Synopses & Reviews
The Rap Year Book
takes readers on a journey that begins in 1979, widely regarded as the moment rap became recognized as part of the cultural and musical landscape, and comes right up to the present. Shea Serrano deftly pays homage to the most important song of each year. Serrano also examines the most important moments that surround the history and culture of rap musicandmdash;from artistsandrsquo; backgrounds to issues of race, the rise of hip-hop, and the struggles among its major playersandmdash;both personal and professional. Covering East Coast and West Coast, famous rapper feuds, chart toppers, and show stoppers, The Rap Year Book
is an in-depth look at the most influential genre of music to come out of the last generation.
Complete with infographics, lyric maps, hilarious and informative footnotes, portraits of the artists, and short essays by other prominent music writers, The Rap Year Book is both a narrative and illustrated guide to the most iconic and influential rap songs ever created.
[Bradley] lays out a nuanced, academically rigorous argument that the best hip-hop deserves attention as genuine artistry.... He traces the word rhythm from the Greek rheo, or flow. Biggie had flow; Jay-Z has flow. For an English professor, Adam Bradley got some flow of his own.”
Dallas Morning News
Excellent.... Where so many hip-hop studies lean heavily on politics and sociology, Book of Rhymes is a welcome and thorough exploration of rap aesthetics that isnt afraid to be learned.”
Henry Louis Gates, Jr.
As comfortable in the company of Jay-Z as he is with John Donne, Adam Bradley is a visionary critic, skillful and wise. His Book of Rhymes is a tour de force, brilliantly renovating hip hop criticism as he rescues the forgotten vanguard of American poetry.”
Adam Bradleys Book of Rhymes is a marvelous exploration into the poetic genius of rap and the cultural gravity of Hip Hop. His analysis is subtle, sophisticated, and soulful!”
Jeff Chang, editor, Total Chaos: The Art and Aesthetics of Hip-Hop
Where some hear noise, Adam Bradley hears the past and future of poetics. With taste, precision, and style, Book of Rhymes explains the art of rap in ways as bold, lyrical, and imaginative as the art form itself. Heads and theorists will find much to love and argue with in this fine work.”
All I can say is wowit was like somebody was reading my mind. So many books have been written about hip hop's historythat time and that magicbut if you don't get it from reading Book of Rhymes, then you're just not going to get it.”
Junot Díaz, Pulitzer Prize-winning author of The Brief Wondrous Life of Oscar Wao
Bradley delivers the intellectual dynamite with this astonishingly researched, passionately argued glove-across-the-face challenge to traditional hip hop scholarship. Superb on every level, a revelation and a joy to read.”
Bradleys book is ultimately successful, with a readable text that can engage diehard hip-hop heads, conventional poetry buffs or any combination of the two.”
If asked to list the greatest innovators of modern American poetry, few of us would think to include Jay-Z or Eminem in their number. And yet hip hop is the source of some of the most exciting developments in verse today. The media uproar in response to its controversial lyrical content has obscured hip hops revolution of poetic craft and experience: Only in rap music can the beat of a song render poetic meter audible, allowing an MCs wordplay to move a club-full of eager listeners.
Examining rap historys most memorable lyricists and their inimitable techniques, literary scholar Adam Bradley argues that we must understand rap as poetry or miss the vanguard of poetry today. Book of Rhymes explores Americas least understood poets, unpacking their surprisingly complex craft, and according rap poetry the respect it deserves.
One of hip-hop studies brightest young scholars celebrates the lyrics of hip hop as the most vivid, most revolutionary form of American poetry today
About the Author
Shea Serrano is an award-winning writer, author, and illustrator. His first book, Bun Bandrsquo;s Rap Coloring and Activity Book, was widely praised, receiving accolades from Rolling Stone, GQ, Esquire, the Los Angeles Times, Pitchfork, MTV, and more. Currently, he is a staff writer for Grantland.