at the Experience Music Project in Seattle, Washington, and the ongoing collecting initiative Hip-Hop Won't Stop: The Beat, The Rhymes, The Life at the Smithsonian Institution's National Museum of American History.
A FINAL NOTE ON COLLECTING HIP-HOP AND RAP MATERIALS
While it is important for music librarians to gain familiarity with hip-hop and rap resources for use in reference and instruction, it is perhaps equally essential that they possess an understanding of collection development in hip-hop and rap. Just as is the case when collecting materials on most popular-music genres for a library, the collecting of hip-hop and rap materials is a multifaceted undertaking that involves the acquisition of various types of books, periodicals, online databases, and sound and video recordings. Unlike many other musical genres, however, hip-hop and rap are still rapidly evolving, and staying current with new and important materials can require knowledge and a great deal of ongoing effort. Perhaps as a result, numerous libraries do not own the essential hip-hop and rap reference sources, historical studies, sound recordings, and mainstream hip-hop periodicals such as The Source and VIBE. Many librarians, therefore, should assess their collections to determine whether core titles of hip-hop and rap materials need to be acquired.
Some of the methods that librarians can utilize in collecting such materials are the examination of various bibliographies and lists of core recordings (several of which are described above in this essay), the perusal of professional journals and popular magazines for reviews of new books and recordings, the welcoming of recommendations from library users, and the use of approval plans.
In addition to the need to keep up with new materials, another issue that is largely specific to the collection of hip-hop and rap materials is that librarians may need to make judgments (and perhaps even develop policies) regarding the acquisition of commercial rap music recordings containing explicit lyrics. Some libraries may opt to spend additional resources collecting "clean" or "edited" versions of rap recordings in addition to the explicit versions, and music catalogers at those institutions will need to determine how these distinct items should be reflected in their library's online catalog. Practices regarding explicit lyrics will no doubt vary from one library to another; since public librarians and academic librarians often serve dissimilar communities, different obligations to their various users must be taken into account. While the majority of librarians may oppose most forms of censorship and might normally avoid the purchase of censored materials, music librarians who work at institutions that serve children in their communities may be forced to make difficult decisions with regard to explicit lyrics in rap recordings in order to maintain the delicate balance of collecting important materials while accommodating the various requests and needs of all patrons.
Libraries in areas with active hip-hop communities may elect to take on the responsibility of collecting the rap recordings of independent local hip-hop artists. In doing so, a library can help support local musicians while simultaneously acting as possibly the sole institution to preserve these often rare materials, which can be seen as important documents of our shared cultural heritage. Cultivating relationships with local record shops with knowledgeable staff can be of invaluable assistance in determining which significant local recordings should be collected. (15)
(recommended titles are marked with an asterisk [*])
"Hip-Hop" and "Rap": Definitions and Overviews
* Bynoe, Yvonne. "Introduction." In Encyclopedia of Rap and Hip-Hop Culture, xix-xxviii. Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 2006.
* Norfleet, Dawn M. "Hip-Hop and Rap." In African American Music: An Introduction. Ed. by Mellonee V. Burnim and Portia K. Maultsby, 353-89. New York: Routledge, 2006.
Toop, David. "Hip hop." In The New Grove Dictionary of Music and Musicians. 2d ed., 11:542-43. London: Macmillan, 2001. Also in Grove Music Online, http://www.grovemusic.com.
Bowman, Rob. "Rap." The Harvard Dictionary of Music. 4th ed. Ed. by Don Michael Randel, 704-5. Cambridge, MA: Belknap Press of Harvard University Press, 2003.
Bynoe, Yvonne. "Rap." In Encyclopedia of Rap and Hip-Hop Culture. Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 2006.
* Perkins, William Eric. "The Rap Attack: An Introduction." In Droppin' Science: Critical Essays on Rap Music and Hip Hop Culture. Ed. by William Eric Perkins, 1-45. Philadelphia: Temple University Press, 1996.
* Rose, Tricia. "Rap Music" In The Hip Hop Reader. Ed. by Tim Strode and Tim Wood, 17-27. Longman Topics Reader, 49. New York: Pearson Education, in 2008. Originally published in Rose's Black Noise: Rap Music and Black Culture in Contemporary America (Hanover, NH: Wesleyan University Press, 1994).
