“There has never been a better book about hip-hop…a record-biz portrait that jumps off the page.”—A.V. Club
THE INSPIRATION FOR THE VH1 SERIES THE BREAKS
The Big Payback takes readers from the first $15 made by a “rapping DJ” in 1970s New York to the multi-million-dollar sales of the Phat Farm and Roc-a-Wear clothing companies in 2004 and 2007. On this four-decade-long journey from the studios where the first rap records were made to the boardrooms where the big deals were inked, The Big Payback tallies the list of who lost and who won. Read the secret histories of the early long-shot successes of Sugar Hill Records and Grandmaster Flash, Run DMC's crossover breakthrough on MTV, the marketing of gangsta rap, and the rise of artist/ entrepreneurs like Jay-Z and Sean “Diddy” Combs.
300 industry giants like Def Jam founders Rick Rubin and Russell Simmons gave their stories to renowned hip-hop journalist Dan Charnas, who provides a compelling, never-before-seen, myth-debunking view into the victories, defeats, corporate clashes, and street battles along the 40-year road to hip-hop's dominance.
Charnas tells the story of hip-hop in this stylish, lavishly detailed love letter to the genre and industry. He follows the money and "the relationship between artist and merchant who, in hip-hop, are often one and the same" from hip-hop's early days as a "marginal urban subculture" in Harlem of the late 1960s to its insinuation into and eventual domination of mainstream popular music. Charnas makes an elegant case for how hip-hop is the consummate American art form, one that reflects American society in all its volubility and violence as well as possessing the power to alter it. In its promise of economic security and creative control for black artist-entrepreneurs, it is the culmination of the dreams of black nationalists and civil rights leaders. Charnas spent seven years working for Rick Rubin, famed producer and cofounder of Def Jam Records, and writes with the authority of an insider, the passion of a fan, and the cool eye of someone who has maneuvered through the day-to-day working of the business. Nuanced treatment of the impresarios behind signature sounds and recording empires, and brisk, dramatic vignettes, give this history of a leaderless revolution impressive momentum.
Customer ReviewsSee All
This book should be standard reading for anyone in the music business or contemplating entering the business. The stories about the rise of hip hop in today's society were highly informative, entertaining, and amazing. The intricate details and research that had to go into the making of this book should be enough evidence that this needs to be a college course. Excellent book!!
This book gives such an awesome insight on the history of the music