When Choo nicely lent her copy of Can't Stop, Won't Stop: A History of the Hip-Hop Generation (2005) by Jeff Chang to Dr. M, I started flipping through it, and then just couldn't help reading it before we gave it back.
Chang gives an excellent history of hip-hop (mostly music, but also dance and graffiti) from 1968-2000. He nicely balances historical discussions of the political, social and cultural context of the movement with portraits of individuals and groups that helped shape and change hip-hop through the years. Rather than provide laundry lists of influential artists and albums, Chang picks a handful of key people and gives the reader a longer discussion of their life and work.
In addition, there are some great photographs, and the book has a nice size and shape (is it weird that I sometimes love how a book feels in my hands even more than I love the book itself?)
I learned a thing or two from this book, and would totally recommend it to anyone with even a passing interest in hip-hop culture.
[Check out Jeff Chang's page here for more information on this book, his other projects, and the author himself.]