Toop, David. "Rap." In The New Grove Dictionary of Music and Musicians. 2d ed., 20:828-31. London: Macmillan, 2001. Also in Grove Music Online, http://www .grovemusic.com.
Chang, Jeff. "Words, Images, and Sounds: A Selected Resource Guide." Can't Stop, Won't Stop: A History of the Hip-Hop Generation, 469-95. New York: St. Martin's Press, 2005.
Cleary, Robert M. "Rap Music and Its Political Connections: An Annotated Bibliography." Reference Services Review 21, no. 2 (Summer 1993): 77-90.
* McCoy, Judy. Rap Music in the 1980s: A Reference Guide. Metuchen, NJ: Scarecrow Press, 1992.
* Price, Emmett George III. "Selected Print Resources." In Hip Hop Culture, 231-61. Santa Barbara, CA: ABC-CLIO, 2006.
* --. "Selected Nonprint Resources." In Hip Hop Culture, 263 - 91. Santa Barbara, CA: ABC - CLIO, 2006.
Ranck, John. "Classified Hip-Hop, or I Wanna Blow Up Like Marilyn Monroc's Skirt." Simmons College Music Bibliographies, http://web.simmons.edu/ -morrow/hiphopbib.html.
Literature on Hip-Hop and Rap: A Brief Overview
Hager, Steven. Hip Hop: The Illustrated History of Break Dancing, Rap Music, and
Graffiti. New York: St. Martin's Press, 1984.
* Rose, Tricia. Black Noise: Rap Music and Black Culture, in Contemporary America.
Music/Culture. Hanover, NH: Wesleyan University Press, 1994.
* Toop, David. Rap Attack 3: African Rap to Global Hip Hop. 3d edition. London: Serpent's Tail, 2000. Revision of Rap Attack 2 (Serpent's Tail, 1994), and Rap Attack: African Jive to New York Hip Hop (Boston: South End, 1984).
* Chang, Jeff. Can't Stop, Won't Stop: A History of the Hip-Hop Generation. New York: St. Martin's Press, 2005.
Fricke, Jim, and Charlie Ahearn. Yes, Yes Y' all: The Experience Music Project Oral History of Hip Hop's First Decade. Cambridge, MA: Da Capo Press, 2002.
* George, Nelson. Hip Hop America. New York: Viking, 1998. Reprint with a new chapter: New York: Penguin, 2005.
Light, Alan, ed. The VIBE History of Hip Hop. New York: Three Rivers Press, 1999. Ogg, Alex, and David Upshal. The Hip Hop Years: A History of Rap. London: Channel 4 Books, 1999; New York: Fromm International, 2001.
* Bogdanov, Vladamir, ed. All Music Guide to Hip Hop: The Definitive Guide to Rap & Hip Hop. San Francisco: Backbeat Books, 2003. Online version: Allmusic, http://www.allmusic.com/.
* Bynoe, Yvonne. Encyclopedia of Rap and Hip - Hop Culture. Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 2006.
Contemporary Musicians. Detroit, MI: Gale Research, 1989--. Quarterly Hess, Mickey, ed. Icons of Hip Hop: An Encyclopedia of the Movement, Music, and Culture. 2 vols. Greenwood Icons. Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 2007.
Hip - Hop Divas. New York: Three Rivers Press, 2001.
Hoffmann, Frank. Rhythm and Blues, Rap, and Hip-Hop. American Popular Music. New York: Facts On File, 2006.
McCoy, Judy. Rap Music in the 1980s: A Reference Guide. Metuchen, NJ: Scarecrow Press, 1992.
Nelson, Havelock, and Michael A. Gonzales. Bring the Noise: A Guide to Rap Music and Hip-Hop Culture. New York: Harmony Books, 1991.
* Shapiro, Peter. The Rough Guide to Hip-Hop. 2d ed. London: Rough Guides; New York: Distributed by Penguin Putnam, 2005.
Stancell, Steven. Rap Whoz Who: The World of Rap Music. New York: Schirmer Books, 1996.
Additional Reference Sources
* Coleman, Brian. Check the Technique: Liner Notes for Hip-Hop Junkies. New York: Villard Books, 2007.
