Other People’s Property by Jason Tanz

There have been a lot of books written about Hip-Hop but Jason Tanz’s Other People’s Property: A Shadow History of Hip-Hop in White America, takes on the subject from a completely new angle, namely how whites have been influenced by Hip-Hop and how Hip-Hop has been influenced by whites. Tanz starts this task by drawing on his own experiences to investigate the complete white impact, what it means, and how it’s created a litany of subgenres in the culture. Other People’s Property includes a number of diverse stories, including one of a breakdancer who rides the train into a Connecticut suburb to teach kids both how to break and the history of breaking, a chapter that revolves around radio and rap music being delivered to the masses in Wisconsin, and a look at the emergence of white suburban gangsters. The writing style of Other People’s Property is very fluid and easy to read. Tanz interjects a good amount of humor where appropriate, as well, for instance when he writes of one rapper in particular he says “you would have heard him recount his many sexual exploits, including the fact that – and I’m sorry to be the one to have to tell you this – he has had sex with your mother.” This book is for everyone in Hip-Hop, especially those who are worried that what happened to jazz will happen to Hip-Hop. Other People’s Property tackles all the issues and helps complete Hip-Hop’s current story, making it a must read.

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