The landmark Smithsonian Anthology of Hip-Hop and Rap arrived on Friday (August 20), boasting 120 tracks, nine CDs, a 300-page book with 11 essays, extensive track-by-track liner notes and never-before-published images.
The beautiful foil-stamped book includes commentary from Public Enemy’s Chuck D, former Def Jam Recordings publicist and Hip Hop historian Bill Adler and journalist Adam Bradley, among many others. Photography from culture conservationists such as Janette Beckman, Joe Conzo and Martha Cooper and art direction from Def Jam’s first creative director Cey Adams further add to the book’s ironclad credibility.
In terms of the music, the Smithsonian Anthology of Hip Hop and Rap dives into four decades of Hip Hop — beginning with the 1979 Fatback track “King Tim III (Personality)” and Sugarhill Gang’s 1980 classic “Rapper’s Delight (7″ Single Version)” and culminating with Kanye West’s 2013 single “Blood on the Leaves” and Drake’s “Started From The Bottom.”
In between, unforgettable songs from Beastie Boys, Notorious B.I.G., 2Pac, Goodie Mob, Lauryn Hill, Public Enemy, Nas, Queen Latifah, Ice-T, MC Lyte and more tell a comprehensive story of Hip Hop’s journey from underground sensation to global phenomenon.
Produced by The Smithsonian’s National Museum of African American History and Culture (NMAAHC) and Smithsonian Folkways Recordings, the book is latest in the Smithsonian African American Legacy Series.
“Born in Bronx and raised across the American West and South, Hip Hop is one of the most influential genres of music in the modern era,” the Andrew W. Mellon Director of NMAAHC Kevin Young said in a press release. “Through beats, dynamic rhymes and pointed lyricism, Hip Hop has provided a platform for communities and generations to voice their ongoing struggles and has changed society and culture around the world.”
To cop the Smithsonian Anthology of Hip Hop and Rap, head here and check out the trailer up top.