The Roots of Rap: 16 Bars on the 4 Pillars of Hip-Hop by Carole Boston Weatherford, illustrated by Frank Morrison

Published by little bee books

Image result for roots of rap weatherford amazon

Image result for roots of rap weatherford amazon

Summary:  With just 16 lines (or bars) of text, the author and illustrator do an amazing job of introducing the history of hip-hop and rap.  Beginning with a nod to poets Langston Hughes and Paul Laurence Dunbar and singer James Brown, the narrative continues to the early rappers of the 1970’s, graffiti artists, break dancers, and DJ-run block parties.  The graffiti-inspired illustrations enhance the brief text. Notes from the author and illustrator tell of their personal connection to hip-hop and give a bit more history. Includes a glossary and hip-hop who’s who.  48 pages; grades K and up.

Pros:  This is a brief history, but a good introduction to many artists, portrayed with a huge energy by illustrator Frank Morrison.  

Cons:  It’s difficult to recommend an age range: the format would appeal to preschoolers and early elementary, but the content will probably be of greater interest to older readers, who will want to move on to YouTube or other resources to learn more.

If you would like to buy this book on Amazon, click here.

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