Questlove To Honor 50 Years Of Hip-Hop With New Book, ‘Hip-Hop Is History’

Questlove will honor 50 years of hip-hop with his new book, Hip-Hop is History, slated for release next year.

Set for release in early 2024, Hip-Hop Is History, will have a similar format to The Roots drummer’s first book, Music is History, an encyclopedia of significant moments in music for every year since his birth.

The musician will publish the book under his own AUWA Books since “no one else is writing it.”

“I was 8 years old when ‘Rapper’s Delight came out,” Questlove told variety. “To be a living witness for every first in hip-hop and have an exact memory of it.”

Recalling his introduction to hip-hop when he and his sister stayed at their grandmother’s house while their parents were on tour, a young Questlove, born Ahmir K. Thompson, heard The Sugarhill Gang’s “Rapper’s Delight” on his grandmother’s clock radio.

“I used to record songs off the radio and had Radio Shack cassettes always on stand-by,” the music producer shared of his early days listening to DJ Dr. Perry Johnson on Philadelphia’s WDAS-FM. “When he said that, ‘This was going to be magic,’ I was ready to tape.”

Aside from his books, Questlove produces hip-hop sets for shows like the Grammys and tours and performs while running the music on The Tonight Show with Jimmy Fallon. 

Questlove wants “to beg Black people to understand that we have legacy,” he said.

“There is a nihilistic attitude around hip-hop, and I feel like Laurence Fishburne at the end of [Spike Lee’s 1988 film] School Daze yelling, ‘Wake up!’”

“No one asked me to, but I’m carrying that burden. And for all those who are present and accounted for, there is something to celebrate with hip hop’s 50th,” he continued.

“There may be a lot of water under that bridge,” he said. “Our disdain for looking in the rearview mirror is entrenched in pain and trauma. But as a child of legacy and nostalgia culture, I want to be the GPS for people to celebrate that thing called hip-hop.”


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