Last month, we told you about The Rap Yearbook: The Most Important Rap Song From Every Year Since 1979, Discussed, Debated, and Deconstructed and now we are giving you an exclusive look inside the book before it hits shelves tomorrow.
As the title suggests, author Shea Serrano breaks down the most important moments for the genre starting in 1979. Serano chose one rap song to best represent the year and, with the help of music writers, explained his reasoning through entertaining discussions and debates.
"The way I picked each song is I just tried to figure out which had the greatest impact in rap (and also occasionally outside of rap, too). For example, the best song of 2004 was clearly Kanye's 'Jesus Walks.' But it never really accomplished anything outside of its own massive success and artistry so, while it was obviously great and is important for that, it wasn't the most important song of the year," Serrano told Complex.
"The most important song of the year was really 'Still Tippin' by Mike Jones, Slim Thug, and Paul Wall because of all the ways that it shifted and rattled rap's center," he added. "It was hard, but it was fun to work on."
The book, which took 15 months to complete, also offers an in-depth look at the culture surrounding rap, from famous rapper feuds to influential movies.
"All the stuff you need to know about rap and how it has evolved is in there," he said. "But, you could fit that into 40,000 words, so I had 30,000 words left over where I could put whatever I wanted. I put stuff that isn't specifically rap, but things that are related like movies. Juice wasn't a rap movie, but it's a hip-hop movie, so I worked stuff like that in there."
Infographics, lyric maps, and original artworks are also included for those looking for more of a visual history. "Even if you don't read it, there is so much art and color," Serrano explained. "There over 150 hand-drawn illustrations, so it is just a cool thing to have."
The book will be available at Barnes and Noble on Oct. 13.