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Chang’s exquisite history examines the process by which the vernacular—an authentic art form—inevitably becomes the massified—various commodities mimicking cultural expression. This book covers every facet of hip-hop culture: scratching, breaking, tagging, rapping, MCing, DJing, and the rise of record labels, are explored with insightful care and critique. Chang’s holistic perspective and grassroots approach results in an artist’s and listener’s history of a truly American phenomenon. The analysis provided throughout these pages is beyond provocative—this book makes you rethink your conceptualization of both hip-hop and popular music/culture.— From Bennet's picks
Can't Stop Won't Stop is a powerful cultural and social history of the end of the American century, and a provocative look into the new world that the hip-hop generation created.
Forged in the fires of the Bronx and Kingston, Jamaica, hip-hop became the Esperanto of youth rebellion and a generation-defining movement. In a post-civil rights era defined by deindustrialization and globalization, hip-hop crystallized a multiracial, polycultural generation's worldview, and transformed American politics and culture. But that epic story has never been told with this kind of breadth, insight, and style.
Based on original interviews with DJs, b-boys, rappers, graffiti writers, activists, and gang members, with unforgettable portraits of many of hip-hop's forebears, founders, and mavericks, including DJ Kool Herc, Afrika Bambaataa, Chuck D, and Ice Cube, Can't Stop Won't Stop chronicles the events, the ideas, the music, and the art that marked the hip-hop generation's rise from the ashes of the 60's into the new millennium.
"His scope is operatic, sprawling, and concerns itself with the people, places, and politics that drove hip-hop from its infancy. . . . It is essentially a people's history . . . perhaps Jeff Chang is hip-hop America's Howard Zinn."--Salon.com "The birth of hip-hop out of the ruin of the South Bronx is a story that has been told many times, but never with the cinematic scope and the analytic force that Jeff Chang brings to it. . . . This is one of the most urgent and passionate histories of popular music ever written."--The New Yorker "When Hip-Hop 101 becomes a requirement, Jeff Chang's history of the turmoil that begat this beloved culture will be the go-to textbook."--Vibe magazine "The most important new genre of the last quarter century finally has a sweeping historical overview as powerful as the music with Can't Stop Won't Stop . . . the best-argued, most thoroughly researched case for hip-hop as a complete and truly American culture."--Chicago Sun-Times "Chang tells these stories beautifully . . . provocative."--The New York Times Book Review "Jeff Chang's new and necessary book . . . delivers a vivid account of the last third of the American twentieth century. . . . The book is as much a cultural history as a music history."--The Atlanta Journal-Constitution
"This is a book that should be on the shelves of every high school and college library, an engaging and entertaining full-blown excursion into American inner-city culture's rapid proliferation into every nook and cranny of culture at large."--Los Angeles Weekly