The Roots of Rap: 16 Bars on the 4 Pillars of Hip-Hop

By: Carole Boston Weatherford

Illustrator: Frank Morrison

“Dropping, scratching, beat juggling/matching wax on wheels of steel. Wordplay, rhyming, triple-timing, keepin’ the lyrics real. . . . A generation voicing stories, hopes, and fears founds a hip-hop nation.”
Introduction by Swizz Beatz. Author’s note. Illustrator’s note. Glossary. “Hip-Hop Who’s Who.” Full-color illustrations.

ISBN: 9781499804119

JLG Release: Apr 2019


Sensitive Areas: None
Topics: History of rap music , Hip-hop music and musicians , James Brown (1933–2006) , Graffiti , New York City , Street performers , Disc jockeys , DJ Kool Herc (1955– )

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Awards & Honors

Kirkus Best Books - 2019
CPL Best Books - 2019
NYPL Best Books - 2019
The Nonfiction Detectives Best Nonfiction Books - 2019

Praise & Reviews

Starred or favorable reviews have been received from these periodicals:

Booklist*, School Library Journal*, Kirkus Reviews*, Publishers Weekly*

School Library Journal

Award-winners Weatherford and Morrison team up to document the history of hip-hop. The four pillars (graffiti, break dancing, rapping/MCing, and DJing) each play a role in the 16 bars that make up the book. Weatherford writes spare rhyming text, which follows hip-hop’s roots in folktales and spirituals to its current status as a cornerstone of cu Award-winners Weatherford and Morrison team up to document the history of hip-hop. The four pillars (graffiti, break dancing, rapping/MCing, and DJing) each play a role in the 16 bars that make up the book. Weatherford writes spare rhyming text, which follows hip-hop’s roots in folktales and spirituals to its current status as a cornerstone of culture. The verses contain Weatherford’s characteristically powerful and flawless wordsmithery: “Dropping, scratching, beat juggling/matching wax on wheels of steel.” The author captures a complex art form in just a handful of short stanzas; the extensive back matter fills in any gaps. Morrison, a former dancer for the Sugar Hill Gang, has superbly captured Weatherford’s narrative in his mural style and portrait-quality illustrations. New York cityscapes, the fashion styles of the previous decades, and the key figures of the genre fill each page. The artist plays with perspective and scale in such a way that each page stands out uniquely from the last. There are several pages where the text and its illustration fall on separate sides of a page break, which could be tough for read-alouds. VERDICT A winning addition to music history collections, pair with Eric Morse’s and Nelson George’s What is Hip-Hop? and Laban Carrick Hill’s When the Beat was Born.–Clara Hendricks, Cambridge Public Library, MA

Book Details

ISBN

9781499804119

First Release

April 2019

Genre

Nonfic

Dewey Classification

782.42164909

Trim Size

10" x 10"

Page Count

48

Accelerated Reader

N/A

Scholastic Reading Counts

N/A

Lexile

N/A

Format

Print Book

Edition

Hardcover edition

Publisher

little bee books

Potentially Sensitive Areas

None

Topics

History of rap music, Hip-hop music and musicians, James Brown (1933–2006), Graffiti, New York City, Street performers, Disc jockeys, DJ Kool Herc (1955– ),

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