Can't Stop Won't Stop

A History of the Hip-Hop Generation
Narrated by: Mirron Willis
Length: 19 hrs and 33 mins
4.5 out of 5 stars (99 ratings)

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Publisher's Summary

Forged in the fires of the Bronx and Kingston, Jamaica, hip-hop became the Esperanto of youth rebellion and a generation-defining movement. In a post-civil rights era defined by deindustrialization and globalization, hip-hop crystallized a multiracial, polycultural generation's worldview and transformed American politics and culture. But that epic story has never been told with this kind of breadth, insight, and style.

Based on original interviews with DJs, b-boys, rappers, graffiti writers, activists, and gang members, with unforgettable portraits of many of hip-hop's forebears, founders, and mavericks, including DJ Kool Herc, Afrika Bambaataa, Chuck D, and Ice Cube, Can't Stop Won't Stop chronicles the events, the ideas, the music, and the art that marked the hip-hop generation's rise from the ashes of the '60s into the new millennium. Here is a powerful cultural and social history of the end of the American century and a provocative look into the new world that the hip-hop generation created.

©2005 Jeff Chang; introduction copyright 2005 by DJ Kool Herc (P)2016 Tantor

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  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    1 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars

Audiobook is read by a robot

Would you listen to Can't Stop Won't Stop again? Why?

No, the narrator reads it like a robot. There's no emotion, grit or inflection, just a staccato flow of words. Pretty bad.

What was the most compelling aspect of this narrative?

Nothing.

Who would you have cast as narrator instead of Mirron Willis?

Morgan Freeman, Ice Cube, Larry Fishburne.

Did you have an extreme reaction to this book? Did it make you laugh or cry?

My extreme reaction was that the narrator reads like someone taking elocution classes.

Any additional comments?

I'd like to return this.

1 person found this helpful

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    2 out of 5 stars
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Not About Hip Hop Music

I stopped listening after several chapters, because the narrative does not focus on hip hop, instead covering adjacent historical topics such as Jamaican political history, or specific personalities involved in the NYC gang struggles of the 70s that ostensibly serve as background for the discussion of the music. The narrative spends too much time on these topics without justifying the time spent by explaining the relevance, or spelling out the specific claims being argued. For example, the argument that hip hop begins in Jamaica is a controversial and surprising one that needs a clearer argument. Most would argue that hip hop is a specific product of African-American innovators in NYC. There are some parallels to the history of Jamaican music, but to argue that the roots of hip hop are found there is a stretch, to say the least. The political topics that the narrative touches detract from a focus on the music, and often the author seems to be making generalizing claims that depict the minority culture in an idealized light, castigating law and order as always racist and oppressive, and criminals as mistreated revolutionaries. Maybe it gets better later, but I didn't have the patience. The narrator does a fine job, anyhow.

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Loved every word.

Illustrates the atmosphere and landscape that helped firm the foundation that Hip-Hop was built on.

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    4 out of 5 stars

Great look in black history, unedited.<br />

I got lost a lot throughout this novel. It jumps around from time period to time period making it hard to follow a definite timeline. The history was powerful, compelling and enlightening. The narrator was bland and misspoke a lot. I had the book to follow along to notice these mistakes.

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Narration gets better

The narration for the 1st hour or so is horrible, but thankfully it gets better. The substance of the book is great.

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Great book!

He really did a wonderful job detailing the cultural and social history for each generation. I would love a book from him sometime in the future on today's generation.

I bought the audio book version also but the narrator wasn't good. It felt like it was his first time reading the book and everything sounded like a promo.

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Perfect history... with one exception

Absolutely loved this book. A thoroughly researched history of not only hip hop, but the relation of the music to race and social justice over the last decades. Definitely one of the better books you'll come across whether you are a fan of hip hop or not. But...

For a book that goes into such deep and absorbing detail into even the lesser known parts of the hip hop story, there is a fairly shocking absence. Though mentioned a few times in passing, there is virtually nothing on Tupac or Biggie. The book is so well done that I have to assume this was intentional. But how can you write a definitive history of the art and its affects on politics and culture and not include a chapter on Tupac? Yes, he's occasionally referred to, but if you're going to include a whole chapter on Go Go (which I love) then not having a chapter on one of the most influential people in rap and culture over the last quarter century stands out.

But even with that said, the book is a high recommendation. I enjoyed it so much that I was really looking forward to the detailed chapter on Tupac and Biggie, so perhaps my enjoyment of the book is what made that absence such a letdown.

Hopefully Chang will devote another anthology to just that section alone. I'll be the first to buy a copy.

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    3 out of 5 stars

Disappointing.

I started reading this in college for a class about 8 years ago and finally decided to finish it via audiobook. I'm an old school hip-hop nerd and was hoping for a bunch of behind the scenes stories about guys like Eric B. and Rakim, A Tribe Called Quest, etc. About 20% of this book is that, the rest is about why Republicans are evil. It felt like the entire second half of the book was about the LA riots, which was interesting and informative, but if I wanted to learn more about that, I would have downloaded an audiobook about the LA riots. I understand that it all ties in with "hip-hop activism", but it's weird when an audiobook that is supposedly about a genre of music goes on for hours without mentioning said genre of music. The narrator was solid, I recommend imagining him wearing a beret the whole time you are listening. Don't get me wrong, I learned a lot from this book and there were many interesting anecdotes, but I would recommend this more as a political science book than a book about hip-hop.

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    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars

about so much more than music

never really appreciated the history behind the tunes until reading this. carries the narrative forward all the way to BLM. highly recommended.