A Tribe Called Quest • Beastie Boys • De La Soul • Eric B. & Rakim • The Fugees • KRS-One • Pete Rock & CL Smooth • Public Enemy • The Roots • Run-DMC • Wu-Tang Clan • and twenty-five more hip-hop immortals
It’s a sad fact: hip-hop album liners have always been reduced to a list of producer and sample credits, a publicity photo or two, and some hastily composed shout-outs. That’s a damn shame, because few outside the game know about the true creative forces behind influential masterpieces like PE’s It Takes a Nation of Millions. . ., De La’s 3 Feet High and Rising, and Wu-Tang’s Enter the Wu-Tang (36 Chambers). A longtime scribe for the hip-hop nation, Brian Coleman fills this void, and delivers a thrilling, knockout oral history of the albums that define this dynamic and iconoclastic art form.
The format: One chapter, one artist, one album, blow-by-blow and track-by-track, delivered straight from the original sources. Performers, producers, DJs, and b-boys–including Big Daddy Kane, Muggs and B-Real, Biz Markie, RZA, Ice-T, and Wyclef–step to the mic to talk about the influences, environment, equipment, samples, beats, beefs, and surprises that went into making each classic record. Studio craft and street smarts, sonic inspiration and skate ramps, triumph, tragedy, and take-out food–all played their part in creating these essential albums of the hip-hop canon.
Insightful, raucous, and addictive, Check the Technique transports you back to hip-hop’s golden age with the greatest artists of the ’80s and ’90s. This is the book that belongs on the stacks next to your wax.
“Brian Coleman’s writing is a lot like the albums he covers: direct, uproarious, and more than six-fifths genius.”
–Jeff Chang, author of Can’t Stop Won’t Stop
“All producers and hip-hop fans must read this book. It really shows how these albums were made and touches the music fiend in everyone.”
–DJ Evil Dee of Black Moon and Da Beatminerz
“A rarity in mainstream publishing: a truly essential rap history.”
–Ronin Ro, author of Have Gun Will Travel
In his introduction to Coleman's new volume, recording artist Ahmir ?uestlove Thompson laments the lack of liner notes in hip-hop recordings, and it's this void that Coleman seeks to fill in this significantly expanded and updated version of his 2005 title Rakim Told Me. Each of Coleman's 36 liner notes cover one album by a particular artist, beginning with a thorough background essay from Coleman and continuing with comments on individual tracks by the artists, which range in length from a single line to page-spanning dialogue. Covering the period between 1986 (Schoolly D's Saturday Night! The Album) and 1996 (Fugees' The Score), sometimes described as the golden age of rap, Coleman's introductory essays are easy to read and informative, but the artists' comments are the more enlightening read. The artists focus largely on lyrics and their origins, but make many references to budgets, studio techniques, drum machines and sample sources (and the occasional lawsuit they engender). Though words like genius, masterwork, legend and immortal are tossed around too liberally, Coleman's volume, covering 400 tracks and 75 artists all told, is a valuable, entertaining inside look at the creative processes behind some of the bestselling albums of their (or any) time. 52 b&w photos.
Customer ReviewsSee All
I bought the paperback copy a while back and am just getting around to purchasing the ebook. Fascinating read learning about the stories behind some of the best albums from the golden era of hip-hop.