2023 will mark 50 years since the birth of hip-hop. Many historians and industry pioneers date the beginnings of this ground-breaking music and culture to the summer of 1973, when DJ Kool Herc rolled his massive sound system and record collection out onto Sedgwick Avenue in the South Bronx for a street party fueled by the sounds—and especially the breakbeats—of funk and disco. What Herc and other pioneering DJs and MCs began in an overlooked neighborhood in New York eventually spawned the music that we now know as hip-hop, the most popular music genre in America.
In THE COME UP: An Oral History of the Rise of Hip-Hop (Crown; on-sale October 18), New York Times staff writer and bestselling author Jonathan Abrams offers the definitive account of hip-hop’s ascendancy. In more than 300 interviews conducted over three years, Abrams worked tirelessly to capture the stories of the DJs, MCs, promoters, executives, producers, and artists who witnessed and forged the history of hip-hop. THE COME UP features the voices of such pioneers as Ice Cube, Ice-T, Bun B, Marley Marl, Grandmaster Caz, Just Blaze, Killer Mike, Rhymefest, DMC, Kurtis Blow, and Monie Love, as well as scores of others—industry executives, radio DJs, promoters and others who were in the rooms where it happened (and, in some cases, whose stories were at risk of being lost forever). The book’s scope and the sheer quantity of voices are unprecedented, and the result is a major contribution to the history of rap.
THE COME UP is a treasure trove of recollections from the giants of hip-hop, in their own words: Grandmaster Caz on those early days in the Bronx; DMC on his role in introducing hip-hop to the mainstream; Ice Cube on N.W.A’s breakthrough and breakup; and illuminating insights from countless behind-the-scenes players. Abrams vividly traces how the genre took hold in mostly Black and Latino communities across the country before growing and evolving into a global, transformative force in popular culture, eventually spreading across the world and across generations.
A master storyteller, Abrams has crafted the essential oral history of hip-hop in THE COME UP: An Oral History of the Rise of Hip-Hop!
Pre-order your copy here.