Stereogum: Bring That Beat Back

How sampling remade hip-hop over forty years, from pioneering superstar Grandmaster Flash through crate-digging preservationist and innovator Madlib

Madlib had a problem: He didn’t like the sound of his own voice. This was more a personal idiosyncracy than the kind of weakness that stood out to others, and even during his early Lootpack years he sounded perfectly at home over his beats. His MCing was personable and heavy on simple but evocative imagery — conscious without preachiness, funny without buffoonery, and frequently quotable. (A highlight from Lootpack’s “Hityawitdat”: “I drop a pound of discussion and drop a rhyme to leave you with a concussion/ And have your whole crew commence to hushin’.”) There was something in his flow, in his voice, that didn’t overexert itself too much: If anything, he sounded positively conversational, hitting vocal emphases in ways that shifted from line to meter-altering line as a counter-effect to his own beats’ steadiness.


Read the entire excerpt.

University of Minnesota Press Podcast

More than two dozen essays of Indigenous resistance to the privatization and allotment of Indigenous lands

Allotment Stories: Daniel Heath Justice and Jean M. O'Brien.

A fascinating and unprecedented ethnography of animal sanctuaries in the United States

Saving AnimalsElan Abrell and Kathryn (Katie) Gillespie on sanctuary, care, ethics.

How popular debates about the so-called digital generation mediate anxieties about labor and life in twenty-first-century America

Making creative laborers for a precarious economy: Josef Nguyen, Carly Kocurek, and Patrick LeMieux.



Browse our Fall/Winter 2022-23 catalog for exciting forthcoming books!

Viewing options:

Web collection

PDF (with accessibility features)