Can’t Stop Won’t Stop (Young Adult Edition): A Hip-Hop History

Macmillan Audio. Mar. 2021. 1,230p. $26.99. ISBN 9781250756282.
Gr 8 Up–Over a decade and a half after its 2005 publication, the young readers edition of historian/journalist/music critic Chang’s seminal Can’t Stop Won’t Stop: A History of the Hip-Hop Generation seems almost overdue. The enhanced collaboration with historian/journalist/professor Cook adds new generations of makers and shakers, resulting in an enlightening, entertaining, sobering masterpiece. Covering over a half-century of history from the 1960s through the COVID-19 pandemic, Chang and Cook provide a stunning political, socioeconomic, musical melding. The audiobook, unfortunately, is disheartening. The duo alternates voicing the four “Loops,” with Chang’s steady gravitas making him the stronger narrator. Cook’s passionate delivery occasionally hampers his enunciation; mispronunciations (“Sa-I-Gu,” for example) loom. The most egregious blunders belong to the production team, with countless jarring insertions reminiscent of spotty cell connections. And why awkwardly embed just phrases—“with its redbrick buildings,” “from San Fernando Valley”—instead of re-recording full sentences?
VERDICT For sound purists, choose the page.

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