Discography Music Definition Essay

compiled by
Andrew Leach
Librarian and Archivist
Center for Black Music Research

Introduction

This web page provides a list of resources relating to rap music and hip hop culture. In addition to being a resource for those beginning to conduct research, this list should also prove useful to librarians when providing reference service in these subject areas. Librarians with collection development responsibilities and educators may find this list valuable as well.

This web page is not intended to be a comprehensive bibliography on rap and hip hop. Rather, the sections below are selected lists of resources that may be used as reference sources or starting points for research. Additionally, since music is the primary focus of this web page, all resources devoted to hip hop culture are general in scope, and many worthwhile resources devoted specifically to non-music elements of hip hop, such as breakdancing and graffiti, have not been listed.

The citations below are arranged into sections by types of information that people may need. Black discs (•) and soft highlighting indicate sources within a given section that are particularly recommended. Unless otherwise noted, citations for monographs refer to the most current editions.

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Definitions and Overviews

Hip Hop

  • Bynoe, Yvonne. "Introduction." Encyclopedia of Rap and Hip-Hop Culture. Westport, Conn.: Greenwood Press, 2006. xix–xxviii.
  • Norfleet, Dawn M. "Hip-Hop and Rap." African American Music: An Introduction. Mellonee V. Burnim and Portia K. Maultsby, eds. New York: Routledge, 2006. 353–389.
  • Toop, David. "Hip hop." The New Grove Dictionary of Music and Musicians. London: Macmillan, 2001.
    Also available at: Oxford Music Online

Rap

  • Bowman, Rob. "Rap." The Harvard Dictionary of Music. 4th ed. Cambridge, Mass.: Belknap Press of Harvard University Press, 2003.
  • Bynoe, Yvonne. "Rap." Encyclopedia of Rap and Hip-Hop Culture. Westport, Conn.: Greenwood Press, 2006.
  • Perkins, William Eric. "The Rap Attack: An Introduction." Droppin' Science: Critical Essays on Rap Music and Hip Hop Culture. William Eric Perkins, ed. Philadelphia: Temple University Press, 1996. 1–45.
  • Toop, David. "Rap." The New Grove Dictionary of Music and Musicians. London: Macmillan, 2001.
    Also available at: Oxford Music Online

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Bibliographies

  • Chang, Jeff. "Words, Images, and Sounds: A Selected Resource Guide." Can't Stop, Won't Stop: A History of the Hip-Hop Generation. New York: St. Martin's Press, 2005. 469–495.
  • Cleary, Robert M. "Rap Music and Its Political Connections: An Annotated Bibliography," Reference Services Review 30 (Summer 1993): 77–90.
  • McCoy, Judy. Rap Music in the 1980s: A Reference Guide. Metuchen, N.J.: Scarecrow Press, 1992.
  • Price, Emmett George III. "Selected Print Resources." Hip Hop Culture. Santa Barbara, Calif.: ABC-CLIO, 2006. 231–261.
  • _____. "Selected Nonprint Resources." Hip Hop Culture. Santa Barbara, Calif.: ABC-CLIO, 2006. 263–291.
  • Ranck, John. Classified Hip-Hop, or I Wanna Blow Up Like Marilyn Monroe's Skirt
    http://remixtheory.net/?p=221

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History

  • Chang, Jeff. Can't Stop, Won't Stop: A History of the Hip-Hop Generation. New York: St. Martin's Press, 2005.
  • Fricke, Jim. Yes Yes Y'all: The Experience Music Project Oral History of Hip Hop's First Decade. Cambridge, Mass.: Da Capo Press, 2002.
  • George, Nelson. Hip Hop America. New York: Viking, 1998.
  • Hager, Steven. Hip Hop: The Illustrated History of Break Dancing, Rap Music, and Graffiti. New York: St. Martin's Press, 1984.
  • Light, Alan, ed. The VIBE History of Hip Hop. New York: Three Rivers Press, 1999.
  • Ogg, Alex, and David Upshal. The Hip Hop Years: A History of Rap. New York: Fromm International, 1999.
  • Rose, Tricia. Black Noise: Rap Music and Black Culture in Contemporary America. Hanover, N.H.: Wesleyan University Press, 1994.
  • Toop, David. Rap Attack 3: African Rap to Global Hip Hop. London: Serpent's Tail, 2000.

