Check the Technique: Liner Notes for Hip-Hop Junkies

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Random House Publishing Group, Mar 12, 2009 - Music - 528 pages
2 Reviews
A Tribe Called Quest • Beastie Boys • De La Soul • Eric B. & Rakim • The Fugees • KRS-One • Pete Rock & CL Smooth • Public Enemy • The Roots • Run-DMC • Wu-Tang Clan • and twenty-five more hip-hop immortals

It’s a sad fact: hip-hop album liners have always been reduced to a list of producer and sample credits, a publicity photo or two, and some hastily composed shout-outs. That’s a damn shame, because few outside the game know about the true creative forces behind influential masterpieces like PE’s It Takes a Nation of Millions. . ., De La’s 3 Feet High and Rising, and Wu-Tang’s Enter the Wu-Tang (36 Chambers). A longtime scribe for the hip-hop nation, Brian Coleman fills this void, and delivers a thrilling, knockout oral history of the albums that define this dynamic and iconoclastic art form.

The format: One chapter, one artist, one album, blow-by-blow and track-by-track, delivered straight from the original sources. Performers, producers, DJs, and b-boys–including Big Daddy Kane, Muggs and B-Real, Biz Markie, RZA, Ice-T, and Wyclef–step to the mic to talk about the influences, environment, equipment, samples, beats, beefs, and surprises that went into making each classic record. Studio craft and street smarts, sonic inspiration and skate ramps, triumph, tragedy, and take-out food–all played their part in creating these essential albums of the hip-hop canon.

Insightful, raucous, and addictive, Check the Technique transports you back to hip-hop’s golden age with the greatest artists of the ’80s and ’90s. This is the book that belongs on the stacks next to your wax.

“Brian Coleman’s writing is a lot like the albums he covers: direct, uproarious, and more than six-fifths genius.”
–Jeff Chang, author of Can’t Stop Won’t Stop

“All producers and hip-hop fans must read this book. It really shows how these albums were made and touches the music fiend in everyone.”
–DJ Evil Dee of Black Moon and Da Beatminerz

“A rarity in mainstream publishing: a truly essential rap history.”
–Ronin Ro, author of Have Gun Will Travel

From the Trade Paperback edition.

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LibraryThing Review

User Review  - sonyagreen - LibraryThing

Some of these albums I knew, some I didn't. It was enjoyable to read about albums I was familiar with. It was also fun to read some of the interviews about albums I didn't know well, because they were ... Read full review

Check the technique: liner notes for hip-hop junkies

User Review  - Not Available - Book Verdict

In his introduction to Coleman's new volume, recording artist Ahmir "?uestlove" Thompson laments the lack of liner notes in hip-hop recordings, and it's this void that Coleman seeks to fill in this ... Read full review


Live cnsw As Nasty as They Wanna
an MIIRKIE Goin Off
BLRCK MOON Enta Do Stage
common sense Resurrection
was EFX Dead Serious
as Ln SOUL 3 Feet High and Rising
omrrm uuosncnouuo Sex Packets 115
O D Firing Squad 17
ONYX Bacdofucup 209
THE mmncvos Bizarre Ride 11 the Pharcyde
POOR nrcrnsous TEQCHERS Holy Intellect
REDMRN whut? Thee Album
THE moors Do You Want More? ??
nunone Raising Hell
Saturday Night The Album

snxc B 5 nm1M Paid in Full
FUGEES The Score
GETO BOYS We Cant Be Stopped
ICET Power
MRRLEY MFIRL In Control volume 1
LVTE Lyte as a Rock 158
s 1c RICK The Great Adventures of Slick Rick
n TRIBE cn so QUEST The Low End Theory
WUTRNG cum Enter the WuTang 36 Chambers

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About the author (2009)

Brian Coleman has been mesmerized and energized by hip-hop since he first heard Run-DMC's "Rock Box" in 1984. Over the past decade, he has written hundreds of reviews and features for a wide variety of publications including Scratch, XXL, Wax Poetics, Complex, CMJWeekly and CMJ Monthly, URB, the Boston Herald, the Miami New Times, the Boston Phoenix, and NY Press. Brian was a nationally recognized jazz publicist with Braithwaite & Katz Communications in Boston.

Questlove, cofounder of hip-hop superstars the Roots and bandleader for Jimmy Fallon’s The Tonight Show, is one of our great cultural commentators—a wide-ranging mind whose interests span from music to politics to race to design to food. He is the author of Somethingtofoodabout: Exploring Creativity with Innovative Chefs. To learn more, visit

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