Check the Technique: Liner Notes for Hip-Hop Junkies

Check the Technique: Liner Notes for Hip-Hop Junkies
Check the Technique: Liner Notes for Hip-Hop Junkies  
Author(s) Brian Coleman
Cover artist Dreu Pennington-McNeil
Country United States
Language English
Subject(s) Hip hop music
Genre(s) Non-fiction
Publisher Random House
Publication date 2007
Pages 528 pp
ISBN 0812977750
OCLC Number 76961265
Dewey Decimal 782.42164909 22
LC Classification ML3531 .C65 2007

Check the Technique: Liner Notes for Hip-Hop Junkies is a book by music journalist Brian Coleman that covers the making of thirty-six classic hip hop albums, based on interviews with the artists who created them, also providing a track-by-track breakdown for each album entirely in the words of the artists.[1][2] It was published by Random House in 2007.

It is an expanded and updated version of the book Rakim Told Me,[3] also by Brian Coleman, and it features a foreword by Questlove of the Roots.[4]


Albums covered and artists interviewed

The book features interviews with the following groups/artists about the following albums:[5]


The book received positive reviews from numerous press outlets,[6] such as Entertainment Weekly,[7] AllHipHop,[8] ALARM Magazine,[9] and The Onion/The A.V. Club.[10]

Some criticisms of the book are that it is missing certain classic albums, is missing some tracks from some albums, that it has very few female artists covered,[11] and "little attention is given to the outlining societal conditions."[12]

Brian Coleman explained in interviews that he didn't intentionally leave any album out of the book, but there were difficulties in arranging interviews with certain artists.[13][14] He also commented that he wanted to focus on hip hop artists and what they have to say, rather than on academic subjects surrounding hip hop: "I don't really wanna read what critics have to say about the stuff. I wanna read what the artist has to say.”[15] He added,

I've never really been interested as much in the sociological, sociopolitical, academic view of hip hop and where it exists in popular culture. I think the artists are sick of that. I like the music and I want to know about it. That is why, I think, [in these interviews] they kind of really settle into the groove and really start getting into it. Like Erick Sermon—when I was talking to him, [it was] like he was talking about somebody else. I mean, how many people ask Too Short about how the records instead of asking about the more sensational parts of his personality? My goal was to get to the core of it. I think it proves that not enough people have really talked to these artists. To actually give them the respect they deserve as musicians, I think they appreciate that. They certainly open up accordingly.[16]

This approach has been praised by critics—URB commented on his "mercifully non-academic approach”,[17] and ALARM Magazine said,

The best part about Coleman taking on the job is that he does it so well… where others might want to intellectualize the stories of an urban artist's rise from obscurity to legendary status, in Coleman's hands these tales are anything but academic.[18]

Differences from Rakim Told Me

Although Check the Technique is the longer book and covers a greater number of albums than Rakim Told Me (and covers many albums not covered at all in Rakim Told Me), older book does include a handful of albums not covered in Check The Technique. These are the following:


Brian Coleman has suggested that there will be a sequel to Check The Technique, as he wrote fifty chapters for the book and only thirty six were used—he has also interviewed Ice Cube and Sir Jinx for the sequel (of the album AmeriKKKa's Most Wanted).[19][20]


External links


  • Coleman, Brian (2007). Check the Technique: Liner Notes for Hip-Hop Junkies. Random House, ISBN 0812977750.

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