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Yes Yes Y'all: The Experience Music Project Oral History Of Hip-hop's First Decade

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Hip-hop today is ubiquitous, dominating not only the music industry but also popular culture around the world. Like rock and roll before it, it has permanently transformed music, art, dance and fashion while capturing millions of listeners - and this vast cultural revolution was all started by a bunch of street kids in the ravaged Bronx of the 1970s. Documenting hip-hop's Hip-hop today is ubiquitous, dominating not only the music industry but also popular culture around the world. Like rock and roll before it, it has permanently transformed music, art, dance and fashion while capturing millions of listeners - and this vast cultural revolution was all started by a bunch of street kids in the ravaged Bronx of the 1970s. Documenting hip-hop's remarkable genesis, this book tells its stories in voices that bristle with vitality, character, humour and menace, tracing the music from DJ Kool Herc's first parties in 1973 through the release of "Rapper's Delight" in 1979 and the rise of the new school in the mid 1980s. Fricke and Ahearn weave an electric narrative from the accounts of over 50 of hip-hop's founders and stars, old school and new, including Afrika Bambaataa, Grandmaster Flash, DJ Kool Herc, Melle Mel, Grand Wizard Theodore, Grandmaster Caz, Rahiem, Fab 5 Freddy, Tony Tone and DMC. A wealth of previously unseen photographs, flyers and posters illustrate the text. This work is a chorus of voices, a tale of artistry in the face of extraordinary adversity, and the definitive history of a revolution created with nothing more than a microphone, a turntable and a dance floor.


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Hip-hop today is ubiquitous, dominating not only the music industry but also popular culture around the world. Like rock and roll before it, it has permanently transformed music, art, dance and fashion while capturing millions of listeners - and this vast cultural revolution was all started by a bunch of street kids in the ravaged Bronx of the 1970s. Documenting hip-hop's Hip-hop today is ubiquitous, dominating not only the music industry but also popular culture around the world. Like rock and roll before it, it has permanently transformed music, art, dance and fashion while capturing millions of listeners - and this vast cultural revolution was all started by a bunch of street kids in the ravaged Bronx of the 1970s. Documenting hip-hop's remarkable genesis, this book tells its stories in voices that bristle with vitality, character, humour and menace, tracing the music from DJ Kool Herc's first parties in 1973 through the release of "Rapper's Delight" in 1979 and the rise of the new school in the mid 1980s. Fricke and Ahearn weave an electric narrative from the accounts of over 50 of hip-hop's founders and stars, old school and new, including Afrika Bambaataa, Grandmaster Flash, DJ Kool Herc, Melle Mel, Grand Wizard Theodore, Grandmaster Caz, Rahiem, Fab 5 Freddy, Tony Tone and DMC. A wealth of previously unseen photographs, flyers and posters illustrate the text. This work is a chorus of voices, a tale of artistry in the face of extraordinary adversity, and the definitive history of a revolution created with nothing more than a microphone, a turntable and a dance floor.

30 review for Yes Yes Y'all: The Experience Music Project Oral History Of Hip-hop's First Decade

  1. 4 out of 5

    John Gentry

    Have you seen a hip hop documentary? If you have chances are you've heard nearly all of this information. At least that's how I felt while reading through the book. While filled with tons of first person anecdotes, great stories, and oral history I became hella bored after a while and found myself skipping forward quite a bit. Why is it always the "beginning" of hip hop that is covered? It's always the same 5 or 6 guys talking about each other, pontificating about who started what and where. So Have you seen a hip hop documentary? If you have chances are you've heard nearly all of this information. At least that's how I felt while reading through the book. While filled with tons of first person anecdotes, great stories, and oral history I became hella bored after a while and found myself skipping forward quite a bit. Why is it always the "beginning" of hip hop that is covered? It's always the same 5 or 6 guys talking about each other, pontificating about who started what and where. So I guess I came into this with a chip on my shoulder. I wanted/expected more and instead saw the same information only in text form rather than film. So here's my final recommendation: Have you seen a hip hop documentary? If you said yes skip the book unless you are a HUGE hip hop head. But that's just me.

  2. 5 out of 5

    Reggie

    This is the straight dope about the early days of hip-hop from the people that were there. Reminiscent of jazz oral histories, though with considerably more street crime.

