The booklets included with old vinyl records or CDs tell a story. It’s not a story of being frayed or losing that ‘new book smell’, but a story of the adventure the artists had making the album itself. Liner notes.

Check The Technique Vol. 2 by music journalist Brian Coleman is the next testament to what can be considered a bible for hip-hop historians.

Albums and tracks spanning from Wild Style Breakbeats from 1981 to Mos Def and Talib Kweli’s 1998 collaboration Black Star are all in here. Other classic albums such as Ice Cube’s AmeriKKKa’s Most Wanted, Raekwon’s debut Only Built 4 Cuban Linx and Black Sheep’s A Wolf In Sheep’s Clothing are among the 25 thoroughly discussed in this 544-page book.

With over 80 interviews, 350 photos and 325 songs being dissected, there is something for every hip-hop fan.

With over 80 interviews, 350 photos and 325 songs being dissected, there is something for every hip-hop fan. There are lots of small details that can’t be found anywhere on Google. For example, DJ Jazzy Jeff used to go by the name Mixmaster Jeff, but changed it to Jazzy so he could fit his name on a shirt. Learn about how DJ Jazzy Jeff got into DJing when he never owned a pair of turntables, and how he met Will Smith.

With 25 chapters (one for every album), this book isn’t necessarily something everybody will read from front to back in one shot. With interviews from various artists and producers for each track on the 25 albums in this book, there is a lot of information to take in. With that said, it serves as an excellent guide to get further background information on favourite hip-hop albums you, or your favourite artists, grew up on. This book pieces together the stories Twitter and Instagram weren’t around to help tell.

Coleman has many written works surrounding hip-hop already. The first volume of the Check The Technique series came out in 2007. Before that, in 2005, he wrote Rakim Told Me, another book going in-depth with certain hip-hop albums from the ’80s.

Matt Anness jumped into writing for Urbanology Magazine after completing a three-year Journalism Print & Broadcasting course at Durham College. Matt has done photography and reviewed live shows of artists like Elton John, Shawn Desman, Marianas Trench and Down With Webster. To date, Matt has written for The Chronicle (Durham College/UOIT newspaper), made video feature pieces, which have aired on television, and been featured on Riot Radio many times.

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