THE COME UP: An Oral History of the Rise of Hip-Hop by Jonathan Abrams - OUT NOW!


THE COME UP: An Oral History of the Rise of Hip-Hop by Jonathan Abrams - OUT NOW!

“To say this book is incredible simply doesn’t do it justice. It’s essential. A primary source. It isn’t just the fact that you have the voices of the most seminal rap artists who were there from the very beginning, you now have the perspective of time and reflection. Read this book. Eat this book. Steal this book. All the pieces matter.”

—Shea Serrano, #1 New York Times bestselling author

“Jonathan Abrams, for the entirety of his career, and regardless of the subject matter, has shown a profound ability to take the words and recollections of others and stitch them together into something big and special. . . . Here, in maybe his most massive undertaking, he’s done it with the rise of hip-hop. The Come Up is Abrams at his sharpest, at his most observant, at his most insightful.”

—Cheo Hodari Coker, creator and showrunner of Marvel’s Luke Cage, co-writer of the Notorious B.I.G. biopic Notorious, and author of Unbelievable: The Life, Death, and Afterlife of The Notorious B.I.G

“I'm not even sure how Jonathan did this, but I’m so grateful he did. It's one thing to say you want to write an oral history on hip-hop. It's another thing to actually do it with a seemingly endless amount of voices who were there on the front lines from the very beginning. Abrams weaves in and out of eras, regions and decades and does a paramount job of painting a full picture of the world's most influential musical genre. Abrams has always been a phenomenal storyteller, but this is special—even for one of this country's truly legendary storytellers.”

—Justin Tinsley, author of It Was All a Dream

2023 will mark fifty 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 on to 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 of 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

THE COME UP is available for purchase today at all physical and digital retailers

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