‘Rapper’s Deluxe’: 50 years of hip-hop history in one Phaidon book
New Phaidon book Rapper’s Deluxe nods, in its name, to the first commercially successful rap song, Rapper’s Delight, released in 1973 by The Sugarhill Gang. This tongue-in-cheek remix sets the tone for the pages ahead, under the guidance of author Dr Todd Boyd, who reflects on the genre’s cultural influence worldwide.
Rapper’s Deluxe: How Hip Hop Made The World
Speaking with Wallpaper*, Boyd reflects upon the inspiration for the new Phaidon book: ‘I was watching the 2022 Super Bowl LVI Halftime Show, headlined by Dr. Dre and Snoop Dogg, live from Sofi Stadium in Inglewood, Calfornia. While watching this, I reflected on the fact that it had been 30 years since I originally moved to Los Angeles, in the shadow of the Rodney King riots.
‘[…]I thought about how much had changed over that extended period of time. The Super Bowl Halftime Show is the most mainstream cultural event in America. There was no way that Dr. Dre and Snoop, or anyone else from hip hop culture would have been given the opportunity to perform at such an event in the early 1990s. But here they were in 2022 standing on the biggest stage, now being embraced across the globe.
‘As I thought about this and thought about how much has changed in America in this time, how hip hop had gone from being ignored, dismissed, ridiculed, and perceived as threatening, to now existing in this exalted place of both celebration and nostalgia, I recognised that I could now tell a story that had been not 30, but actually 50 years in the making. It was bigger than just rap music, though. The time was right to tell the story of hip hop as a 50-year cultural movement.’
Throughout, Rapper’s Deluxe traces the hip hop journey from its 1970s underground origin story to the ever-evolving, more mainstream profile it has today. Along the way, it takes in in Barack Obama’s ascent to the White House, iconic musicians like Biggie Smalls, Lauryn Hill, Jay-Z, and A Tribe Called Quest, and Pharrell Williams making his mark on the fashion world.
Rapper’s Deluxe: How Hip Hop Made The World, by Dr. Todd Boyd, published by Phaidon, £59.95, also available from Amazon and Barnes & Noble