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Book of Rhymes

Book of Rhymes

The Poetics of Hip Hop

The definitive account of rap and hip hop as forms of American poetry

“Bradley is a visionary critic, skillful and wise…. Book of Rhymes is a tour de force, brilliantly renovating hip hop criticism as [lit] rescues the forgotten vanguard of American poetry.” –Henry Louis Gates, Jr.

Rap may be the most revolutionary development in poetry over the past forty years, yet its originality is hidden in plain sight. Often overshadowed by the beat, bluster, and hype surrounding the music, lyrics are the heart of hip hop. Book of Rhymes explores America’s least-understood poets by unpacking their complex craft and according them the respect they deserve as lyricists. Examining the language and techniques of hip hop’s most memorable artists, literary scholar Adam Bradley argues that a new world of rhythm and rhyme awaits us if we put aside preconceptions and encounter rap with new ears and new eyes.

Updated to reflect nearly a decade of the genre’s evolution, Book of Rhymes remains the definitive work on the poetry of hip hop.
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Genre: Nonfiction / Music / Genres & Styles / Rap & Hip Hop

On Sale: June 27th 2017

Price: $17.99 / $23.49 (CAD)

Page Count: 288

ISBN-13: 9780465094400

What's Inside

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Reader Reviews


"Adam Bradley's Book of Rhymes is a marvelous exploration into the genius of rap and the cultural gravity of hip hop. His analysis is subtle, sophisticated, and soulful!"—Cornel West
"I [am] fascinated by what I would call the emergent 'artcademic' perspective [Bradley] was describing. Here was someone who grew up with the music and had gone on to study it in a social context as well as 'getting down to it' on the level of language."—Chuck D
'Bradley delivers the intellectual dynamite with this astonishingly researched, passionately argued glove-across-the-face challenge to traditional hip hop scholarship. Superb on every level, a revelation and a joy to read."—Junot Diaz, Pulitzer Prize-winning author of The Brief Wonderous Life of Oscar Wao
So many books have been written about hip hop's history--that time and that magic--but if you don't get it from reading Book of Rhymes, then you're just not going to get it."—Schoolly D
Where some hear noise, Adam Bradley hears the past and future of poetics. With taste, precision, and style, Book of Rhymes explains the art of rap in ways as bold, lyrical, and imaginative as the art form itself. Heads and theorists will find much to love and argue with in this fine work."—Jeff Chang, We Gon' Be Alright: Notes on Race and Resegregation
"Adam Bradley's Book of Rhymes is the crash course for you."—New York Times Sunday Book Review
"A manifesto.... For Bradley, a couplet by Tupac Shakur [is] a small marvel or 'rhyme (both end and internal), assonance, and alliteration,' given extra propulsion by Shakur's exaggerated stress patterns."—New Yorker
"[Bradley] lays out a nuanced, academically rigorous argument that the best hip hop deserves attention as genuine artistry."—Boston Globe
"[Adam Bradley's] insights are compelling."—Los Angeles Times
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