There are so many people I want to thank for this book, starting with my family—Mom and Dad, who encouraged my enthusiasm for music just by having it on in the car all the time; my stepfather David Rich, who taught me that there was a whole huge world of music from Sun Ra to Jorge Ben far beyond the radio; and my big brother Damian, who pulled me deep into hip-hop once Grandmaster Flash, Run-D.M.C., and the Beastie Boys sparked my interest as a kid. (He makes beats himself, and has been an invaluable resource when it comes to learning the ins and outs of DJing and producing.)
I’ve also got countless thanks to all the friends and fellow writers I’ve found through this lifelong obsession with music: Charles Aaron, Nitsuh Abebe, Dart Adams, Hilton Als, Jessica Armbruster, Sarah Askari, Ian Babineau, Chris Barrus, Stuart Berman, Andy Beta, James Blount, Jonathan Bogart, Jay Boller, Jen Boyles, Regina Bradley, Tom Breihan, Jonah Bromwich, Daphne Brooks, David Brothers, Donna Brown, Marty Brown, Todd Burns, Mairead Case, Jeff Chang, Dan Charnas, Hayden Childs, Nate Chinen, Robert Christgau, Amy Coddington, Anthony Cohan-Miccio, Aaron Cohen, Brian Coleman, Daniel Cooper, Del Cowie, Raymond Cummings, Michael Daddino, Geeta Dayal, Melody and Stephen Deusner, Chris DeVille, Martin Douglas, Mike Duquette, Steacy Easton, Chuck Eddy, Ali Elabaddy, Dan Epstein, Stephen Thomas Erlewine, Chris Estey, kris ex, Tom Ewing, Jerard Fagerberg, Kathy Fennessy, Reed Fischer, Anna Forsher, Phil Freeman, Jay Williams Friedman, Nathaniel Friedman, Andrew Gaerig, Jeff Gage, Deneen Gannon, Noah Goodbaum, Michael Grasso, Julia Gray, Jayson Greene, David Grossman, Shuja Haider, Rahawa Haile, Robert Ham, Jack Hamilton, dream hampton, Nick Hanover, Keith Harris, Jess Harvell, Eric Harvey, Rob Harvilla, Kenan Hebert, Will Hermes, Kevin Hoffman, Marc Hogan, Jessica Hopper, Kaleb Horton, Brian Howe, Hua Hsu, Steve Huey, Charles Hughes, Thomas Inskeep, Kate Izquierdo, Craig Jenkins, Maura Johnston, Mike Joseph, Britt Julious, Rafi Kam, Tom Keiser, Andy Kellman, Kim Kelly, Zach Kelly, Nicole Kessler, J. Edward Keyes, Kate Koliha, Josh Kortbein, Jody Beth LaFosse, Scott Lapatine, Jeremy Larson, Kallen Law, Michael Legan, Joan and Matt LeMay, Bruce Levenstein, Catherine Lewis, Zachary Lipez, Tigger Lunney, Brian MacDonald, Erin MacLeod, Melissa Maerz, Ian Manire, Jill Mapes, Greil Marcus, Marc Masters, Ian Mathers, Michaelangelo Matos, Jen Matson, Evan McGarvey, Mike McGonigal, Kembrew McLeod, James McNally, Nick Minichino, Evan Minsker, Chris Molanphy, Marcus J. Moore, Vanessa Moore Ardolino, Mike Mullen, Evan Nabavian, Evie Nagy, Michael Nelson, Frank Nieto, Chris O’Leary, Sach Orenstein, Luis Paez-Pumar, Alex Pappademas, Jill Passmore, Jenn Pelly, Liz Pelly, Dan Perry, Lisa Jane Persky, Amanda Petrusich, Amy Phillips, Leonard Pierce, Scott Plagenhoef, Thomas Pluck, Ann Powers, Ned Raggett, Ian Rans, David Raposa, Bridgette Reinsmoen, Simon Reynolds, Matt Rice, Mark Richardson, Jody Rosen, David Roth, Kelly Savage, Fred “Freddy Fresh” Schmid, Todd Schneider, Pete Scholtes, Zach Schonfeld, Susannah McNeely Schouweiler, Will Schube, Shea Serrano, Scott Seward, Jeff Shaw, Philip Sherburne, Maria Sherman, Rachel Shimp, Al Shipley, Brad Shoup, Mark Sinker, Jes Skolnik, Jay Smooth, Laura Snapes, Alfred Soto, Anton Spice, Katherine St. Asaph, Tyina Steptoe, Tucker Stone, Andy Sturdevant, Jessica Suarez, Andrea Swensson, Austin Swinburn, Joe Tangari, Rob Tannenbaum, Greg Tate, Benjamin Tausig, Conrad Teves, Lindsey Thomas, Paul Thompson, Dave Tompkins, Pete Tosiello, Gabriela Tully Claymore, Scott Von Doviak, Oliver Wang, Eric Weisbard, Jeff Weiss, RJ White, Carl Wilson, Sean Witzke, Douglas Wolk, Mark Yarm, Noah Yoo, Annie Zaleski, Andy Zax, and Lindsay Zoladz. You could pick any one of these people at random and have a conversation about music and culture that’d give you some legit hope in this world, so look up their bylines when you can.
Additional thanks to my editors Erik Anderson and Kristian Tvedten at the University of Minnesota Press, along with my agent Philip Turner.
Special thanks to all the artists and musicians who inspire me not just as a fan but as a writer. An incomplete list: Open Mike Eagle, Eothen “Egon” Alapatt, Questlove, J-Zone, El-P and Killer Mike, Jean Grae, Quelle Chris, Pharoahe Monch, billy woods, Serengeti, Chrissy Shively, Renee “Reverend Dollars” Jarreau, Stephen “Zilla Rocca” Zales, Chris Schlarb, Jason Forrest, Sean McPherson, and Dylan Hicks.
Rest in peace to Raghav Mehta, Rashod Ollison, and Reggie “Combat Jack” Osse.