  3. 4 out of 5

    Sheehan

    On the whole enjoyable history of the first ten years of hip-hop. Hearing directly from all of the principals was great, it is easy to forget how young everyone was when this was popping off in the 70's. The focus on the soundsystem culture as the foundation and it's ultimate demise at the hands of it's own success in records and disco clubs in Manhattan was very interesting. I think Piskor's Hip Hop Family Tree graphic novels are actually a more accessible and fun way to read these same historie On the whole enjoyable history of the first ten years of hip-hop. Hearing directly from all of the principals was great, it is easy to forget how young everyone was when this was popping off in the 70's. The focus on the soundsystem culture as the foundation and it's ultimate demise at the hands of it's own success in records and disco clubs in Manhattan was very interesting. I think Piskor's Hip Hop Family Tree graphic novels are actually a more accessible and fun way to read these same histories, but the written word gives more depth and breadth than you can squeeze in a graphic novel format. Last thing, I would have bumped it up to four stars, except for the really distracting formatting of the book. It has too many pages with hella small typography and too similar coloration of the prose and background page color; it makes for frustrating reading in less than perfect daylight. The pictures are wonderful, the captioning is illegible. The publisher f'd this up for everyone; authors get a pass.

  4. 5 out of 5

    Kate

    So I'm getting going and adding a few books that I've read recently--in an effort to make them not all children's books I'll start with this one. This is a truly fascinating and well put together book and I wouldn't say it is for hiphop fans only (although if you are a fan, run don't walk to your local independent bookseller and buy a copy). This is told firsthand by the dj's, dancers, mc's, graffiti artists and other's who lived through the beginning, giving some great insight to the bronx in t So I'm getting going and adding a few books that I've read recently--in an effort to make them not all children's books I'll start with this one. This is a truly fascinating and well put together book and I wouldn't say it is for hiphop fans only (although if you are a fan, run don't walk to your local independent bookseller and buy a copy). This is told firsthand by the dj's, dancers, mc's, graffiti artists and other's who lived through the beginning, giving some great insight to the bronx in the late 70's and chock full of awesome photos and my favorite part--original show flyers.

  5. 5 out of 5

    Anton

    Puts you right there in the early to late seventies and into the eighties as the burgeoning hip hop movement gets it's feet off the ground. From underground movement to commercial superstars, this book is utterly fascinating. There are so many parallels between underground and counter-cultural movements that sprung up around this time period. This is a great read for anyone who loves music, the city, and youth movements; all with a slight undertone of seediness.

  6. 4 out of 5

    robert

    I read this for a book club. Nobody else could make it all the way through. Perhaps my tolerance is higher than most because I love burgeoning revolutions, and this was certainly one. Plus, great early visual artifacts.

  7. 5 out of 5

    Jay

    A tie with "Please Kill Me" as one of the most important books written about 20th century music. Completely engaging, relevant, and well written, in the same oral tradition of "Please Kill Me". If you don't read this book and love it, you're a fucking moron.

  8. 5 out of 5

    Gabe

    A coffee-table book that is well worth the full read, a fascinating first-hand journey through hip-hop's birth.

  9. 4 out of 5

    captain america

    always a fan of oral history. i'd give this book higher marks if i actually liked hip hop.

  10. 5 out of 5

    Jason

    Easily one of the most important history books available about hip hop culture.

  11. 4 out of 5

    Philly D

    this book is so bad ass. awesome vintage pics and great oral history from the cats who were there.

  12. 5 out of 5

    Renato

    Meh...good coffee table book.

  13. 5 out of 5

    Brannon

    yes...yes.

  14. 4 out of 5

    Cynthia E Sherman

    Well researched. A great resource tool. Amazing pictures. Many, many readers will find this material interesting and useful.

  15. 4 out of 5

    Michael Borshuk

    Second time I've read through this and delighted all over again by the liveliness of these first-person accounts of hip-hop's birth in the 1970s. So many exciting stories here.

  16. 4 out of 5

    Chloe

    interesting read. Developed off of filmed interviews and it definitely showed, sort of like reading a transcript of a documentary, not that that's bad thing.

  17. 5 out of 5

    Mo

    fun. makes you wish you were around at the time. and if you were, it makes you wish you had had better taste

  18. 4 out of 5

    Bob

  19. 4 out of 5

    Lisa Zelznick

  20. 4 out of 5

    Asuna

  21. 4 out of 5

    Lindsey W

  22. 4 out of 5

    Bennett

  23. 4 out of 5

    Patrick

  24. 5 out of 5

    E

  25. 4 out of 5

    Stephanie

  26. 5 out of 5

    Sydney.gilbert

  27. 4 out of 5

    Mozlenko

  28. 5 out of 5

    Torin

  29. 5 out of 5

    Aaron

  30. 5 out of 5

    Greg

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