Mark Katz gives appropriate shout-outs to Bill Brewster and Frank Broughton,Â Jim Fricke and Charlie Ahearn, as well as Jeff Chang for their tomes on hip-hop culture and its early beginnings. But to again discuss the inception of the hip-hop DJ that books such asÂ Last Night a DJ Saved My LifeÂ (1999),Â Yes Yes Ya’ll (2002) andÂ Can’t Stop Won’t StopÂ (2005) have already covered in various amounts of detail, makes Katz –an Associate Professor of Music at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, appear, well, repetitive in many respects.
But I digress, where other books simply told tales of those early years in the 1970’s, to include talks on, with and about the emcee, graffiti, b-boys and the DJ, Groove MusicÂ uses web 2.0 technology to showcase the art and culture in 2012.
Digital technology is the major difference with this book. Though Katz still covers the humble start of a culture that’s now massively appealing –he also incorporates a companion website that includes an extensive collection of audio, Â video and interview clips by many of the greatest DJs in hip-hop history. Think: Afrika Bambaataa, Kool Herc, Grandmaster Caz, Flash, Grand Wizzard Theodore, Grandmixer D.ST, Q-Bert, Shadow, A-Trak, Jazzy Jeff, Questlove –you name them, they’re a part of Groove Music.
As a music historian, Katz’s research does come off highly academic but the passion, dedication and detail for which he has writtenÂ Groove Music,Â makes it a worthwhile read for hip-hop heads and general music lovers alike.
Mark Katz is also a violinist, radio DJ and aspiring turntablist.