Dart Adams is one of my favourite hip-hop journalists. Perhaps you’ve read some of his work on Poisonous Paragraphs, Bastard Swordsman, or Bloggerhouse. In the spirit of underground hip-hop. he has been dropping knowledge independently for years. He knows his stuff and is passionate about the culture. His work is meticulously researched and detailed. That is why it is so great to finally see him have a book all his own.
Many of the essays in The Book of Dart were previously published on his various blogs, but it is great to finally have them all in one place, in print.
Amir Ali Said is on a mission to bring The Best Damn Hip Hop Writing to a bigger audience. He already has a few titles of the series available in print. This latest one is flying off the bookshelves everywhere.
Here are some of the jewels he drops in this book.
Hip-Hop is Inclusive
“Hip hop has always been inclusive. If you spoke another language? Incorporate that into your music. If you came from a unique background? Rap about it or reference it in your art/ music/production. Play an instrument? Do it. Can you sing? Find a way to work that into your output, too. Hip hop, much like the hybrid martial arts philosophy Jeet Kune Do, stresses expressing yourself honestly through your art and being original so that you could gain acceptance on your own terms rather than by copying others. However, rap was also about influence, inspiration, and competition that led to innovation, style evolutions, and the overall growth of the genre.”
That is one of the reasons we love this art form. It welcomes everyone and let’s you pour your true self into it.
But Moves Fast
“Young people typically develop their sense of taste or preferences in music, art, and film or and begin to assert their individuality between the ages of 9 and 14. Incidentally, in urban music, a new generation or wave happens every 3 to 5 years.”
This was something I never really thought about. Dart expands on it throughout the book and it is easy to see that this is, in fact, the case. He backs it up with examples. I love his analysis of hip-hop music and culture. He clearly shows why there is divide in hip-hop and how it started quite early in the culture.
Which Creates Generation Gaps
“It took from the summer of 1973, when hip hop culture had its beginnings in the Bronx, NY, to fall of 1979 before rap music went national; thanks to a the record label Sugar Hill Records. By 1984, Rap had gone mainstream thanks to several Hollywood films and the success of Run-DMC’S debut album, Run-DMC. Between rap’s introduction and it going mainstream, in that 5-year span there were two distinct rap generations split into two factions: the Old School and New School. It is here where we begin to explore the phenomenon of the generation gap in regards to rap music.”
And explore it, he does. You can always count on Dart to go in-depth and drop jewels.
And Provided Us with Two Golden Eras
“The next key component in the present rap generation chasm occurred between 25 and 30 years ago. It’s commonly referred to as the “Golden Era”. Some people believe it that the Golden Era was one continuous period that stretched from 1986 to 1996. Others (myself included) maintain that it was two separate eras, with one transition period in between. The first Golden Era lasting from 1986 to 1989, and the second Golden Era spanning from 1992 to 1996. All of the keys to understanding the widening generation gap in rap music can be found by studying this period.”
The way he defines the eras of hip-hop is absolute gold. I think we should have a common language when it comes to things like old school, golden era, and the various waves of this music. We couldn’t do any better than the language he uses. So get familiar, and let’s talk hip-hop. But first, make sure you read this book and look for what Dart Adams is going to do next. You won’t be disappointed.
Here is the interview I did with him on the radio, if you want to dive deeper.