"When Rap Music Had a Conscience"
I was at the library recently and I saw this book, "When Rap Music Had Conscience: The Artists, Organizations, and Historic Events that Inspired and Influenced the "Golden Age" of Hip-Hop from 1987-1996", in the Black History Month display area. It seemed right up my alley after I briefly flipped through it.
This book is a Cliff notes to the bigger volume - that does not exist. I know that the author, Tayannah Lee McQuillar, knows this. She has to know it just in the way that the book is structured.
The book has a simple design: paperback, not too bulky and a nice sized font. Oh and there are headings throughout the book and summaries to compliment those sections. Makes for easy reading ... though the contents just meaty enough, yet not too heavy. Sort of designed for you to nod along and/or she dangles just enough information for you to want to do some further research on your own.
Here are some of the topics:
- Droppin Science and Planet Rock
- The Sacred Scrolls
- The Rant Tape
- Hip-Hops Underground Railroad
But she goes on to validate what many of us already attest to and that is the culture of hip hop. She addresses the influence of hip hop in films - many of those references are to Spike Lee Joints.
And in terms of the conscienceness, McQuillar weaves in some historical orators and academics and just plain ole 'folks you should know about' ... if you don't already know. Scholars like Dr. Ivan Van Sertima, Dr. Yosef A. A. ben-Jocahannan, Dr. John Henrik Clarke and others. Just those three could keep you busy for the next 12 months. She mentions them as the jumping off point for many hip hop emcees as they chose to educate their listeners.
Here are the folks that are listed in the "Hip-Hop Underground" section:
- Dead Prez
- The Coup
- The Perceptionists