"Essays," "Label Descriptions," "Essential Albums," "Essential Songs," and "Non-Rap Artists Who Influenced Rap." All Music Guide to Hip Hop: The Definitive Guide to Rap & Hip Hop. Ed. by Vladimir Bogdanov, 557-627. San Francisco: Backbeat Books, 2003.
Jenkins, Sacha, et al. Ego Trip's Book of Rap Lists. New York: St. Martin's Griffin, 1999.
* Price, Emmett George III. "Hip Hop Culture Chronology," "Figures, Tables, and Documents," and "Selected Organizations, Associations, and Programs." In Hip Hop Culture, 105-40, 193-215, and 217-29. Santa Barbara, CA: ABCCLIO, 2006.
Publications Exclusively or Primarily Devoted to Hip-Hop and Rap
Ego Trip--Hip-Hop Connection--Rap Pages--Rap Sheet--Rock and Rap Confidential--Scratch - The Source--Straight No Chaser--VIBE--Wax Poetics--Words, Beats & Life Hip Hop Journal--XXL
Billboard--Blues & Soul--Melody Maker--Mojo Rolling Stone--Spin
Scholarly Music Journals
American Music--Ethnomusicology -- Popular Music--Popular Music & Society
African American Scholarly Journals
African American Review--Callaloo--Journal of Black Studies--Transition
African American Magazines
Black Enterprise--Ebony --Jet
Los Angeles Times--New York Times--Newsweek--Time--The Village Voice
Hip Hop Research Portal (http://hiphopresearchportal.net/)--International Index to Music Periodicals--Music Index Online--RILM Abstracts of Music Literature--RaJaRo-Index (http://www.rojaro.com/searchname.php)
Databases Devoted to African American Studies
African-American History Online--Black Studies Center
Academic Search Premier--Expanded Academic ASAP--LexisNexis Academic Universe--Periodicals Abstracts
ABI/INFORM--Alternative Press Index--America: History & Life--Ethnic NewsWatch--Humanities International Complete--JSTOR--MLA International Bibliography--New York Times--New York Times Historical Archive--Social Sciences Full Text--Sociology Index with Full Text
Anthologies of Articles and Essays
Cepeda, Raquel, ed. And It Don't Stop?: The Best American Hip-Hop Journalism of the Last 25 Years. New York: Faber and Faber, 2004.
Chang, Jeff, ed. Total Chaos: The Art and Aesthetics of Hip-Hop. New York: BasicCivitas Books, 2006.
Forman, Murray, and Mark Anthony Neal, eds. That's the Joint!: The Hip-Hop Studies Reader. New York: Routledge, 2004.
Perkins, William Eric, ed. Droppin' Science: Critical Essays on Rap Music and Hip Hop Culture. Philadelphia: Temple University Press, 1996.
Sexton, Adam, ed. Rap on Rap: Straight Up Talk on Hip Hop Culture. New York: Delta, 1995.
Strode, Tim, and Tim Wood, eds. The Hip Hop Reader. Longman Topics Reader, 49. New York: Pearson Education, 2008.
Discographies and Guides to Sound Recordings
* Bogdanov, Vladamir, ed. All Music Guide to Hip Hop: The Definitive Guide to Rap & Hip Hop. San Francisco: Backbeat Books, 2003. Online version: Allmusic, http://www.allmusic.com/.
Fresh, Freddy. Freddy Fresh. Presents the Rap Records. St. Paul, MN: Nerby, 2004.
McCoy, Judy. "A Selected Discography." Rap Music in the 1980s: A Reference Guide, 186-219. Metuchen, NJ: Scarecrow Press, 1992.
Shapiro, Peter. The Rough Guide to Hip-Hop. 2d ed. London: Rough Guides; New York: Distributed by Penguin Putnam, 2005.
* Wang, Oliver. Classic Material: The Hip-Hop Album Guide. Toronto: ECW Press, 2003.
Whitburn, Joel. Joel Whitburn's Top R&B Albums, 1965-1998. Menomonee Falls, WI: Record Research, 1999.
15 Years on Death Row. Death Row 63077 (2006), 2CDs.
The Best of Enjoy! Records. Hot Productions HTCD 5 (1989), 1 CD.