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Biographical Information

  • Bogdanov, Vladamir, ed. All Music Guide to Hip Hop: The Definitive Guide to Rap & Hip Hop. San Francisco: Backbeat Books, 2003.
    Online version: Allmusic.com (http://www.allmusic.com/)
  • Bynoe, Yvonne. Encyclopedia of Rap and Hip-Hop Culture. Westport, Conn.: Greenwood Press, 2006.
  • Contemporary Musicians. Gale Research, Inc., 1989–
  • Hip Hop Divas. New York: VIBE/Three Rivers Press, 2001.
  • Hoffman, Frank. Rhythm and Blues, Rap, and Hip-Hop. New York: Facts On File, 2006.
  • McCoy, Judy. Rap Music in the 1980s: A Reference Guide. Metuchen, N.J.: Scarecrow Press, 1992.
  • Nelson, Havelock, and Michael A. Gonzales. Bring the Noise: A Guide to Rap Music and Hip-Hop Culture. New York: Harmony Books, 1991.
  • Shapiro, Peter. The Rough Guide to Hip-Hop. 2nd ed. London: Rough Guides; New York: Distributed by Penguin Putnam, 2005.
  • Stancell, Steven. Rap Whoz Who: The World of Rap Music. New York: Schirmer Music, 1996.

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Additional Reference Sources

  • "Essays," "Label Descriptions," "Essential Albums," "Essential Songs," and "Non-Rap Artists Who Influenced Rap." Bogdanov, Vladamir, ed. All Music Guide to Hip Hop: The Definitive Guide to Rap & Hip Hop. San Francisco: Backbeat Books, 2003. 557–627.
  • Jenkins, Sacha, et al. Ego Trip's Book of Rap Lists. New York: St. Martin's Griffin, 1999.
  • Price, Emmett George III. "Hip Hop Culture Chronology," "Figures, Tables, and Documents," and "Selected Organizations, Associations, and Programs." Hip Hop Culture. Santa Barbara, Calif.: ABC-CLIO, 2006. 105–140, 193–229.

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Discographies and Guides to Recordings

  • Billboard.com
    http://www.billboard.com/
  • Bogdanov, Vladamir, ed. All Music Guide to Hip Hop: The Definitive Guide to Rap & Hip Hop. San Francisco: Backbeat Books, 2003.
    Online version: Allmusic.com (http://www.allmusic.com/)
  • Fresh, Freddy. Freddy Fresh Presents the Rap Records. Saint Paul, Minn.: Nerby Pub. LLC, 2004.
  • McCoy, Judy. "A Selected Discography." Rap Music in the 1980s: A Reference Guide. Metuchen, N.J.: Scarecrow Press, 1992. 186–219.
  • RapReviews.com
    http://www.rapreviews.com/
  • Shapiro, Peter. The Rough Guide to Hip-Hop. 2nd ed. London: Rough Guides; New York: Distributed by Penguin Putnam, 2005.
  • Wang, Oliver. Classic Material: The Hip-Hop Album Guide. Toronto: ECW Press, 2003.
  • Whitburn, Joel. Joel Whitburn's Top R&B Albums, 1965–1998. Menomonee Falls, Wis.: Record Research, 1999.

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Recordings

  • The Hip Hop Box. Hip-O Records 440 069 588–2.
  • Hip Hop Essentials. Tommy Boy TB 1634-2 – TB 1645-2.
  • Kurtis Blow Presents The History of Rap: Vol. 1: The Genesis. Rhino R2 72851.
    Kurtis Blow Presents The History of Rap: Vol. 2. The Birth of Rap. Rhino R2 72852.
    Kurtis Blow Presents The History of Rap: Vol. 3: The Golden Age. Rhino R2 72853.

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Magazines and Journals

Publications Exclusively or Primarily Devoted to Hip Hop and Rap

  • Ego Trip
  • Hip-Hop Connection
  • Rap Pages
  • Rap Sheet
  • Rock and Rap Confidential
  • Scratch
  • The Source
  • Straight No Chaser
  • VIBE
  • Wax Poetics
  • Words, Beats & Life Hip Hop Journal
  • XXL

Popular Music Magazines

  • Billboard
  • Blues & Soul
  • Melody Maker
  • Mojo
  • Rolling Stone
  • Spin

Scholarly Music Journals

  • American Music
  • Ethnomusicology
  • Popular Music
  • Popular Music & Society

African-American Scholarly Journals

  • African American Review
  • Callaloo
  • Journal of Black Studies
  • Transition

