5 Books You Should Read About Hip-Hop (Ward)
by Treehouse Editors
Caleb Andrew Ward
When you’re white, wear tight jeans, and quote Kafka, you seriously lack street cred. But somehow I have become a bit of an old school hip-hop enthusiast. I grew up in the suburbs of Baltimore, Maryland in the ’90s, which was a hub for great rappers at the time—DJ K-Swift, Blaqstarr, and Labtekwon to name a few—and my love of hip-hop grew from there. For anyone searching for their literary hip-hop fix, here’s a little list to get you started.
- The Tao of Wu by The RZA. The RZA shares his insights into philosophy and the path towards enlightenment. He’s no Lao-Tzu, but the Brooklyn-native is able to spin Asian religion with street knowledge with few flaws. Check this out for the RZA’s “Pillars of Wisdom.”
- Whatever You Say I Am: The Life and Times of Eminem by Anthony Bozza. On assignment for his first cover story, Anthony Bozza meets a young and irate Eminem in his days of early MTV stardom in 1999. Chaos ensues.
- Ruminations by Kris Parker (KRS-One). With Ruminations KRS-One aims his intellect at metaphysical philosophy, African-American history, and social commentaries on government and the black community to form a well-rounded meditation on what it is to be a hip-hop connoisseur.
- Decoded by Jay-Z. With Decoded Jay-Z dives into his lyrics, inspirations, and instances of growing up in the projects of Brooklyn. The artwork alone, by Rodrigo Corral, is reason to check this book out.
- It’s Bigger Than Hip Hop: The Rise of the Post-Hip-Hop Generation by M. K. Asante Jr. Asante Jr. is more than a nonfiction writer, but a poet, documentary filmmaker, and hip-hop historian. In It’s Bigger Than Hip Hop we get a full view of the underground hip-hop world that has been cultivated for years and continues to grow below the corporate sell-outs ruling the charts.
Caleb Andrew Ward lives in Wilmington, North Carolina, is a reader for Treehouse Magazine, Prose Editor for Atlantis Creative Magazine, and has been published here and here.