Memoir of the rapper and actor Common, as told to Adam Bradley.
New York Times bestseller
Winner of the 2012 Street Lit Book Award
“Dear Reader: When I was eighteen months old, my mother and I were kidnapped at gunpoint. My father held the gun.” So begins Common’s gripping memoir, which takes readers from his South Side Chicago upbringing to his rise in the hip hop game to his successful move into acting. Maya Angelou calls it a “magnificent memoir.”
Named a Best Book of 2010 by: New York Magazine The Village Voice The New England Book Festival The San Francisco Book Festival The Book of the Year Awards
“Every great literature deserves a great anthology. Rap finally has its own,” Chuck D writes in the afterword to The Anthology of Rap. The Anthology of Rap gathers nearly 300 of the greatest rhymes of all time, from Kurtis Blow to Drake and everyone in between.
"This thrilling (but controversial) textual monument to a thrilling (but controversial) oral tradition wrestles the genre's greatest lyricists out of the airwaves and into cold print."— Sam Anderson, New York Magazine, "The Year in Books"
“This landmark work chronicles an earth-shattering movement with deep roots.” — The New York Times Book Review
“The Anthology of Rap is among the best books of its kind ever published.” — Dan Chiasson, The New York Review of Books
“As ambitious and intelligent as anyone might want, and more enjoyable than anyone might think. ...If you want to hear how the latter part of the twentieth century sounded, you can't do better than this book.”— Kevin Young, Bookforum
"For the reader who’s really interested in modern poetics a profitable week or three could be spent sitting with The Anthology of Rap."— Will Self, The Times
"The Anthology of Rap is an instant classic. It brings together the lyric poetry of some of the greatest artists of our time. Hip Hop is here to stay and rap lives forever—on the stage and now on the page!"— Cornel West
Named a “Best Book of 2010” by The Root Named one of the year’s best works of outsider fiction by NPR Named one of “Oprah’s Books to Watch”
“The publication of this behemoth compilation of Ellison’s efforts toward his never-finished second novel is assuredly an event [. . . .] The editors have performed a true feat of literary archeology in gathering an astounding bulk of prose that’s highly attuned to the deeply divided American condition.”—Publisher’s Weekly
Over a half-century in the making, Three Days Before the Shooting. . . gathers the multiple manuscripts of Ralph Ellison’s unfinished, untitled second novel. After the 1952 publication of Invisible Man, his classic novel of race and identity, Ellison spent the remainder of his life laboring over a novel that he hoped might encompass the totality of the American experience. With his death in 1994, Ellison left behind thousands of pages of drafts, fragments, and notes. Over the next sixteen years, two scholars—Ellison’s literary executor, John F. Callahan, and Callahan’s former student, Adam Bradley—undertook the daunting task of piecing together Ellison’s high-literary jigsaw puzzle. To read more about the remarkable story of literary sleuthing and personal discovery, see the cover story in the Washington Post magazine (LINK HERE).
“Are you a hip-hop fan who can’t tell assonance from alliteration? An English major who doesn’t know Biggie from Tupac? Adam Bradley’s Book of Rhymes is a crash course for you. . . [A] triumph of jargon free scrutiny.” — The New York Times
“Adam Bradley’s Book of Rhymes is a marvelous exploration into the poetic genius of rap and the cultural gravity of hip hop. His analysis is subtle, sophisticated and soulful!” — Cornel West
“Bradley delivers the intellectual dynamite with this astonishingly researched, passionately argued glove-across-the-face challenge to traditional hip hop scholarship. Superb on every level, a revelation and a joy to read.” — Junot Díaz
Book of Rhymes tells the story of hip hop through the rhythms, rhymes, and similes that have made rap music the most widely-disseminated poetry in the history of the world. “Rap is poetry,” Bradley writes, “but its popularity relies in part on people not recognizing it as such.” Bradley equips readers with the tools to engage rap where it is born—in the pages of their favorite MC’s book of rhymes. In 2013 the University of Pennsylvania selected Book of Rhymes as required summer reading for all entering students.
“Adam Bradley has made literary criticism interesting again.” — Ishmael Reed
“Ralph Ellison in Progress will quickly stand as the most important book on Ellison as a working writer, both for the case it makes in explanation of his notorious inability to finish his second novel and for tracing the long arc of his career from Invisible Man through the fascinating mass of manuscript materials posthumously published under the title Three Days Before the Shooting....”— Eric Sundquist
“Adam Bradley’s brilliant work of literary archaeology delivers revelations that illuminate Ralph Ellison's life, philosophy, and fiction. If you have not read Ralph Ellison in Progress, you cannot say you understand the genius that guided this giant of American literature.”— Charles Johnson
Ralph Ellison In Progress surveys the grand geography of Ellison’s unfinished novel while reimaging the more familiar, but often misunderstood, territory of Invisible Man. Drawing from both novels’ rich textual archives—the handwritten journals, typescripts, computer drafts, and notes that comprise his fiction—Bradley argues that Ellison becomes most visible to us when we see him through the process of his craft and composition.
The Poetry of Pop argues for looking at the lyrics to pop songs with close attention. It asks you to take pop music seriously—without being too serious about it. By focusing on matters of form—rhythm, rhyme, and figurative language—as well as matters of performance—voice, style, and story—it offers a new way of listening to familiar sounds. The Poetry of Pop reaches across genres, from Willie Nelson’s outlaw country classics to Bob Dylan’s folk rock opuses to Beyoncé’s irresistible R&B rhythms and beyond. Look for the book in late 2016, published by Yale University Press. And in the meantime, check back here for teasers of what’s to come.