African-American Magazines

  • Black Enterprise
  • Ebony
  • Jet

General Publications

  • Los Angeles Times
  • New York Times
  • Newsweek
  • Time
  • The Village Voice

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Databases

Music Databases

Databases on African-Americans

General Article Databases

Additional Databases

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Additional Articles and Essays

  • Cepeda, Raquel. And It Don't Stop?: The Best American Hip-Hop Journalism of the Last 25 Years. New York: Faber and Faber, 2004.
  • Chang, Jeff, ed. Total Chaos: The Art and Aesthetics of Hip-Hop. New York: Basic Civitas Books, 2006.
  • Forman, Murray, and Mark Anthony Neal, eds. That's the Joint!: The Hip-Hop Studies Reader. New York: Routledge, 2004.
  • Perkins, William Eric, ed. Droppin' Science: Critical Essays on Rap Music and Hip Hop Culture. Philadelphia: Temple University Press, 1996.
  • Sexton, Adam, ed. Rap on Rap: Straight Up Talk on Hip Hop Culture. New York: Delta, 1995.

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Information about Songs

  • Allmusic.com
    http://www.allmusic.com/
  • Kulkarni, Neil. Hip Hop: Bring the Noise: The Stories behind the Biggest Songs. New York: Thunder's Mouth Press, 2004.
  • Price, Emmett George III. "Appendix B: Fifty Influential Hip Hop Records (Singles)." Hip Hop Culture. Santa Barbara, Calif.: ABC-CLIO, 2006. 303–312.
  • Whitburn, Joel. Joel Whitburn Presents Top R&B/Hip-Hop Singles, 1942–2004. Menomonee Falls, Wis.: Record Research Inc., 2004.

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Lyrics

  • Beckman, Janette. Rap: Portraits and Lyrics of a Generation of Black Rockers. New York: St. Martin's Press, 1991.
  • Hip-Hop & Rap: Complete Lyrics for 175 Songs. Milwaukee, Wis.: Hal Leonard, 2003.
  • Ogg, Alex. Rap Lyrics: From the Sugarhill Gang to Eminem. London: Wise Publications in association with Omnibus Press, 2002.
  • The Original Hip-Hop Lyrics Archive
    http://www.ohhla.com/
  • Stanley, Lawrence A., ed. Rap: The Lyrics. New York: Penguin, 1992.

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Dictionaries and Glossaries

  • Fab 5 Freddy. Fresh Fly Flavor: Words & Phrases of the Hip-Hop Generation. Stamford, Conn.: Longmeadow Press, 1992.
  • Rap Dictionary
    http://www.rapdict.org/
  • Stavsky, Lois, I.D. Mozeson, and Dani Reyes Mozeson. A 2 Z: The Book of Rap & Hip-Hop Slang. New York: Boulevard Books, 1995.
  • Westbrook, Alonzo. Hip Hoptionary: The Dictionary of Hip-Hop Terminology. New York: Harlem Moon, 2002.

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Video Materials

  • Freestyle: The Art of Rhyme. Directed by Kevin Fitzgerald. 2000. Palm Pictures, 2004.
  • Scratch. Directed by Doug Pray. 2001. Palm Pictures, 2002.
  • Wild Style. Directed by Charlie Ahearn. 1982. Rhino Home Video, 2002.