Def Jam Music Group, Inc.: 10th Year Anniversary. Def Jam 314 523 848-2 (1995),4 CDs.
The Hip Hop Box. Hip-O Records 440 069 588-2 (2004), 4CDs.
* Hip Hop Essentials, 1979-1991. Tommy Boy TB 1634-2-TB 1645-2 (2005-6), 12 CDs.
* Kurtis Blow Presents The History of Rap. Rhino R2 72851-R2 72853 (1997), 3CDs.
Vol. 1: The Genesis--vol. 2: The Birth of the Rap Record--vol. 3: The Golden Age.
The Sugar Hill Records Story. Rhino R2 75841 (1997), 5CDs.
Lyrics and Information about Songs
Beckman, Janette, ed. Rap: Portraits and Lyrics of a Generation of Black Rockers. New York: St. Martin's Press, 1991.
Hip-Hop & Rap: Complete Lyrics for 175 Songs. Milwaukee, WI: Hal Leonard, 2003. Ogg, Alex, ed. Rap Lyrics: From the Sugarhill Gang to Eminem. London: Wise Publications in association with Omnibus Press, 2002.
* The Original Hip-Hop Lyrics Archive, http://www.ohhla.com/.Stanley, Lawrence A., ed. Rap: The Lyrics. NewYork: Penguin, 1992.
Other Information about Songs
* Coleman, Brian. Check the Technique: Liner Notes for Hip-Hop Junkies. New York: villard Books, 2007.
Kulkarni, Neil. Hip Hop: Bring the Noise: The Stories behind the Biggest Songs. New York: Thunder's Mouth Press, 2004.
Price, Emmett George III. "Appendix B: Fifty Influential Hip Hop Records (Singles)." In Hip Hop Culture, 303-12. Santa Barbara, CA: ABC-CLIO, 2006.
Whitburn, Joel. Joel Whitburn Presents Top R&B/Hip-Hop Singles, 1942-2004.
Menomonee Falls, WI: Record Research Inc., 2004.
Hip-Hop Terminology and Slang
Fab 5 Freddy. Fresh Fly Flavor: Words & Phrases of the Hip-Hop Generation. Stamford, CT: Longmeadow Press, 1992.
Rap Dictionary, http://www.rapdict.org/. A wiki Web resource.
Stavsky, Lois, Isaac Mozeson, and Dani Reyes Mozeson. A 2 Z: The Book of Rap & Hip-Hop Slang. New York: Boulevard Books, 1995.
Westbrook, Alonzo. Hip Hoptionary: The Dictionary of Hip-Hop Terminology. New York: Harlem Moon, 2002.
African American Slang Dictionaries
Kearse, Randy. Street Talk: Da Official Guide to Hip-Hop & Urban Slanguage. Fort Lee, NJ: Barricade Books, 2006.
Major, Clarence. Juba to Jive: A Dictionary of African-American Slang. New York: Penguin Books, 1994.
Smitherman, Geneva. Black Talk: Words and Phrases from the Hood to the Amen Corner. Boston: Houghton Mifflin, 2000.
Spears, Richard A. Hip and Hot!: A Dictionary of 10,000 American Slang Expressions. New York: Gramercy Books, 1998.
Photographs and Album Cover Art
Beckman, Janette. Breaks: Stylin' and Profilin' 1982-1990. Brooklyn, NY: PowerHouse Books, 2007.
Cooper, Martha. Hip Hop Files: Photographs, 1979-1984. NewYork: From Here To Fame, 2004.
Emery, Andrew. The Book of Hip Hop Cover Art. London: Mitchell Beazley, 2004.
Kenner, Rob, and George Pitts. VX: Ten Years of VIBE Photography. NewYork: VIBE Books in association with Harry N. Abrams, 2003.
Kugelberg, Johan, ed.; photographs by Joe Conzo. Born in the Bronx: A Visual Record of the Early Days of Hip Hop. New York: Rizzoli, 2007.
Malone, Bonz. Hip Hop Immortals. Vol. 1: The Remix. Ed. by Nicole Beattie and DJ Lindy. New York: Thunder's Mouth Press, 2003.
