Journalist, historian, and music critic (and cofounder of one of the greatest hip-hop labels of all time!) Jeff Chang’s Can’t Stop Won’t Stop is a sweeping cultural, political, and musical history of hip-hop (now the globe’s most lucrative genre). Spanning over three decades from its humble beginnings to the start of the new millennium, Chang’s comprehensive account of hip-hop culture has become its definitive text. As much a sociological examination as a proper historical account, Can’t Stop Won’t Stop situates a burgeoning musical movement within its contextual milieu of race, economics, disenfranchisement, social change, unrest, political policy, art, and more. Like an unforgettable novel with an exceptionally well-drawn cast of characters, Chang’s book isn’t just about hip-hop, it’s the story of late 20th-century America writ large. Recommended By Jeremy G., Powells.com
Synopses & Reviews
Can't Stop Won't Stop is a powerful cultural and social history of the end of the American century, and a provocative look into the new world that the hip-hop generation created.
Forged in the fires of the Bronx and Kingston, Jamaica, hip-hop became the Esperanto of youth rebellion and a generation-defining movement. In a post-civil rights era defined by deindustrialization and globalization, hip-hop crystallized a multiracial, polycultural generation's worldview, and transformed American politics and culture. But that epic story has never been told with this kind of breadth, insight, and style.
Based on original interviews with DJs, b-boys, rappers, graffiti writers, activists, and gang members, with unforgettable portraits of many of hip-hop's forebears, founders, and mavericks, including DJ Kool Herc, Afrika Bambaataa, Chuck D, and Ice Cube, Can't Stop Won't Stop chronicles the events, the ideas, the music, and the art that marked the hip-hop generation's rise from the ashes of the 60's into the new millennium.
"The most important new genre of the last quarter-century finally has a sweeping historical overview as powerful as the music with Can't Stop Won't Stop...the best-argued, most thoroughly researched case for hip-hop as a complete and truly American culture." Chicago Sun-Times
"The birth of hip-hop out of the ruin of the South Bronx is a story that has been told many times, but never with the cinematic scope and the analytic force that Chang brings to it....This is one of the most urgent and passionate histories of popular music ever written." The New Yorker
"Jeff Chang's new and necessary book...delivers a vivid account of the last third of the American twentieth century....The book is as much a cultural history as a music history." The Atlanta Journal-Constitution
"This is a book that should be on the shelves of every high school and college library, an engaging and entertaining full-blown excursion into American inner-city culture's rapid proliferation into every nook and cranny of culture at large." Los Angeles Weekly
"The conclusion the book draws is its real strength-hip-hop is the culture of youth, and teens today have never known a world without it." School Library Journal
About the Author
Jeff Chang has been a hip-hop journalist for over a decade and has written for The San Francisco Bay Guardian, The Village Voice, Vibe, The Nation, URB, Rap Pages, Spin and Mother Jones. He was a founding editor of Colorlines Magazine, Senior Editor at Russell Simmons' 360hiphop.com and co-founder of the influential hip-hop label, SoleSides, now Quannum Projects. He lives in California.