The Come Up: An Oral History of the Rise of Hip-Hop

Crown. Oct. 2022. 544p. ISBN 9781984825131. $35. MUSIC
Firsthand accounts from more than 300 interviewees provide a vivid picture of how the sound of hip-hop changes with the times and regions in Abrams’s (All the Pieces Matter) essential oral history of the genre. Each chapter presents a time capsule of specific locations, along with in-depth discussions about artists, producers and record labels that some interviewees feel heavily impacted the music, including Grandmaster Flash and the Furious Five, DJ Marley Marl, N.W.A., and various people at Def Jam Recordings. Most of the conversations have a laid-back, talking-among-friends vibe. Backstories on seminal songs and microbiographies of artists and DJs from the South and Midwest contribute to a reminiscent feel. One thing absent, however, is more information about women rappers. The book briefly mentions MC Lyte, Salt-N-Pepa, and Queen Latifah, among others, but rarely discusses them in more detail. As a whole, however, this oral history on the evolution of hip-hop during its first 50 years is a labor of love and respect. Includes a selected bibliography.
VERDICT Recommended for music historians, hip-hop fans, and casual listeners who want to add to their playlists.
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