Hip Hop around the World: An Encyclopedia. Edited by Melissa Ursula Dawn Goldsmith and Anthony J. Fonseca. Santa Barbara, CA: Greenwood, 2018. 2 vols. Acid-free $198 (ISBN 978-0-313-35758-9). E-book Available (978-0-313-35759-6), call for pricing.

This encyclopedia consists of over 450 A–Z entries focusing on “Artists,” “Concepts,” “Countries,” and “Styles,” as well as finer aspects of cultures within the international hip hop scene. The work is not entirely unique in all of its content. For instance, Rigg’s St. James Encyclopedia of Hip Hop Culture (St. James, 2018) focuses on the United States and makes a cursory foray into the international hip hop sphere. However, the work under review appears to be the only encyclopedia dedicated to highlighting interrelations and unique threads within hip hop globally, albeit with copious US coverage.

Editing a work such as this is fraught from the beginning as knowledgeable hip hop fans and researchers alike will undoubtedly raise an eyebrow or two for artist inclusions and omissions, especially when the introduction explicitly mentions this is a “comprehensive reference on global hip hop culture.” It is expansive, but comprehensive is a bit strong for a two-volume encyclopedia. Nonetheless, the work is laudable in its coverage of countries spanning the globe, from East Timor, Iran, and Burkina Faso to Serbia, The Maldives, Peru, and much in between.

The entries themselves are well written, interesting, occasionally illustrated, and replete with listed connections between artists and movements within and outside of the genre. There are helpful see also references and further reading and listening suggestions, which come in handy when the reader is faced with new information and wants to pursue it further.

Other features of the set include a brief chronology highlighting selected events in hip hop history around the world; a list of artists with stage name, given name, year, and place of birth; lists of record labels, music videos, films, countries with “severely restricted underground activity”; and a short glossary. This work would be useful for general music collections in both community college and undergraduate libraries.—Brent D. Singleton, Coordinator for Reference Services, California State University, San Bernardino


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