Brian Coleman
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(Photo by Carina Mastrocola,

Brian Coleman is the author of Check the Technique: Liner Notes for Hip-Hop Junkies (Random House/Villard, 2007) and Rakim Told Me: Hip-Hop Wax Facts, Straight from the Original Artists (Wax Facts Press, 2005). Over the past decade he has written extensively about the hip-hop artform for publications such as: Scratch, URB, Wax Poetics, CMJ Weekly and Monthly, Complex, Boston Herald, Boston, New York and Philadelphia Metro, Boston Phoenix, XXL, Source, and NY Press. He has lived in Boston since 1988.


Check the Technique: Liner Notes for Hip-Hop Junkies
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Paperback: 528 pages
Publisher: Villard (June 12, 2007)
Language: English
ISBN-10: 0812977750

Read a selection from this book

“Brian Coleman’s writing is a lot like the albums he covers: direct, uproarious and more than six-fifths genius.”
– Jeff Chang, author of Can’t Stop Won’t Stop and editor of Total Chaos

“Check the Technique is a book that all producers and hip-hop fans must read. It really shows how these albums were made and touches the music fiend in everyone.”
– DJ Evil Dee (Black Moon and Da Beatminerz)

“Check the Technique is a truly essential rap history… epic, enthralling and long-overdue…”
– Ronin Ro, author of Raising Hell and Have Gun Will Travel

“Check the Technique is a book that’s been a long time coming.”
– Ahmir “?uestlove” Thompson of the Roots

Hip-hop fans, mark your calendars for the June 12, 2007 release of Check the Technique: Liner Notes for Hip-Hop Junkies (Random House / Villard), by veteran music journalist Brian Coleman.

Presenting never-before-told, behind-the-scenes histories ranging from influential ‘80s masterpieces De La Soul’s 3 Feet High and Rising and Public Enemy’s It Takes A Nation of Millions To Hold Us Back to ‘90s classics like the Fugees’ The Score and the Beastie Boys’ Check Your Head, the book’s approach is one that Coleman calls Invisible Liner Notes – retracing the story of an album step by step, in collaboration with the artists themselves. Weighing in at over 500 pages, the 36-chapter book includes lively, in-depth, provocative interviews with 75 artists, DJs, producers and industry insiders. [See below for full chapter list]

As Coleman explains, “My goal with Check the Technique is to let people eavesdrop on some amazing conversations I’ve had with hip-hop legends over the years. To me, the most important thing about the book is that the facts, stories and opinions come from the artists themselves. Hip-hop artists have a certain image on video screens and in press-junket interviews, but Check the Technique does its best to strip all of that away and talk to these innovators as people, with respect and fan-fueled curiosity. My hope is that readers will walk away feeling that it was one of the most entertaining music guidebooks they’ve ever read.”

Coleman’s self-published 2005 book, Rakim Told Me: Hip-Hop Wax Facts, Straight from the Original Artists,received worldwide praise from press, artists, industry insiders and around-the-way rap fans alike. “This is the hip-hop book of 2005” – Paine, “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, “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, Weekly Dig. “If you like reading about hip-hop as much as you like listening to it, there are few better literary companions to the music.” – Spine Magazine (UK).


Rakim Told Me: Wax Facts Straight from the Original Artists--The '80s.
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Paperback: 240 pages
Publisher: Wax Facts Press (April 1, 2005)
Language: English
ISBN-10: 0976622505

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.


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