Can't Stop Won't Stop

By Jeff Chang,

Book cover of Can't Stop Won't Stop: A History of the Hip-Hop Generation

Book description

A history of hip-hop cites its origins in the post-civil rights Bronx and Jamaica, drawing on interviews with performers, activists, gang members, DJs, and others to document how the movement has influenced politics and culture.

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Why read it?

3 authors picked Can't Stop Won't Stop as one of their favorite books. Why do they recommend it?

If you need an introduction to hip-hop, this book is it.

Can’t Stop Won’t Stop chronicles the birthplace of hip-hop—from Kool Herc’s famous party at 1520 Sedgwick Avenue on August 11, 1973—and follows the dynamic history and commercial evolution of the culture that would one day dominate the world. This book was a great starting point in my own research process for my book.

From Sowmya's list on learning about hip-hop.

Published in 2005, this deep dive into one of the few truly U.S.-created art forms is a truly wild and fabulous primer on the origins of hip-hop. Chang is a delightful historian, taking his sweet time getting to know the New York citizens (especially in the Bronx) who gathered in apartments and converted warehouses and birthed a new kind of music. The commercialization of the form only comes later in the book, so this non-fiction tome is more of a social examination of the people and the nationwide events that led us to the relative present. On a personal note,…

From Marcus' list on pop culture primers.

One of the many things I appreciate about this book, and why I often assign it to students, is that for long stretches, Chang completely ignores the music, concentrating on the essential and disturbing conditions and history that birthed hip-hop. Its initial development in the South Bronx was no accident, just like the rise of much of jazz in New Orleans. The international dimensions of this genre are studied, as well as its multi-faceted contributions to fashion, art, dance, and more.

Hip-hop also eventually brought innovation and more diversity to the music business and was very affected by national radio…

From Harvey's list on American popular music history.

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