|Roots of rap : 16 bars on the 4 pillars of hip-hop|
Author: Weatherford, Carole Boston
Explore the roots of rap and the history of hip-hop music.
|Reading Counts Information:|
Interest Level: K-2
Reading Level: 4.70
Points: 1.0 Quiz: 76682
Kirkus Reviews (+) (11/01/18)
School Library Journal (+) (11/01/18)
Booklist (+) (10/15/18)
Full Text Reviews:
Booklist - 10/15/2018 *Starred Review* Starting with its attention-getting cover, this picture book does an excellent job of capturing the essence of rap. Written in free verse, the text effortlessly pays homage to the four pillars of hip-hop culture: rap music, graffiti, break dancing, and DJing. The spare, four-line verses embody all the right ingredients, blending together creative wordplay, clever allusions, expressive storytelling, and shout-outs to other artists, all delivered in a rhythmic beat. Rap luminaries and their contributions get nods: the text acknowledges the poetry of Langston Hughes; the exuberant stage presence of James Brown; the innovative blendings of DJ Kool Herc; and the artistry of such stars as Eminem, Queen Latifah, and Nas. While the undulating cadence of the text begs to be read aloud, the illustrations are no less impressive. Images swirl and flow across pages, catching street artists in action while celebrating hip-hop clothing and hairstyles. Each double-page spread delivers lots of visual details, making it hard to believe that the entire written content consists of only 16 lines (or, as the book’s subtitle states, “bars,” to put it in music terms). This tribute to hip-hop culture will appeal to a wide audience and practically demands multiple readings. - Copyright 2018 Booklist.
School Library Journal - 11/01/2018 K-Gr 4—Award-winners Weatherford and Morrison team up to document the history of hip-hop. The four pillars (graffiti, break dancing, rapping/MCing, and DJing) each play a role in the 16 bars that make up the book. Weatherford writes spare rhyming text, which follows hip-hop's roots in folktales and spirituals to its current status as a cornerstone of culture. The verses contain Weatherford's characteristically powerful and flawless wordsmithery: "Dropping, scratching, beat juggling/matching wax on wheels of steel." The author captures a complex art form in just a handful of short stanzas; the extensive back matter fills in any gaps. Morrison, a former dancer for the Sugar Hill Gang, has superbly captured Weatherford's narrative in his mural style and portrait-quality illustrations. New York cityscapes, the fashion styles of the previous decades, and the key figures of the genre fill each page. The artist plays with perspective and scale in such a way that each page stands out uniquely from the last. There are several pages where the text and its illustration fall on separate sides of a page break, which could be tough for read-alouds. VERDICT A winning addition to music history collections, pair with Eric Morse's and Nelson George's What is Hip-Hop? and Laban Carrick Hill's When the Beat was Born.—Clara Hendricks, Cambridge Public Library, MA - Copyright 2018 Publishers Weekly, Library Journal and/or School Library Journal used with permission.