Controversial Critic Armond White’s New Essay Offers List Of Seminal Hip-Hop Milestones In New Book On The Art and Design of Hip-Hop

Tuesday, October 28, 2008  — by Wow Jones



The Art And Design Of Hip-Hop Front Cover

DEFinition: The Art And Design Of Hip-Hop Front Cover




The new coffee-table styled photo book, “DEFINITION: The Art And Design Of Hip-Hop” by Cey Adams and Bill Adler offers…

a number of photos and essays for those interested in the subject.   The book includes an essay by NY Press Film Critic ARMOND WHITE and is quite a read. 

The essay is entitled “CAMERA READY: Hip-Hop And The Moving Image” and in it Armond White offers a chronological list that’s


my personal collection of the seminal milestones in video, film, and television that have helped define the look of hip-hop, from its early days in the 1980s to the 2000s.”

Care to know what’s on that list?  Well it includes…

  • Intro
  • singer BLONDIE and her “Rapture” music video and how the music video was a “perfect pop-culture hybrid that proved hip-hop was firmly on the map.”
  • Filmmaker CHARLIE AHEARN and his “Wildstyle” film and how it cast hip-hop’s “real-life movers and shakers to define and celebrate themselves in a theatrical drama”
  • Mars Blackmon (character from SPIKE LEE film “She’s Gotta Have It“) and how that character became a pitchman (along with Basketball Legend Michael Jordan) for the NIKE sneaker company.
  • Filmmaker Lionel Martin and his music video for PUBLIC ENEMY “Night Of The Living Baseheads” and writes about how the music video “broke the boundaries of music video” in its time.
  • RUN-DMC and the Rick Rubin-directed film “Tougher Than Leather” and how the movie is “a fascinating demonstration of how resilient RUN-DMC’s individual styles–and the codes of hip-hop culture–could be.”
  • The IN LIVING COLOR Television show and how it “gave recognizable faces to the comic sensibility of hip-hop culture.”
  • Actress ROSIE PEREZ in SPIKE LEE‘s film, “Do The Right Thing” and how in that film she was “the embodiment of hip-hop energy, sass and physicalized intelligence.”
  • John Singleton’s BOYZ N THE HOOD movie and how it was an example of  “the soulful side of hip-hop made visual.”
  • ICE CUBE’s Film Career and “Dead Homiez” music video and it being an example of “the images of black males being surprisingly heartfelt.”
  • Drag Performer RuPaul and the “Back To My Roots” Music Video and how it showcased “cosmetic culture”.
  • Filmmaker Hype Williams and how his music videos often expressed “the observable reality of black experience.” 
  • Rapper MC HAMMER and how “Dance, an important part of hip-hop, achieved its greatest expression in the music videos by MC Hammer”.
  • Filmmaker Charles Stone III and how his Budweiser “Whassup?” TV commerical “went beyond product to highlight a lifestyle.” 
  • Filmmaker Bryan Barber and his music videos for BIG BOI “The Way You Move” and ANDRE 3000 “Hey Ya” took the medium to a new level.
  • Filmmaker Mark Romanek and how his music video for JAY-Z’s “99 Problems“, “transcended the form of music video.”
  • Beastie Boys concert movie “Awesome: I Fuckin’s Shot That” and how it was the “most radical music film experiment of 2006.”


Now mind you, the quotes included are only a HINT of the insight and revelatory information provided in the essay.  Read it if you are intrigued.

The Book also includes the following essays:

INTRO: “Hip-Hop From The Jump: Peace, Love, Unity, Having Fun…And Making Money” — by Bill Adler

1) “Getting Up and Getting Over: Hip-Hop And Street Art”  PART ONE: New York Underground, 1969 To 1980 by Sacha Jenkins.   PART TWO: Out Of The Subways and Into The World; 1980 To The Present by Franklin Sirmans,

2) “Rhymin’ and Designin’ : Hip-Hop And The Art Of The Album Cover” — by Carlo McCormick

3) “From Tags To Riches: Hip-Hop And Advertising” — by Tamara Warren

4) “Camera Ready: Hip-Hop And The Moving Image” — by ARMOND WHITE

5) “The Beating Drum: Hip-Hop And Cars”  — by Cheo Hodari Coker

6) “Kicks: Hip-Hop And Sneakers”  — by Michael A. Gonzales

7) “So Fresh and So Clean: Hip-Hop And Fashion” — by Raquel Cepeda


— The Wow Jones Report


P.S.  Also, if you are interested in a website that offers observations and analysis on attaining celebrity and stardom, check out the Self-Stardom Blueprint when you have a moment.

Also, if interested in this critic’s past writing–purchase a new or used copy of his book “The Resistance: Ten Years Of Pop Culture That Shook The World.”


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One Response to “Controversial Critic Armond White’s New Essay Offers List Of Seminal Hip-Hop Milestones In New Book On The Art and Design of Hip-Hop”

  1. Roxy Says:

    This book sounds interesting (especially the part about how Spike Lee films promoted Nike.) But can they sell it without objectifying (and insulting) women?

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