Paniccioli, Ernie. Who Shot Ya?: Three Decades of Hiphop Photography. Ed. by Kevin Powell. NewYork: Amistad, 2002. Photographs by Paniccioli.
Powell, Ricky. Oh Snap!: The Rap Photography of Ricky Powell. NewYork: St. Martin's Griffin, 1998.
Shabazz, Jamel, Fab 5 Freddy, and Ernie Paniccioli. Back in the Days. NewYork: PowerHouse Books, 2001. Photographs by Shabazz, introduction by Fab 5 Freddy, essay by Paniccioli.
Vaisanen, Mika. And It Don't Stop: Hip Hop Photography by Mika. Berlin: Schwarzkopf & Schwarzkopf, 2004.
Freestyle: The Art of Rhyme. Directed by Kevin Fitzgerald, produced by Henry Alex Rubin. Palm Pictures 3107 WR02 (2004), 1 DVD.
The Freshest Kids: A History of the B-Boy. Produced and directed by Israel. Image Entertainment ID1647QDDVD (2002), 1 DVD.
Scratch. Directed by Doug Pray, produced by Brad Blondheim. Palm Pictures palmdvd3046-2 (2002), 2 DVDs.
Style Wars. Directed by Tony Silver. Plexifilm 006 (2003), 2 DVDs. Originally issued 1983 on VHS by Public Art Films.
* Wild Style. Produced and directed by Charlie Ahearn. Rhino Home Video R2 2367 (2002), 1 DVD. Originally released 1982 as a motion picture.
Additional Web Sites
The-Breaks.com, AKA The (Rap) Sample FAQ, http://www.the-breaks.com/. Experience Music Project: Hip Hop Timeline, http://www.empsfm.org/exhibitions/index.asp?articleID=664.
* HHD: Hiphop-Directory, http://www.hiphop-directory.com/.
Archives of African American Music and Culture
Telephone: (812) 855-8547
Web site: http://www.indiana.edu/~aaamc/
W.E.B. Du Bois Institute for African and African American Research
Telephone: (617) 495-8885
Web site: http://www.hiphoparchive.org/
Hip-Hop Archive Project
Manuscripts, Archives and Rare Books Division
Schomburg Center for Research in Black Culture
New York Public Library
Telephone (Hip-Hop Archive Project): (212) 491-2226
Telephone (primary): (212) 491-2200
Web site: http://www.nypl.org/research/sc/sc.html
New York Folklore Society/Urban Think Tank collections
Web site: http://www.nyfolklore.org/progs/hiphop.html
Hip-Hop Won't Stop: The Beat, The Rhymes, The Life
National Museum of American History
Smithsonian Institution, Kenneth E. Behring Center
Washington, DC 20013
"Multi-year initiative to gather broad collection on hip-hop culture and culminate in comprehensive exhibition," http://americanhistory.si.edu/news/factsheet.cfm?key = 30&newskey=324
Roots, Rhymes + Rage: The Hip-Hop Story
Rock and Roll Hall of Fame and Museum
Cleveland, Ohio 44114
Yes Yes Y'all: The First Decade of Hip-Hop
Experience Music Project
Seattle, WA 98109
An ongoing oral-history project. Exhibit catalog published: Yes, Yes Y'All: The Experience Music Project Oral History of Hip-Hop's First Decade, ed. by Jim Fricke and Charlie Ahearn (Cambridge, MA: Da Capo, 2002).
This bibliographical essay describes a wide array of resources relating to hip-hop culture and rap music, including definitions and overviews, bibliographies, discographies, encyclopedias, historical and biographical information, articles and databases, sound and video recordings, lyrics, information about rap songs, hip-hop terminology and slang, photographs, Web sites, and research collections. The final section is devoted to collecting hip-hop and rap materials for libraries. While the essay is primarily intended to serve as a guide for music librarians who provide reference service and library instruction, and to those with collection development responsibilities, it may also prove useful to educators, students, and those beginning to conduct research on hip-hop or rap.
Andrew Leach is librarian and archivist at the center for Black Music Research at Columbia College Chicago. This article is an expanded version of a presentation given on March 2007 at the joint meeting of the Music Library Association and the Society of American Music in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania.
