Books: Can’t Stop, Won’t Stop: A History of the Hip-Hop Generation

I picked this one up during one of those warehouse sales Powerbooks had a few years back.  I’m glad I did, because it’s a fairly comprehensive look at the roots of Hip-Hop culture in Jamaica in the late 60’s all the way until the early 2000’s when the movement was on its heels on becoming the global force and movement we know today.  A very interesting read about Hip-Hop’s progress from its humble beginnings all the way to mainstream acceptance today.  My only wish is that there was a supplementary section on Hip-Hop’s development in other countries.  Would’ve been nice to read up on a section on the music’s history here.  Other than that, this is a must-read.

Some highlights from the book’s Introduction and Prelude:

“To me, Hip-Hop says, “Come as you are.” We are a family.  It ain’t about security.  It ain’t about bling-bling.  It ain’t about how much your gun can shoot.  It ain’t about $200 sneakers.  It is not about me being better than you or you being better than me.  It’s about you and me, connecting one to one.  That’s why it has universal appeal.  It has given young people a way to understand their world, whether they are from the suburbs or the city or wherever.”

“Hip-hop is a family, so everybody has got to pitch in.  East, west, north, or south–we come from one coast and that coast was Africa.  This culture was born in the ghetto.  We were born here to die.  We’re surviving now, but we’re not yet rising up.  If we’ve got a problem, we’ve got to c it.  We can’t be hypocrites.  That’s what I hope the Hip-Hop generation can do, to take us all to the next level by always reminding us:  It ain’t about keeping it real, it’s about keeping it right.”

-Clive Campbell aka DJ Kool Herc, legend and pioneer

“Generations are fictions.”

“So, you ask, when does the Hip-Hop Generation begin?  After DJ Kool Herc and Afrika Bambaataa.  Whom does it include?  Anyone who is down.  When does it end? When the next generation tells us it’s over.”

“This is a nonfiction history of a fiction–a history, some mystery and certainly no prophecy.  It’s but one version, this dub history … There are many more versions to be heard.  May they all be.”

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


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