The 9 Best Music Books of 2022 (So Far)


There has been solid music released this year. Spitters like Cordae, the Dreamville Squad, Benny The Butcher, Nas, Pusha T, Vince Staples, Earl Sweatshirt, and many others have released featured projects, keeping the bar high. Yes, we love sifting through, twisting, and breaking down lyrics, beat selection, and even album art. But we’re also music history nerds. We love reading books written by or about our favorite artists.

Lucky for us, this year has also brought fun and informative reading. Whether you want to understand the social structures that shaped one of the greatest MCs to ever wield a microphone, or the addiction that haunts so many vocalists, or you just want to celebrate the women who have shaped popular culture, there is a book for that. Below, we’ve rounded up the best music books of 2022, so far.

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It Was All A Dream: Biggie and the World That Made It

Journalist Justin Tinsley is the latest documentary filmmaker to be added to the tree of life after The Notorious BIG’s death In May, Tinsely revealed a well-researched biography of the hip-hop legend. Using interviews with people close to Biggie, Tinsely goes the extra mile by examining sociological terrain like poor schools, Ronald Reagan, and the War on Drugs.

Dilla Time: The Life and Afterlife of J Dilla, the Hip-Hop Producer Who Reinvented the Rhythm

J Dilla is probably your favorite producer’s favorite producer. Dan Charnas, author of The Big Payback, sheds a well-deserved light on Dilla’s life and music career with Dilla Time: The Life and Afterlife of J Dilla. Charnas weaves together cultural history, musicology and biology to chronicle Dilla’s journey from his childhood in Detroit to his rise as a Grammy-nominated producer and the rare blood disease that caused his untimely death.

Shine Bright: A Very Personal History of Black Women in Pop

Veteran journalist Danyel Smith adds another line to her resume, not to mention the fabric of American culture, with the recent release of Shine Bright: A Very Personal History of Black Women in Pop, which delves into the achievements of black women in pop culture. music. . Blending cultural history, criticism, and memoir, you’ll be hard pressed to find as entertaining or informative a read on the subject as this one.

For readers who appreciate immersing themselves in fiction, Enter the Blue should find a place on your bookshelf. On a quest to save her teacher who was lying in a coma after collapsing during a performance, Jessie Choi finds herself meeting jazz legends, learning about the history of Blue Note Records, a jazz record label created by Alfred Lion in 1939, and , in the path. , she is forced to confront her deepest fears.

DJ Screw: A Life in Slow Revolution (American Music Series)

DJ Screw single-handedly created a hip-hop culture in Houston. Screw’s invention has inspired superstars like Drake, Kendrick Lamar and A$AP Rocky. And through interviews with family, friends, and Chopped and Screwed nerds, he finally gets his due.

Most Dope: The Extraordinary Life of Mac Miller

Most Dope works as a reminder of Mac’s passion for hip-hop and his skills as an MC. But music journalist Paul Cantor’s new book absolutely stands as a warning about drug addiction.

Didn’t we have almost everything? In defense of Whitney Houston

Gerrick Kennedy dives into the life of one of the greatest female vocalists of all time, Whitney Houston, examining a journey riddled with addiction, abuse, and fame. It’s hardly an untold story at this point, but for Houston fans it will fit nicely on the shelf.

Every Good Boy Gets It Right: A Love Story, In Music Lessons

In Jermey Denk’s poignant new memoir, the pianistic genius details his own coming of age. Using music as a metaphor, Denk reveals universal truths about life, exploring his own piano studies, Julliard’s Ph.D., relationships, and sexual identity through the lens of diligent practice.

Ugly Beauty: Jazz in the 21st Century (Culture, Society, and Politics)

Here, Phil Freeman answers probing questions like: Has streaming diminished the value of music? What significant musical traditions remain to be explored? Are there any sounds that are really off limits? For those who find their minds pondering similar queries, your first stop should be here.

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