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Documenting The Evolution Of Hip Hop

Graffiti in the Bronx -- where DJs laid the foundations for hip hop in the 1970s. Brian Coleman has written what he calls the "invisible liner notes" of hip hop. Most hip hop wasn't heavily documented, like other musical genres -- leading to lapses in surveying the genre's evolution. (AquaLungBX/Flickr)
Graffiti in the Bronx -- where DJs laid the foundations for hip hop in the 1970s. Brian Coleman has written what he calls the "invisible liner notes" of hip hop. Most hip hop wasn't heavily documented, like other musical genres -- leading to lapses in surveying the genre's evolution. (AquaLungBX/Flickr)

If you love a piece of music, chances are you want to know more about the musician. What event prompted them to write a particular song, or what happened in the studio during the recording — the good, the bad, and, of course, the ugly. At minimum, maybe you want to know who produced an album and who it’s dedicated to.

You can usually find this kind of thing on liner notes — the printed little pamphlets slipped inside a CD or vinyl cover.

Hip hop music never really had liner notes, and that meant a lot of stories about the evolution of this American genre of music went untold.

Here & Now’s Lisa Mullins speaks toBrian Coleman, a music journalist and self-described hip hop junkie, who has compiled what he calls “invisible liner notes” in the anthologies “Check the Technique,” and “Check the Technique: Volume 2.”

Guest

  • Brian Coleman, author of “Check the Technique” and “Check the Technique: Volume 2.” He tweets @GoodRoadBC.

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