The Yale Anthology of Rap
I have to admit that I'm dorky enough to be really excited by this anthology released last week. I relate to hip-hop through language more than beats; I remember writing down all the lyrics to Grandmaster Flash's "The Message" just so I could see the words on paper and study the narrative.
So an anthology that professes to examine the poetic tradition of rap sounds good to me.
If this review in NY Magazine is right, YAR is different from other books on hip-hop (and there are tons) because it focuses on textual analysis of lyrics and not on music or personalities. Funny how the author, after reading the anthology, concludes that Big Daddy Kane is the best rapper (poet) ever. I'm wondering how the lyrics of Biggie and Lauryn Hill will rank in the canon and hoping that I can finally understand the lyrical power of Jay-Z which is lost on me when I listen to his music.