Produced by

Book of Rhyme Pages

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

"The Anthology of Rap," just released by Yale University Press, may be the first of its kind – a collection of annotated lyrics representing the recorded history of rap from the 1970s to today. But at almost forty years in the public ear, rap is due this treatment. Co-editor Adam Bradley presents the story of rap as a poetic tradition, from early pioneers like Afrika Bambaataa and Lady B to modern day innovators like Jean Grae and Kanye -- and explains why this literature is finally having its moment.


Adam Bradley

Comments [7]

To claim the entire genre of of rap is subversive in nature is to take a stand of ignorance. The Poverty of Philosophy by Immortal Technique, a scathing criticism of classism in the United States, is certainly not "co-opted by consumer culture."

Nov. 29 2010 08:49 PM
Kimberly from Brooklyn

is the author working under a pseudonym? his voice sounds a great deal like Elvis Mitchell.

Nov. 16 2010 10:19 PM

i would hardly call rap lyrics literature unless we can consider death metal and black metal lyrics as literature too

Nov. 16 2010 02:23 PM
Christoph from Long Island

Lyrically, the best and most underrated MC of the 21st century is Sean Daley aka Slug of Atmosphere. Each track has a purpose. Each album tells a story.

Nov. 16 2010 02:23 PM

i agree with Leah... rap is just another set of words. the reason why some rappers don't remember their rhymes is because they were probably too stoned when they spit them, lol.

Nov. 16 2010 02:20 PM
Leah from Brooklyn

What makes rap lyrics different from other lyrical forms? I'd argue that Stephen Sondheim faux light opera or Ani DiFranco's folk-punk contain as much word play and poetry as anything Kanye's ever put out.

Beyond that, I worry that the fundamentally subversive nature of rap and hip-hop, which has already been co-opted by consumer culture (it seems like today's scene is an endless parade of conspicuous consumption and product placement) is now consenting to further co-opting in an attempt to be legible to and valorized by white academic culture.

Nov. 16 2010 02:13 PM
Sunshine Hernandez from Bushwick

Just gonna start this one off with saying please give a word out to Gil Scott Heron who was the first spoken word/beginning roots of hip hop, bringing beat, how simple it was, to poetry

Nov. 16 2010 02:10 PM

Leave a Comment

Email addresses are required but never displayed.