Book Notes: A Breakdown of the Latest Urban Reads Shouts Out Hip-Hop Books That Matter


We love Hip-Hop culture right? It’s what we live and breathe. But how much do you really know about the culture? How much Hip-Hop history can you spit off the top of the dome? Need a refresher? Well, fear not, has the perfect books to help you become even more of an expert. Check out these books on Hip-Hop history and add a few more to your collection.

Can’t Stop Won’t Stop: A History of the Hip-Hop Generation by Jeff Chang

The definitive history on Hip-Hop music and culture, Can’t Stop Won’t Stop is a provocative and thought-provoking journey into the birth of Hip-Hop from the South Bronx to the many other cities that added layers to tapestry of the culture. The culmination of a decade of research and interviews, Jeff Chang’s book is an important and engaging book that can be found anywhere from the crate of a DJ to the desk of a professor. If you haven’t read this one yet, you owe it to yourself.

Hip Hop America by Nelson George

Over 10 years old, Hip Hop America is still a great book to read to understand Hip-Hop as a clash between youth culture and the mass media. The book touches on all themes in the culture from incarceration to entrepreneurship to technology and most of all, the business. Nelson George is the author of several other great books including his memoir, City Kid.

It’s Bigger than Hip-Hop: The Rise of the Post-Hip Hop Generation by M.K. Asante

In his book, The Hip Hop Generation: Young Blacks and the Crisis in African-American Culture, Professor Bakari Kitwana defined the Hip-Hop generation as those born within the years of 1965-1984, which would make those who come after “The Post-Hip-Hop Generation.”

It is upon this idea, that “Post Hip-Hopper,” M.K. Asante wrote his book. The book is meant to inspire and give voice to the younger Hip-Hop heads who were born and grew up in the shadows of giants.

Dirty South: OutKast, Lil Wayne, Soulja Boy, and the Southern Rappers who Reinvented Hip-Hop by Ben Westhoff

Cultural commentators have theorized that New York was dethroned by Los Angeles, but both cities conceded top billing in Hip-Hop to Atlanta. The Crunk style that originated in the ’90s infiltrated music from artists from all coasts.

But, Southern rap flourished far beyond The A. Cities such as Houston and Louisiana have had remarkable impacts on music as well. This book examines the Dirty South, and how the artists and their music from the “Third Coast” seems to resonate with so many.

The Soul of Hip-Hop: Rims, Timbs, and a Cultural Theology by Daniel White Hodge

When it comes to talking about Jesus, mainstream Hip-Hop typically limits the conversation to a face on a diamond encrusted pendant.

Kanye West changed the game, literally, when he made “Jesus Walks,” and shined a light on the struggle between the streets and salvation. Daniel White Hodge draws a line from Hip-Hop to “the cross” in this book that is one of the first to examine the idea of theology in Hip-Hop.

Biba Adams is a Senior Staff Writer and Book Editor for Her debut novel, The Allure, will debut this fall on Triple Crown Publications. Send her your favorite book titles on (Twitter @BibatheDiva).