New Hip-hop history book travels a very different past


Third Coast by Roni Sarig is a freaking great book. I picked it up primarily out of interest in the Virginia scene, Missy, Timbaland, Neptunes, etc., and got so much more than I bargained for. A very different history of hip-hop that asserts the primacy of the South, both from a hip-hop origins stance, but also from a popular music stance. Since the last several years, the popularity of Southern hip-hop has been clear from listening to commercial hip-hop radio, but this book does so much to show how much popular hip-hop music has been coming out of the South from the beginning. So many connections are drawn, both from the earlier eras of funk and soul to the hip-hop present, but also from one hip-hop project to another, all linked through the involvement of particular individuals. Very compelling attempt to create an entirely new hip-hop narrative contrasting with every other hip-hop history book’s New York-centric approach.

I so rarely write about any of the books that I read. Even if they are interesting enough to finish, I rarely feel like I have anything worthwhile or intelligent to say about them. I haven’t accomplished that with this book either, but I’ve been enjoying this one so much I had to share. I have a much greater sense of how certain people stay active in the music industry for decades, possibly out of the public eye, and yet responsible for so many different musical projects over the years.

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