The Roots of Rap: 16 Bars on the 4 Pillars of Hip-Hop | by Carole Boston Weatherford #MustReadin2019

The Roots of Rap: 16 Bars on the 4 Pillars of Hip-Hop

The Roots of Rap: 16 Bars on the 4 Pillars of Hip-Hop by Carole Boston Weatherford

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

The Roots of Rap, 16 Bars on the 4 Pillars of Hip-Hop is an incredible work of art with a value that far exceeds its humble price tag. Each page is a brilliant expression of the creativity and passion that is rap music and hip-hop culture. Paying tribute to poetry, street rhymes and phat beats; storytelling in its many artistic forms. From breakdancing and boom boxes, to deejays and block parties; brothers with funky-fresh rhymes and queens rocking the mic. This is an ode to hip-hop that is unlike anything I’ve ever experienced in the picture book format.

The Roots of Rap opens with a note from rapper, DJ, and record producer, Swizz Beatz, encouraging readers to learn more about rap and its roots, starting with the pages of this book. Carole Boston Weatherford delivers. Her words grace this space with ease and finesse. Dropping bars so poetic that she could get down with the dopest MCs. Then there’s Frank Morrison who made this picture book feel like an art gallery had come to life in my hands! Each piece capturing the pulse of the heart of hip-hop, taking me on a trip down memory lane. Time traveling through history on turntables spinning records connecting old school with the new over bits of sampled beats, to the present day where I’m the adult now saying to my kids, “That ain’t new!”

I thoroughly enjoyed this book all the way through to its end where there are author and illustrator notes, a glossary of terms used throughout, and a Hip-Hop Who’s Who. I found it noted on Amazon that this book is for ages 4-8 but I would think that the interest level will go beyond that range. It would be well suited for any elementary, middle, and high school library.

This book is one of my #MustReadin2019 books. Find out more about my participation in this reading challenge here.  It is hosted by There’s a Book for that and you can check out their website here.

View all my reviews

Book Shout-Outs

Carole Boston Weatherford |

Frank Morrison |

Little Bee Books
An imprint of Bonnier Publishing USA

This book is from my #MustReadin2019 list

The Roots of Rap Book Trailer


My Trip Down Memory Lane

Although it wasn’t referenced in the book, The Roots of Rap took me back to the movie Brown Sugar when Dre asks Sidney (at the very end of the film), “When did you fall in love with hip-hop?”

Movie Clip from Brown Sugar
Short Music Clip From Spotify | Love of My Life (An Ode to Hip-Hop) – Erykah Badu, Featuring Common


  1. I keep seeing this book and I was trying to decide what grade levels to buy the book for in our building. Thanks for letting me know who its appropriate for in your review, that was helpful!


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