Countless hashtags, pop culture panels, hip-hop beefs, and think pieces have been dedicated to the debate of that one quintessential hip-hop question: Who's the greatest rapper alive? In 2014, romantic comedy film Top Five, Chris Rock built a whole movie around the underlying theme of ranking the greatest MC's to ever bless the mic. For die-hard hip-hop heads and fans alike, this conversation is central to the culture.
Now, thanks to Josey Records in Dallas, Texas, these debates are no longer relegated to social media and group texts. With the creation of the "Hip Hop Book Club", the conversation is now happening in the light of day. Structured similarly to a book club the monthly open forum, which started in March, fosters deep discussion of a single work.
Photo: Josey Records
The idea was hatched when friends Kenny Reeves, Terrance Lee, Attah "A.T." Essien and Sobechi "Sobe" Ibekwe, found themselves enthralled in a heated group text discussing the merits of their favorite albums. In an interview with the Dallas Observer, Ibekwe said, "This is what people do all the time – in the barbershop or just sitting around…it always helps when you're in a like-minded community sharing your thoughts."
Recognizing a need for a more robust forum, the three organized the monthly Hip Hop Book Club to educate and entertain those who are heavily influenced by the culture and discuss the musical contributions that various artists have made to the world of hip-hop. With the discussion divided into four segments: influence, visuals, production, and lyrics, nearly 50 people turned out last month to discuss Kendrick Lamar's album good kid, m.A.A.d city.
With recent album releases from the likes of Rick Ross, Drake, and Kendrick Lamar, this Hip-Hop Book Club won't be running out of colorful discussion anytime soon.