(1.) A continually updated version of this resource listing can also be found at the Center for Black Music Research, "Rap and Hip Hop Resources," http://www.colum.edu/hiphop/.This, and other Web addresses cited herein, accessed 28 May 2008.
(2.) Many other resources described throughout this essay also include quality bibliographies or suggestions for further reading. These include Bvnoe's Encyclopedia of Rap and Hip-Hop Culture, George's Hip Hop America, Rose's Black Noise, Sexton's Rap on Rap, and Toop's Rap Attack 3.
(3.) Baker, Black Studies, Rap, and the Academy (Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 1993); Potter, Spectacularr Vernaculars: Hip-Hop and the Polities of Postmodernism (Albany: State University of New York Press, 1995).
(4.) Michael Eric Dyson, "Foreword," in That's the Joint!: The Hip-Hop Studies Reader, ed. by Murray Forman and Mark Anthony Neal, xiv (New York: Routledge, 2004.
(5.) Dyson, Holler If You Hear Me: Searching for Tupac Shakm (New York: Basic Civitas Books, 2001). See Rachel Deahl, "Hip-Hop Loses Bad Rap With Publishers," Publishers Weekly (19 December 2005), 10-11.
(6.) 10vols. (New York: MUZE/Oxford University Press, 2006).
(7.) While Check the Technique a considerably expanded version of Coleman's book Rakim Told Me: Hip Hop Wax Facts, Straight from the Original Artists: The '80s (Somerville, MA: Wax Facts Press, 2005), the earlier book is also worth knowing about for its several chapters that were omitted from Check the Technique.
(8.) In addition to the resources described in this section, brief discographies and lists of recommended recordings are included in several of the books and articles mentioned in other sections of this essay. These include Bynoe's Encyclopedia of Rap and Hip-Hop Culture; Chang's Can't Stop, Won't Stop; Nelson's and Gonzales's Bring the Noise; Price's Hip Hop Culture; and Toop's Rap Attack 3. Also, as mentioned in the previous section of this essay, numerous reviews of recordings can be found by searching databases for reviews in periodicals.
(9.) Underground rap labels--including Definitive Jux, Quannum, Rawkus, and Stones Throw--have also released excellent label retrospectives.
(10.) In addition to these resources, liner notes of CD compilations and reissued recordings sometimes provide historical information relating to songs. Examples include the sets Hip Hop Essentials and Kurtis Blow Presents The History of Rap (both described above in the section titled "Sound Recordings").
(11.) When consulting any of the sources described in this section, it is important to recognize that the rapid evolution of hip-hop language can quickly render the printed .sources out of date. While it is unlikely that a devoted hip-hop enthusiast would frequently need or desire to use such dictionaries, these sources nevertheless may come in handy for individuals who are interested in examining how hip-hop slang has changed over time.
(12.) In addition to the films described in this section, an extensive and annotated list of video materials on hip-hop and rap can be found in the "Selected Nonprint Resources'' section of Price's Hip Hop Culture.
(13.) This Web directory should not be confused with the similarly named Web site Hiphopdirectory.com.
(14.) Among noteworthy Web sites that have been described in other sections of this essay are Classified Hip-Hop, the Hip Hop Research Portal, Original Hip-Hop Lyrics Archive, the Rap Dictionary, and RapReviews.com. Additionally. Bynoe's Encyclopedia of Rap and Hip-Hop Culture and Price's Hip Hop Culture also provide lists of selected Web sites devoted to hip-hop culture and rap music.
(15.) Among the best written sources that deal with the collection of hip-hop and rap materials for libraries are two articles by Leta Hendricks titled "Getting Hip to the Hop: A Rap Bibliography/Discography," Music Reference Services Quarterly 4, no. 4 (1996): 17-57; "A Review of Rap Sound Recordings in Academic and Public Libraries," Popular Music and Society 21, no. 2 (Summer 1997): 91-114; and an article by Bill Piekarski titled "The Rap on Hip-Hop, " Library Journal 129, no. 12 (15 July 2004): 47-50. Although brief, Pickarski's article is particularly worthwhile reading for music librarians who collect hip-hop and rap materials. After highlighting several issues involved in developing hip-hop and rap collections, Piekarski provides concise and thoughtfully annotated lists of important rap music CDs, books, and videos.
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|Date:||Sep 1, 2008|
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