A South Bronx originated subculture with a powerful sound that surpassed New York City and eventually infiltrated the entire country — Hip-Hop united different regions through music and style, and grew into a lifestyle within itself. Fans of Hip-Hop culture are quite familiar with the innovators and the greats in which some have come and gone and the others that are legendary in their own right and will forever be household names. Yet, super fans of Hip-Hop have delved deep beyond the surface of this culture and informed themselves on what exactly makes up Hip-Hop in it’s entirety.
With enough research fans will have found that Hip-Hop is characterized by five key elements: MCing, DJing, B-Boying, graffiti, and the knowledge and understanding of the culture overall. Furthermore, true Hip-Hop heads know that thoroughly studying the music is essential to Hip-Hop’s fifth element of being knowledgeable and understanding such an ever-changing culture.
Good Culture, a socialite group (Attah “A.T.” Essien, Kenny Reeves, Terrance “T. Lee” Lee, and Sobechi “Sobe” Ibekwe) based out of Dallas, TX has found a way to unite music lovers over classic albums, dialogue, and the fifth element, knowledge and understanding. Good Culture has created the first ever Hip-Hop Book Club. Contrary to popular belief, this book club does not involve books whatsoever —strictly albums.
The Hip-Hop Book Club is a forum for people to come together and breakdown, discuss, debate, and even sometimes argue pivotal Hip Hop albums. An idea that originated in a GroupMe chat based off the pursuit of running through Jay Z’s entire discography, Good Culture planted the seed and the idea grew into something much bigger in which the group went from planning to discuss such albums at one of the group members house and eventually figuring how dope it would be to actually turn such an idea into an event where everybody in Dallas could come together and discuss this album with them, amongst other albums that would surely spark meaningful conversation.
To help guide the conversation Good Culture has come up with the four pillars of the Hip-Hop Book Club which include:
INFLUENCE – How each album is influential to the culture, how it may have influenced artist(s) who came after or during it’s particular era, and how it has influenced the listeners personally.
VISUAL – The visuals of the album, marketing visuals, the album cover itself, music videos that were released apart of the albums tracklist, and how the songs of the album may have painted a particular picture in your head.
PRODUCTION – the beats, mixing, and mastering, and how the production illustrates where the artist or the producer(s) of the album were trying to take the album.
LYRICS – what the artist meant to say, where each artist was going with the songs of choice, and all significant metaphors, similes, and symbolism.
Good Culture & the Hip-Hop Book Club have hosted three official book club meetings thus far in which they covered Kendrick Lamar’s Good Kid M.A.A.D. City, Jay Z’s Reasonable Doubt, and Clipse’s Lord Willing. Good Culture stated, “We want to be in the position where we can take this on the road and go to different cities and continue to educate people and hopefully end up on some school campuses.”
The next Hip-Hop Book Club meeting will be on June 26th from 7-8:30pm at Josey Records in Dallas, TX covering Kanye’s infamous College Dropout album.
The men of Good Culture made it clear, “Each book club meeting always makes us go back and listen to the album to identify what stood out during the meeting, and of course we always grow a different appreciation for the album without a doubt”.
All photos by Elyas Ibrahim.