Hip Hop is a mad lyrical genre…
so you might like the written word if you like rap. If you do, Spit Talking’s got you. These are some dope hip hop books, of all types. Whether you want books about rappers, books by rappers, comics about hip hop or even a hip hop coloring book, I got you covered. I like to read anything I can about hip hop, and the following are all books I’ve come across doing this. These are my personal favorites.
Holler if You Hear Me – Michael Eric Dyson
In case you couldn’t guess from the title, this is a book about Tupac. It’s not so much a biography as it is a quest for his message, what he stood for, and his legacy after his death. It’s written by Michael Eric Dyson, who is not only a Georgetown professor, but also maybe the smartest hip hop commentator out there, as he’s also edited a book about Illmatic. If you love Tupac and are still bumping his shit after all these years, you might like this. I mean he only releases like 2 albums a year nowadays so if you wanna understand Tupac more, since you can’t hear straight from him, take it from Michael Eric Dyson.
The Tao of Wu – RZA
The Tao of Wu is a bit more like a biography, but only a little bit, cause I mean it is RZA, he’s not just gonna write a boring old auto-biography. It’s the RZA’s tale of his own enlightenment rather than his hip hop career, but it’s a great book. Pick this up if you want to read more about how the Wu-Tang Clan was actually formed, as he runs down those formative years in Staten Island. RZA is mad honest and funny, and hearing him tell stories about his childhood and his life in general (heavily including the Wu) is just great. This is unlike most celebrity memoirs, but that’s not surprising because RZA is not like most celebrities.
Hip Hop Family Tree – Ed Piskor
Hip Hop Family Tree is the shit. It’s pretty much a comic history of rap, and I think it’s easily the best comic about hip hop. The writing and art are great, and it’s also just a great way to know your shit about old school hip hop and how we got to where we are now. From the very beginning of hip hop on the streets to its growth in the studios, Ed Piskor is taking readers through hip hop’s birth and adolescence, and he’s about in the mid 90’s right now so there’s plenty left to write about. Read more about Hip Hop Family Tree here in my writeup. Also, for dope pictures like the one on the left, follow @edpiskor on twitter for updates from the artist.
Bun B’s Rap Coloring and Activity Book – Bun B and Shea Serrano
This is the most unexpected but also maybe dopest one I got for you. It’s a hip hop coloring book. It’s exactly what it sounds like, and you should probably have this as a coffee table piece, and if you don’t have a coffee table you should probably go get one then put this on it. Bun B and Shea Serrano have put together a masterpiece of a coloring/activity book. If you wanna teach someone (of any age) about hip hop, this would be a good way to go about it. They got little facts for each rapper.
And if you already know all your stuff, you’ll probably want this anyways too as a stress reliever or just funny ass book to have. Remember, it’s not just coloring pages, there are also activities, like mazes and word searches, so this is the best rainy day book out there. Added bonus — if you can’t decide what to listen to, just open a random page and there you got your coloring soundtrack for the day.
If you don’t believe me, check out my work to your left. I picked Talib because he’s the illest but also I liked the picture. If you’re like me, literally the only thing you won’t like about this is there’s so much pressure on yourself to color well cause you only got one shot and the pictures are all so dope. Also you don’t want some garbage drawing to get out on twitter because you don’t want no beef with some of these rappers. Anyways, cop the rap coloring book because it’s one of the best hip hop books out there.
So whether you’re looking for books about hip hop for someone trying to get into it, or you want something for longtime fans, Spit Talking’s got you.
Pick something up as a gift for someone or a gift for yourself, and then let me know what you chose!