The evolution of hip-hop

Years ago, I bought my brother a book, The Big Payback: The History of the Business of Hip-Hop. I gave it to him for Christmas, I’m sure, yet somehow amid all my moves and family visits it ended up in my library, untouched.

About a month ago — on a whim, no less — I watched Straight Outta Compton. It got good reviews so I thought, “What the hell… here’s something the critics love on a topic for which I know very little.”

Intrigued, I noticed book the next day on a shelf, and so I devoured it. It was published in 2010 and stops just before Jay-Z and Kanye exploded, thankfully.

Now, seemingly out of nowhere, comes this HBO documentary, Hip-Hop Evolution, that does nothing less than perfectly complement the book visually, providing interviews with Afrika Bambaataa, Grand Master Flash, and Russell Simmons. Archived film clips from the 1970s and 80s just take the experience over the top.

Just one episode in and it’s already my FAVORITE show!