Jonathan Abrams traces the rise of hip-hop from its roots to its royalty
Hip-hop dominates the music world. According to Nielsen’s measurements, U.S. listeners consume more hip-hop/R&B than any other type of music.
Author Jonathan Abrams, a Charlotte resident by way of Southern California, spent years talking to the foundational figures of hip-hop — including some who date back all the way to its very beginnings nearly 50 years ago.
Abrams turned those interviews into a new book called “The Come Up: An Oral History of the Rise of Hip-Hop.”
It’s a fascinating look not just at the birth of hip-hop, but its continual rebirth as new artists find new ways to stretch its boundaries.
Abrams is a boundary-stretcher himself: His day job is writing sports features for the New York Times, but he has also written an oral history of the TV show “The Wire.” In hip-hop, as in “The Wire,” all the pieces matter. Jonathan Abrams knows how to put them together.
Other music in this episode
- "Dear Mama," Tupac Shakur
- "Rapper's Delight," The Sugarhill Gang
- "How High (Instrumental)," Method Man & Redman
- "Hypnotize," Notorious B.I.G.
- "Hard Knock Life (Ghetto Anthem)," Jay-Z
- "If I Ruled the World (Imagine That)," Nas
- "When I B on Tha Mic," Rakim
- "The Message," Grandmaster Flash and the Furious Five
- "Still D.R.E. (Instrumental)," Dr. Dre