Why the hell didn't hip-hop albums ever have liner notes?!!??

For years, hip-hop fans have been robbed of context and background when buying and enjoying classic albums from the Golden Age: the 1980s. Rakim Told Me brings you these invisible liner notes, one album at a time, with new angles and engaging stories. 21 albums are examined in-depth, and facts are uncovered with the turn of every page.

Journalist Brian Coleman has, over the past decade, immersed himself in and written about the hip-hop artform as a columnist for national magazines like XXL, Scratch,CMJ and URB. In this volume, The '80s, he digs deep, one-on-one, with legendary artists like Rakim, De La Soul, Ice-T, Public Enemy, KRS-One, Run-DMC, Slick Rick, Too $hort and many more. Rakim Told Me lets you dive head-first into the world of your favorite hip-hop artists and the classic albums they produced.

These are pure wax facts straight from the original artists, brought to the surface again after years of invisibility. So dig out your turntable, clean off your Zulu Nation medallion, crack open a chapter, and relive hip-hop's most creative and captivating era.

[ BOLD - chapter only available in Rakim Told Me, not included in Check the Technique ]

2 Live Crew As Nasty As They Wanna Be
Big Daddy Kane Long Live the Kane
Biz Markie Goin' Off
Boogie Down Productions Criminal Minded
Dana Dane Dana Dane With Fame
De La Soul 3 Feet High And Rising
The D.O.C. No One Can Do It Better
EPMD Strictly Business
Eric B & Rakim Paid In Full
Ice-T Power
Jungle Brothers Straight Out The Jungle
Mantronix The Album
Marley Marl In Control Volume 1
MC Lyte Lyte As A Rock
Public Enemy It Takes A Nation of Millions to Hold Us Back
Run-DMC Raising Hell
Schoolly D Saturday Night: The Album
Slick Rick The Great Adventures of Slick Rick
Special Ed Youngest In Charge
Too $hort Life Is… Too $hort
Ultramagnetic MCs Critical Beatdown

"Rock historiography is full of lore about the making of canonical albums, but there hasn't been much like that for the rap world - until now."
-Michaelangelo Matos, VillageVoice.com

"Lamenting the fact that rap albums lack liner notes, author Brian Coleman takes matters into his own hands, revisiting 21 landmark releases to fillin the anecdotes."
-Steve Kandell, Blender

"… an excellent new hip-hop book… Coleman has that vet's awareness to frame each album's story and let the artists' own quotes tell the tale."
Mike Wolf, Time Out New York

"This is the hip-hop book of 2005"
-Jake Paine, AllHipHop.com.

"If Rakim Told Me was just a book about classic hip-hop records, it would be more than enough. But it's better than that: every page of this book intimately reveals the struggle, the craft, and the genius of some of the most brilliant artists in any genre of the last two decades. I carry this book around like a bible."
-Jeff Chang, author of Can't Stop Won't Stop: A History of the Hip-Hop Generation

"Coleman's project captures the intoxicating mix of genius, charisma and arrogance that's personified by the superintendents of old-school hip-hop… Ounce for ounce, Rakim Told Me is one of the most intimate glances at the magic behind hip-hop that I've ever experienced."
Chris Faraone, Boston's Weekly Dig

"Envisioned as a replacement for the non-existent liner notes to 21 classic golden-age hip-hop albums, Brian Coleman's Rakim Told Me is essential reading for fans of the old school."
Carly Carioli, Boston Phoenix

"The idea behind Rakim Told Me is right on the money - to provide liner notes for landmark Golden Era albums that never had them. Not only were these albums important in their day, but they've continued to grow in importance - which means that the need for loving and intelligent analysis of them has also continued to grow."
Bill Adler, author of Tougher Than Leather: The Rise of Run-DMC

"Rakim Told Me presses rewind to a time when music blew your mind and compiles what writers like Nelson George, David Toop and Bonz Malone were never invited to contribute, offering insightful artist interviews and observations on genre-defining classics… One of the most valuable hip-hop books around. If you like reading about hip-hop as much as you like listening to it, there are few better literary companions to the music."
Zaid, Spine Magazine (UK)