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Web Sites

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Introduction

Central Asia, the core of the historic Silk Road, is commonly understood to consist of six nations: Afghanistan, Tajikistan, Turkmenistan, Kirghizstan, Kazakhstan, and Uzbekistan. But if we consider broader historic continuities between its peoples, we can expand this definition to include Azerbaijan, Tuva, the Uyghurs of Xinjiang (China), and Mongolia. Continuities that lend coherence to this expanded concept of Central Asia include the broad acceptance of Islam; the identification of a majority of the population with a Turkic ethnicity and language, and secondarily, with Persian culture and language; and the historically close relationship between sedentary and nomadic ways of life (i.e., between the populations of the cities and the steppe). The influence of Islam has been most pronounced on the music of urban areas, particularly in the region’s ancient cities. Islamic customs have shaped urban performance styles, contexts of performance, song lyrics, the gender of performers, and musical repertoires, among other aspects. The maqām, for instance, is an urban art song tradition long cultivated in the courts of the Islamic nobility. Though the names and content differs from one part of Central Asia to the next, this is an important transnational tradition of court music or classical music that links Central Asia, Iran, and the Middle East. Nomadic musical traditions, in contrast, tend to be rooted in the nomadic ways of life of the steppe. The bard (bakhshi or ashiq) accompanying him- or herself with a stringed instrument (typically a lute) dominates these traditions. Their repertoire often consists of songs based on oral poetry, such as epic songs and legends, and is more closely associated with animist and shamanic beliefs than with Islam. Prior to the 20th century, Central Asia was defined by broad cultural areas characterized by fluid borders and by the intermingling of its diverse social groups. In the early decades of the 20th century, the Soviet Union divided much of Central Asia into individual nation-states with political boundaries that rarely reflected the cultural identities and affiliations of the people on the ground. Policies aimed at “cleansing” these new nation-states of their so-called feudalist elements and promoting “progressive” elements helped in the broader effort of promoting states with distinct, clearly defined national identities. Such policies gave rise to ostensibly modern and national musical genres associated with state-run musical institutions. Even after many Central Asian nations achieved political independence in the 1990s, state-run institutions have remained important sites of musical production. In the same period, independent musical production, especially in the areas of popular music, expanded throughout Central Asia along with a renewed interest in rediscovering and reinterpreting older musical traditions.

General Overviews

Important studies of the music of Central Asia from the 1970s onward tend to approach the topic from a number of distinct perspectives. The musical survey in Beliaev 1975, from a leading ethnomusicologist of the Soviet Union, reflects the Soviet view that nation-states of this region have distinct musical cultures closely aligned with each nation’s unique cultural and social history. The ethnographic and historical approaches in Levin 1996 and During 2005, in contrast, emphasize the historical musical, cultural, and linguistic intermingling of the peoples of this region, a reality suppressed in the Soviet era, but that has survived to the present. Levin 2002 and Djumaev 2002 consider the influence of Islam in shaping musical practice and its meaning in this region.

  • Beliaev, Viktor M. Central Asian Music: Essays in the History of the Music of the Peoples of the U.S.S.R. Translated by Mark Slobin and Greta Slobin. Middletown, CT: Wesleyan University Press, 1975.

    E-mail Citation »

    An English translation of the last of three volumes by Beliaev on the music of the peoples of the USSR, this work surveys the musical cultures of Soviet Central Asia: Kirghizia, Kazakhstan, Turkmenia, Tajikistan, and Uzbekistan. For each, Beliaev examines folk and epic songs, professional music, instruments, and classical music.

  • Djumaev, Alexander. “Sacred Music and Chant in Islamic Central Asia.” In The Middle East. Vol. 6 of The Garland Encyclopedia of World Music. Edited by Virginia Danielson, Scott Marcus, and Dwight Reynolds, 935–947. New York: Routledge, 2002.

    E-mail Citation »

    Describes the various forms of Islam practiced in Central Asia and considers the place of music in their expression; highlights the ways Islam has been adapted to particular patterns of culture and forms of religious music and chant; and examines the ways in which Sufi women participate in musical-religious practices.

  • During, Jean. “Power, Authority and Music in the Cultures of Inner Asia.” Ethnomusicology Forum 14.2 (2005): 143–164.

    DOI: 10.1080/17411910500336273E-mail Citation »

    Argues that Soviet Central Asian states hastened the demise of traditionally shared repertoires of music through enforced secularization, adoption of Western musical theory, and the embrace of Western concepts of nationalism. The rhetoric of nationalism, in particular, gave rise to large-scale musical forms that speak to the power of the state.

  • Levin, Theodore. The Hundred Thousand Fools of God: Musical Travels in Central Asia (and Queens, New York). Bloomington: Indiana University Press, 1996.

    E-mail Citation »

    An excellent starting point for anyone interested in the music of Central Asia; presents a “living musical ethnographic map” of the region, constructed principally from stories of musicians and singers Levin encountered; emphasizes “the often fluid boundaries and identities” that have long characterized social groupings in the region (p. xv).

  • Levin, Theodore. “Central Asia: Overview.” In The Middle East. Vol. 6 of The Garland Encyclopedia of World Music. Edited by Virginia Danielson, Scott Marcus, and Dwight Reynolds, 895–908. New York: Routledge, 2002.

    E-mail Citation »

    A useful overview of the concept of Central Asia and its music and society; explores the influence of Islam in shaping gender roles and musical structure and aesthetics as well as the historical interplay between the rural and urban musical cultures of the region during the Soviet and post-Soviet eras.

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