Reference Reviews: The Rap Yearbook, by Shea Serrano & Research Design, by John Creswell

 ML3531                                                                                                                                            2015-12011341 MARC

Serrano, Shea. The Rap Yearbook: The Most Important Rap Song From Every Year Since 1979, Discussed, Debated, and Deconstructed, Harry N. Abrams, 2015. 240p ISBN 1419718185, $19.95

The Rap Year Book: The Most Important Rap Song From Every Year Since 1979, Discussed, Debated, and Deconstructed by Shea Serrano is more like having a conversation with a cool, smart guy who’s sharing his impressive knowledge about rap music than it is a list of historic songs, although it does serve as that too. It’s admittedly biased and written from the personal perspective of just one person, although that person happens to think about it a whole lot more than the average Josephine. Serrano selects one song per year from 1979-2014, deemed by him to be the most important rap song of that year, then shares why he think’s so through a mix of infographics, illustrations, and his unique stream-of-consciousness writing style. Despite being hilariously entertaining, The Rap Yearbook chronicles major trends, accomplishments & breakthroughs, and doesn’t try to make the dark parts any lighter. While limited in scope by design, it nevertheless provides a self-proclaimed authority on at least some of the most influential hip hop songs of our time, which is well researched and hard to argue with, despite the fact that clearly not all personal preferences are the same. The book is for anyone interested in music and would be quite useful for students studying music, history, or culture. It fills a commonly found gap in literature covering the musical genres of rap and/or hip hop culture. Paired with other notable works such as The Gospel of Hip Hop: the First Instrument (1) and Ego Trip’s Book of Rap Lists (2), it helps document a teeming sub-culture of our time. Serrano is most known for his contributions to Grantland (3) and The Ringer (4), and publication of two books Bun B’s Rap Coloring and Activity Book (5) and Basketball (and Other Things) (6). Summing Up: Highly Recommended. General and undergraduate collections.  — J. L. Frank, Montana State University Bozeman


  1. KRS-One, The Gospel of Hip Hop: The First Instrument (powerHouse Books, 2009).
  2. Sacha Jenkins, Elliott Wilson, Jeff Mao, Gabe Alvarez, Brent Rollins, and Gabriel Alvarez, Ego Trip’s Book of Rap Lists (St. Martin’s Griffin, 1999).  
  3. Shea Serrano, GRANTLAND, 
  4. Shea Serrano, The Ringer,
  5. Shea Serrano,. Bun B’s Rap Coloring and Activity Book (Harry N. Abrams, 2013).
  6. Shea Serrano, Basketball (and Other Things): A Collection of Questions Asked, Answered, Illustrated (Abrams, Incorporated, 2017)

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Creswell, John. Research Design: Qualitative, Quantitative, and Mixed Methods Approaches, 4th Edition. SAGE Publications, Inc., 2014. 273p bibl index ISBN 1452226105, $65.00

John Creswell’s 4th edition of Research Design: Qualitative, Quantitative, and Mixed Methods Approaches  provides a roadmap for the researcher for these three main types of research. Creswell compares qualitative, quantitative, and mixed methods approaches in simple terms, while offering concrete examples of each type including sample text, abstracts, thesis statements, and more. Creswell provides an overview intended for researchers across the board from the first time researcher preparing to publish, to the experienced and even expert researcher. Creswell is known in the field for first discussing and comparing the three distinct methods of research, and continues to be a leading expert in research design with this new edition being published in 2014 which includes expanded discussion on ethical considerations. This book is recommended for all libraries, especially those at research institutions or supporting research faculty. It would be especially beneficial to undergraduates performing research projects for the first time. Summing Up: Recommended. First time researchers to professionals.  — J. L. Frank, Montana State University Bozeman


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