Brian Coleman is the author of several of the most important Hip Hop related tomes of the past decade, including “Rakim Told Me” and “Check The Technique”. This time he sets out to create what is by far his most ambitious project yet, “Check The Technique 2”. This monster of a book is 544 pages of some of the greatest minutiae, factoids and collected Rap nerdery any Hip Hop junkie or music fan could hope for. Given that we’re in an era where longform rap journalism is severely undervalued and the quality of mainstream Rap is lower than a midget on its knees I feel that books like these are all the more welcome. Last October, I remember talking to Brian Coleman at the “Beat Box: A Drum Machine Obsession” showing & book event at Fourth Wall Project near Fenway Park about a chapter he wrote for his upcoming book involving Ice Cube & Sir Jinx in the Bomb Squad’s studio space in Long Island with access to all the records that they used to make “Amerikkka’s Most Wanted” beats plus tracks originally intended for Son Of Bazerk or True Mathematics at the time. Moreover, while Ice Cube and Sir Jinx were doing pre-production for Cube’s debut, Bomb Squad members were also working on “Fear Of A Black Planet” and doing work on Bell Biv Devoe’s “Poison” LP simultaneously. When I heard this my jaw dropped and I said I couldn’t wait to read it. Months ago I was sent an advance copy and I threw myself into it instantly.
As I tore through each chapter I uncovered facts about classic Rap albums such as Mantronix “The Album”, Stetsasonic’s “In Full Gear”, 3rd Bass’ “The Cactus Album”, Lord Finesse & DJ Mike Smooth’s “Funky Technician”, Kool G. Rap & DJ Polo’s “Wanted: Dead Or Alive”, Naughty By Nature’s debut, Edo. G & The Bulldogs “Life Of A Kid In The Ghetto”, Black Sheep’s “A Wolf In Sheep’s Clothing”, Diamond & The Psychotic Neurotics “Stunts, Blunts & Hip Hop”, Dr. Octagon “Dr. Octagonecologyst”, Company Flow’s “Funcrusher Plus” and Mos Def & Talib Kweli “Are Black Star” amongst many others. I rejoiced as I ran to Twitter and dropped some obscure gems without giving away key spoilers from it as I burned through chapter after chapter and unearthed new information that had eluded me for years. This book reminded me of the reasons why I even fell in love with this artform and it’s music in the first place. It also alerted me to fact that given the low quality of music in this era and how little genuine love there is for the culture or pride taking in crafting timeless art, I refuse to fall into the fold and accept the status quo. I refuse to be overcome by the quagmire of stagnant music which begets stagnant music journalism. As read this book I’m instantly reminded of the level of writing and the kind of music discovery pieces I should aspire to write for readers that feel exactly like I do. Ones who crave real, genuine music journalism from those who love & care about what they’re writing about enough to treat it with the proper respect it deserves.
My favorite chapters were for “Life Of A Kid In The Ghetto”, “In Full Gear”, “Funcrusher Plus”, “Amerikkka’s Most Wanted”, “Are Blackstar”, “Funky Technician”, “SlaughtaHouse”, “Wanted: Dead Or Alive”, “Ain’t A Damn Thing Changed”, “Dah Shinin'”, “The Sun Rises In The East” & “Black Bastards” even though there was a weak moment or a lull in this 544 page opus. A lot of love and attention to detail went into this giant undertaking. I damb near fainted when I was told by Chris Faraone that Brian Coleman transcribed his interviews by hand on paper. !JESUCRISTO! In conclusion, if you’re a Hip Hop fan or are even into longform music reads that go in depth and are chock full of investigative reporting and stories direct from the artist’s themselves then you need this book in your life. I read both the PDF version and the physical version for oldhead aesthetic reasons and I can say without reservation that both are worth copping (especially the iTunes version). Buy “Check The Technique 2: More Liner Notes For Hip-Hop Junkies” yesterday.
Brian Coleman’s “Check The Technique 2: More Liner Notes For Hip-Hop Junkies” is available digitally via iTunes. Physical copies are available from Amazon, Get On Down, UGHH, Turntable Lab, Rap & Soul Mailorder (UK) & HHV (GER/EUR) for global readership. Don’t sleep on this!