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The Rap Year Book: The Most Important Rap Song From Every Year Since 1979, Discussed, Debated, & Deconstructed By Shea Serrano



Did you know about this book, ‘The Rap Year Book’? It brings you back from 1979, the year rap became recognized as part of the cultural and musical landscape, to today. Author Shea Serrano discusses, debates, and deconstructs the most important rap song year by year, while examining ‘the most important moments that surround the history and culture of rap music – from artists’ backgrounds to issues of race, the rise of hip-hop, and the struggles among its major players–both personal and professional.’

The best part seems to be the amazing illustrations created by Serrano himself, who used to teach science to 8th graders! He really did an amazing job as his book sold out in one day, it is still available in paperback on Amazon, and all the reviews gave him five stars. It took him 15 months to do the research, also spending a large amount of time to decide the most influential song for each year.


‘I just tried to pick the songs that incited some sort of change or were indicative about something that was happening that was bigger than rap itself,’ he explained to the Daily Beast. ‘So, in some cases it would be something like how The Breaks by Kurtis Blow had a chorus, so that’s an easy one that had to do specifically with rap. But then there are other songs like Fight the Power by Public Enemy, its contributions are bigger than rap. So I was just looking for those sorts of moments to pinpoint in each year.’

Serrano also saw the evolution of the genre: ‘There’s just been a steady evolution in the style that’s rapped and also the things that are said. We’re at a point now where you’re barely even saying any words in English. You’re just sort of grunting and gargling and doing this really fun stuff.

His book covers East Coast and West Coast, famous rapper feuds, and about everything you have ever want to know about rap, including a lot of details, infographics, lyric maps, informative footnotes, portraits of the artists, and short essays by other prominent music writers…., ‘The Rap Year Book’ seems to be the bible of rap.

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