The Anthology of Rap Adam Bradley, Andrew DuBois, Henry Louis Gates, Jr., Common, Chuck D

Publication date:
13 Sep 2011
Yale University Press
928 pages: 235 x 156mm
5 b-w illus.


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From the school yards of the South Bronx to the tops of the Billboard charts, rap has emerged as one of the most influential cultural forces of our time. In The Anthology of Rap, editors Adam Bradley and Andrew DuBois demonstrate that rap is also a wide-reaching and vital poetic tradition born of beats and rhymes.

This pioneering anthology brings together more than three hundred lyrics written over thirty years, from the 'old school' to the 'golden age' to the present day. Rather than aim for encyclopaedic coverage, Bradley and DuBois render through examples the richness and diversity of rap's poetic tradition. They feature both classic lyrics that helped define the genre, including Grandmaster Flash & the Furious Five's "The Message" and Eric B. & Rakim's "Microphone Fiend", as well as lesser-known gems like Blackalicious' "Alphabet Aerobics" and Jean Grae's "Hater's Anthem."

Both a fan's guide and a resource for the uninitiated, The Anthology of Rap showcases the inventiveness and vitality of rap's lyrical art. The volume also features an overview of rap poetics and the forces that shaped each period in rap's historical development, as well as a foreword by Henry Louis Gates, Jr., and an afterword by Common. Enter the Anthology to experience the full range of rap's artistry and discover a rich poetic tradition hiding in plain sight.

Adam Bradley is associate professor of English at the University of Colorado and the author of Book of Rhymes: The Poetics of Hip-Hop and Ralph Ellison in Progress. He is also co-editor of Ralph Ellison’s unfinished second novel, Three Days Before the Shooting. Andrew DuBois is associate professor of English at the University of Toronto Scarborough and the author of Ashbery’s Forms of Attention. He is also co-editor of Close Reading: The Reader.

"For the reader who's really interested in modern poetics a profitable week or three could be spent sitting with The Anthology of Rap."—Will Self, The Times

"Groundbreaking... it makes the history, development and variety of the genre plain to see in vivid detail."—Bernadine Evaristo, The Independent

"Bradley and Dubois succeed in lucidly explaining how societal shifts have been reflected in rap lyrics... This book is a fitting tribute to a genre not far short of its fortieth anniversary and which was once dismissed as a passing fad."—Geoff St Louis, Time Out

"A perfect primer for newcomers."—The Independent (Arts & Books)

"An important contribution to this highly contested lyrical culture."—David Barnes, Times Literary Supplement

"An extraordinary collection of lyrics showcasing rap’s poetic depth and diversity."—Bookseller’s Buyer’s Guide

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Adam Bradley's Official Website