Take a Peek Inside LL COOL J's New Collectible Book 'The Streets Win: 50 Years of Hip-Hop Greatness'

Take a Peek Inside LL COOL J's New Collectible Book 'The Streets Win: 50 Years of Hip-Hop Greatness'

Published Wed, September 27, 2023 at 11:50 AM EDT

Hip-Hop icon LL COOL J is preparing to unveil The Streets Win: 50 Years of Hip-Hop Greatness, a visually striking new book destined to become a collector's item, celebrating the genre’s monumental journey.

In collaboration with Vikki Tobak, a notable author, journalist, and curator of music photography, and Alec Banks, Rock The Bells' editorial director, the book marks the 50th anniversary of Hip-Hop and honors the influential culture, unique sound, and leading voices that have defined it, making it an incredible addition to any collector’s repertoire.

“I’d write a rap in my grandparent’s basement in Queens, finish it, and start right back over again," LL COOL J explains in one passage in the book. "I’d get an idea, find whatever I could get in my hands to write on, grab a pen or pencil, and repeat the process. I wrote rhyme after rhyme after rhyme and practiced consistently for years. I eventually filled up a whole bunch of garbage bags, suitcases, shoe boxes, and cardboard boxes with rhymes. I dreamed daily of making it big. I used to stare at the vinyl spinning and wonder what it was like on the other side of that magical world."

The comprehensive work commemorates the evolution, rise, and ongoing impact of Hip-Hop’s culture on the music scene over the past five decades, bringing to life the essence of the genre through a plethora of rarely seen photographs, capturing everything from the earliest block party performances to candid street shots, lively parties, and behind-the-scenes sessions at recording studios.

“If we don’t respect our elders in our genre of music, nobody else is going to do it. They don’t do that shit in rock and roll. The older you get, the more they fuck with you in rock and roll. So why is it the opposite in Hip-Hop? The older you get, the less they fuck with you? Nah!”

- Khujo of Goodie Mob

The rich and vibrant imagery is complemented by firsthand accounts from industry icons including DJ Kool Herc, Salt-N-Pepa, MC Lyte, KRS-One, Eminem, Mary J. Blige, Grandmaster Flash, RUN DMC, Beastie Boys, De La Soul, Slick Rick, Public Enemy, Snoop Dogg, Dr. Dre, Nas, A Tribe Called Quest, Big Daddy Kane, Fat Joe, DJ Khaled, and more.

My world view has changed because I know my worth. I’m not afraid to say no. Every time I’ve said no, the deals got better and the respect level went up.”

- Salt of Salt-N-Pepa

The book features images by celebrated Hip-Hop photographers including Joe Conzo Jr., Ernie “Brother Ernie” Paniccioli, Jonathan Mannion, Janette Beckman, Estevan Oriol, Jamel Shabazz, Mike Miller, Clay Patrick McBride, Diwang Valdez, and others who documented the growth of Hip-Hop from its early days.

The Streets Win: 50 Years of Hip-Hop Greatness will be published by Rizzoli and will hit shelves on Oct. 3. Pre-order it here.

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