Check the Technique: Liner Notes for Hip-Hop Junkies
by Brian Colman
Artists use lyrics to paint pictures. They use lyrics to spread messages. Their words define what they are trying to do and why they make music in the first place. It is usually a complicated path that brings an artist to create a song, and there is a story behind the story being told through the lyrics.
The world of hip-hop was often left behind when it came to defining a song’s inspiration. Traditionally, hip-hop has been taken at face value, and many albums were left without liner notes or a key to the real deal behind these tales. Now, Brian Coleman’s book Check the Technique examines the story behind the music of 36 classic hip-hop albums, coming straight from the artists who made them.
The line-up for Check the Technique is a who’s who of superstars in the hip-hop era. Old school favorites such as Public Enemy, Run DMC, and De La Soul speak out about their tunes. The new class including the Wu-Tang Clan, The Roots, and The Fugees chime in, too.
Coleman takes the very simple approach of letting the artist dissect some of the greatest hip-hop albums of all time track by track, giving the inside scoop on where the music began and what was happening with the group at that time. The style is direct and has little filler. It’s a bevy of information for the genre lovers, an in-depth study of the scene.
While the book is sure to be adored by enthusiasts, the non-fanatics may tire of the repetitive style. Check the Technique reads more like reference material than a real page-turner, but it finally allows hip-hop to tell its songwriters’ tales.
Random House: www.randomhouse.com