"Rakim Told Me answered all the questions I had in my head back when I first heard these albums, and at the same time raised new ones. I bought 10 copies so I could spread the word like a religious zealot."
Peanut Butter Wolf, Stones Throw Records

"It's sort of like Please Kill Me [the punk rock oral history edited by Legs McNeil] for 'Yo! MTV Raps' fans, a throwback to the good old sample-saturated days when EPMD could nick an Eric Clapton riff without clearing the rights."
Camille Dodero, Boston Phoenix

"'Why the hell didn't hip-hop albums ever have liner notes?' asks Brian Coleman. A damn good question, one that deserves this damn good book in response.
Rakim Told Me, an indispensable book of 'invisible liner notes' for twenty-one classic albums from the Golden Age of hip-hop ('Paid in Full', '3 Feet High and Rising', 'Straight Out the Jungle', 'It Takes a Nation of Millions' and the mighty 'Criminal Minded', for example), is here to make redress…. addictive, witty … It's a valuable slab of research and it's as difficult to put down as a bag of pistachios."
Jonah Colon, Straight No Chaser (UK)

"Une mine d'informations pour tous les nostalgiques de cette époque doree." [Rough translation: "A mine of information for anyone nostalgic for this era [the '80s]."]
Theophile Haumesser, Tyler Magazine (France)

"This is a killer book. Brings it back to pause tapes and dad's records... it's all about the science behind the gold"
DJ Cut Chemist

"Neither a straight musical analysis nor a total historical or reflective study, Coleman selects 21 albums from rap's past and re-examines them, operating in the same fashion that liner note writers have done for decades with jazz, blues and other genres… [he] blends personal encounters, memories, interview snippets, commentary and coverage, offering rap fans the same type of intricate breakdowns and stylistic dissection that's always been commonplace among music junkies."
Ron Wynn, Nashville City Paper

"What makes the book different than the handful of other books doing the same thing is that the majority of the text here comes straight from the artists' mouths… It's an amazing book, and a great contribution to the history of the music."

"His choice of albums is exceptional, covering a range of years, styles and personalities… [a] rare peek into history. Rakim Told Me falls somewhere between reference book and entertainment rag. The concise sections make it perfect for short sittings. It's thorough from cover to cover, and leaves you thirsting for more stories about the records many of us remember hearing back in the day, and the rest hear spoken of as legend. We're already on the lookout for Volume 2."
Phat Matt, Elemental

"From 'It Takes A Nation of Millions,' to 'Life Is Too Short,' to 'Critical Beatdown,' and from East, West and everywhere in-between, this book covers it all and is a piece of hip-hop history."
JtothaI, ThaFormula.com

"Coleman's exhaustive collection is a sure shot for hip-hop junkies."
Craig Smith, URB

"The premise is simple: interview golden-era hip-hop icons such as Public Enemy, Kool Keith, and of course Rakim, and get a behind-the-scenes peek at the creation of some of hip-hop's most influential albums… The book is essentially an extension of Coleman's 'Classic Material' column for hip-hop rag XXL and retains that column's preference for authorial transparency and letting the subjects speak for themselves…. A quick, fun read."
Sam Chennault, Miami New Times

"Rakim Told Me is simply one of the best books I've ever read on hip-hop. There's not a book out there that has such an overwhelming proportion of artists' voices, versus the interviewer/analyst's voice."
Ted S, customer

"No garbage about their favorite colors - just the important, interesting stuff."
Rappcats.com (Quasimoto / Madlib website)

"This book hit me harder than when DJ Cash Money and Marvelous sampled Tears for Fears."
Esoteric (of 7L & Esoteric)

 "A really incredible book… Not only does it include the artists' voices on how they made the album, but each chapter also breaks down the LP in question, almost song by song."
Oliver Wang (editor of "Classic Material: The Hip-Hop Album Guide"), Poplicks.com

"I went right to the page you tabbed [on Ultramagnetic MCs] and was laughing out loud at the commentary on Ultra. Loved it, [and it] made me reminisce about bugging out with [Kool] Keith at Godfather Don's crib and at WKCR."
Bobbito Garcia