The Roots Of Rap: 16 Bars on the 4 Pillars of Hip-Hop (Carole Boston Weatherford)

Hello, friends! Our book today is The Roots Of Rap: 16 Bars on the 4 Pillars of Hip-Hop, written by Carole Boston Weatherford and illustrated by Frank Morrison, a lush and beautiful ode to the art form.

It started with poetry, folktales, spirituals, and rhymes. Then came funk, providing the basslines and rhythm, then the Jamaican MCs and dub. Finally, it was all pulled together in the Bronx by DJ Kool Herc – and hip-hop was born. It spread across the country, then across the world, giving rise to street fashion, culture, dance, and – most critically – the music and verse. Now it is a worldwide nation of the faithful, those who feel the beat, hear the words, and are moved – ya heard?

Phenomenal. Using a flowing rhyme interspersed with onomatopoeic syncopated rhythms and drop-dead gorgeous urban-inspired art, this book takes both fans and newcomers through both the history and musical elements of hip-hop. Not only the music itself is explored; B-boy and B-girl dancing, street art, and other cultural elements both influential and influenced by the genre are showcased. Kid-unfriendly elements are skipped over (the East Coast/West Cost feud, the censorship wars, etc.), and the focus is primarily on East Coast and male rappers, though two spreads gloriously celebrate the original holy trinity of female rap: Salt n’ Peppa, TLC, and Queen Latifah. A wealth of backmatter and a foreword by Swizz Beatz are the cherry on top. The length was great, and JJ especially loved trying out the beats. Stylish, beautiful, informative, and fun – a must for music lovers of all ages. Baby Bookworm approved!

(Note: A copy of this book was provided to The Baby Bookworm by the publisher in exchange for an honest review.)

When The Beat Was Born: DJ Kool Herc And The Creation Of Hip Hop (Laban Carrick Hill)


Hello, everyone! Today’s book is When The Beat Was Born: DJ Kool Herc And The Creation Of Hip Hop, written by Laban Carrick Hill and illustrated by Theodore Taylor III, an awesome tale of a revolutionary musical innovator and his contribution to the birth of hip hop.

Clive Campbell loved music of every kind, and growing up in Jamaica, there was no music scene hotter than the block parties hosted by the local dancehall DJs. When Clive moved to New York City, he brought his love of music and DJing with him. After earning the nickname Kool Herc on the basketball court, Clive and his sister Cindy threw a back-to-school party one summer night at their apartment building on Sedgewick Ave. Clive set up his audio system, stepped up to the turntables, and unleashed his signature style of mixing and rapping on the crowd. And just like that, DJ Kool Herc was born, and he would go on help create an entire genre of music: hip hop.

This was an awesome book! Music history fans will love how the story of this seminal era of musical experimentation is told. For those unfamiliar with the origins of hip hop, this is an awesome primer for all ages that introduces the figures, styles and theory that brought hip hop to be. The illustrations are colorful, lively, and have a distinctly musical feeling about them, which is perfect. The length may be a bit much for the smallest bookworms, but JJ enjoyed it start to finish. This is a great one, especially for young DJs and MCs looking to learn more about the roots of hip hop and the people who brought it to life. Baby Bookworm approved!