Cover image for Hip hop world
Hip hop world

Publication Information:
Berkeley, CA : Groundwood Books, c2009.
Physical Description:
144 p. ; 18 cm.
The audacity of hip hop -- The old school and the elements -- What's race got to do with it? -- Hip hop's economic stimulus plan -- Hip hop herstory and pride rap -- Rap's social conscience -- The globalization of hip hop -- Black to the future -- International hip hop timeline.
Reading Level:
NC 1430 L Lexile
Examines the development and characteristics of hip-hop, describing its inspiration from Puerto Rico, Cuba, and Jamaica, as well as its racial, multicultural, and multilingual influences.


Material Type
Call Number
Item Available
Book 782.421649 DAL 1 1
Book 782.421649 DAL 1 1

On Order



In Hip Hop World, Dalton Higgins comprehensively examines the hip hop scene as it exists throughout the world. The book reveals the form's musical inspirations from Trinidad, Puerto Rico, Cuba, Jamaica, African American sex satirists, comedians, civil rights-fuelled funk musicians, spoken word luminaries, and dub and Nuyorican poetry. Author Higgins examines hip hop's racial, multicultural, and multilingual listening audiences, the development of global rap slanguage and its influence on standard English lexicons, and hip hop herstory and cultural taboos around sexuality. He highlights the burgeoning Aboriginal hip hop scenes in Canada and Australia, and movements in colleges across North America and Europe that use hip hop lyrics and artistry to help engage students in learning. Critical of hip hopsters' use of language, the cult of bling, violence, and money, this book takes readers beyond a superficial look and delves into all the issues surrounding this form. Higgins taps into his own powers of pop culture prognostication to predict the future of the genre and the youth culture that spawned it, as this irresistible musical and cultural form spreads literally to the furthest reaches of humanity.

Author Notes

Dalton Higgins is an author, publicist, National Magazine Award-winning journalist and festival producer whose six books and 500+ concert presentations since 2002 have taken him to Denmark, Australia, France, Colombia, Spain, Curaçao, Germany, Cuba, England and many parts of the United States. His biography of rapper Drake, Far From Over, is carried in Cleveland's Rock & Roll Hall of Fame, and his Hip Hop World book is carried in Harvard University's hip hop archive. His latest book, Rap N' Roll, is a collection of non-fiction essays that delve into a world where race, technology, music and counterculture collide. Higgins has written essays and educational lesson plans for numerous academic textbooks focused on technology, pop culture and hip hop, including iSkills: From Txt To Talk and Rhymes to Re-Education, and he just wrote a chapter for a forthcoming anthology about indigeneity and blackness in hip hop culture.

Jane Springer is the author of Genocide, part of the Groundwork Guides series for which she is also the series editor. She is a consultant in international development and has lived and worked in Mozambique and India. She is the author of Listen to Us: The World's Working Children and translator of the Portuguese-language books Nest Egg and Tales from the Amazon. Jane Springer lives in Toronto.

Reviews 3

School Library Journal Review

Adult/High School-Higgins delivers a thoughtful examination of the globalization of hip-hop. Taking a thematic approach, he examines diverse topics relevant to the music: its back-and-forth ties to drug and gang culture, its preoccupation with money and bling, its overly sexual portrayal of women, issues of race, and more. Early chapters spell out hip-hop's early influences, but Higgins assumes readers have at least some familiarity with the superstars of the industry. Several short interviews with diverse talents like Chicago's The Cool Kids and South African rapper Tumi Molekane go a long way to highlight and reinforce Higgins's concepts. By the end of the book, the author's strong-minded thesis becomes clear: while the quality and importance of hip-hop is diminishing in the West, it is becoming one of the largest and most powerful artistic forces for self-expression and societal change in places like China, Saudi Arabia, and Aboriginal nations inside Canada and Australia. Although one-sided, Higgins's arguments and examples are sure to cause debate. The volume closes with a notes section that highlights works cited in each chapter. Although not a replacement for historical overviews like Jeff Chang's Can't Stop, Won't Stop (St. Martin's, 2005), Hip Hop World is an excellent title to place alongside it so fans both new and old can look at this art form in a serious, critical way.-Matthew L. Moffett, Pohick Regional Library, Burke, VA (c) Copyright 2010. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.

Kirkus Review

A solid addition to the Groundwork Guide series, this overview of hip-hop covers an impressive amount of ground and spans the landscape of the art form's global origins and modern existence. In a work of nonfiction that reads something like a combination of academic treatise and an article in a music magazine, Higgins's journalistic roots shine through, and the pithy, unapologetically political narrative that results is sure to engage readers. There are quirks that may cause some to question for whom this guide is intendedas, for example, when the author parenthetically explains that the term "wack" means "not good," but later leaves the phrase "publishing cottage industry" undefined. However, the examination of issues of co-optation, race, sex, sexual orientation, religion and class (among others) in the field of hip-hop is provocative, intelligent and well-sourced. Interviews with a wide range of artists, informational sidebars about particular events and phenomena, a global timeline and lists of required reading and viewing round things out nicely. (Nonfiction. 12 up) Copyright Kirkus Reviews, used with permission.

Booklist Review

Unique among youth titles for its international scope, sociological inquiry, and insider's view, this survey of global hip-hop music, part of the Groundwork Guides series, will satisfy both hard-core fans and newcomers alike. Journalist Higgins reaches deeply into hip-hop's roots, and teens (and adults) will be fascinated by the connections that he draws between today's music and forms such as Extempo Calypso, a 1920s style popular in Trinidad and Tobago. Also fascinating is his survey of the contemporary hip-hop scene, far off the North American mainstream media's radar, from Morocco to Cuba to South Africa. Higgins casts a frank, critical eye on hip-hop's impact, including its notorious sexism and homophobia, as well as the influence of religion and social justice on the movement. The author is upfront about his biases and beliefs ( We can all thank Jah for blessing the world with YouTube ), but for many readers, that personal candor will only add to the book's appeal. Time lines, interviews, and sidebars complete this must-have choice for older readers seeking hip-hop knowledge.--Engberg, Gillian Copyright 2009 Booklist