Rap Whoz Who: The World of Rap and Hip Hop Paperback – Jun 1 1996
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Despite the cloyingly with-it use of z instead of 's in the title, this is a pretty good resource. Most of the significant rappers are covered (all would be impossible), and selected discographies are presented for most of them. The writing is simple, but coverage is the aim here, so a little stylistic dullness is forgivable. Founders of the genre, such as Afrika Bambaataa, KRS-One, and the Sugar Hill Gang, get longer workups, of course, and young up-and-comers briefer entries. All manner of rappers are covered, from slick, commercial Hammer (once MC Hammer) to prefab-tough Run-DMC to authentically tough NWA and Public Enemy. Alas, although Marky Mark is covered, Process & the Do-Rags are not, but at least Stancell provides much vital information for pop music librarians, such as making it clear that Kenny Gee and Kenny G are not the same artist. Short chapters on topics like rap and violence, the business side of the music, and the influence of Islam on rap put all the artist bios in perspective. Mike Tribby
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