Jeff Chang: Why Hip-Hop Writing Doesn't All Suck In 2005
I've been really enjoying Country Fried Soul. There's lots to love about your book. One thing I really dig is how you designed it to be explicitly hip-hop. I really love your mixtape concept. It's like the funk is in the format, too!
That's what is also interesting to me about hip-hop writing. First off, there's a huge variety of styles—as many as there are MCs or graf writers or DJ or b-girl/b-boy styles--and mad quality to be had. Don't believe me? Check Raquel Cepeda's incredible anthology And It Don't Stop or Oliver Wang's Classic Material. (And anyone who doesn't believe "real" journalism, the kind that takes risks and changes lives, is happening in hip-hop should check Cheo Hodari Coker's biography of Biggie or anything by Elizabeth Mendez-Berry.)
I'm not even getting to Bakari Kitwana or Mark Anthony Neal or Tricia Rose's cultural criticism or Danyel or Adam Mansbach or Jee Kim's lit or Joe Schloss, Cheryl Keyes, or Raquel Z. Rivera's scholarship. I could go on mentioning peers like this who inspire me for days...