Can’t Stop Won’t Stop

A History of the Hip-Hop Generation

By Jeff Chang
Introduction by DJ Kool Herc

“Hip-hop is the voice of this generation. Even if you didn’t grow up in the Bronx in the ’70s, hip-hop is there for you. It has become a powerful force. Hip-hop binds all of these people, all of these nationalities, all over the world together.”
—DJ Kool Herc, from the Introduction

Forged in the fires of the Bronx and Kingston, Jamaica, hip-hop became the Esperanto of youth rebellion and a generation-defining movement. In a post-civil rights era defined by deindustrialization and globalization, hip-hop crystallized a multiracial, polycultural generation’s worldview, and transformed American politics and culture. But that epic story has never been told like this. From the gangs of the late 60s to the icons of the new millennium, from the Ghetto Brothers and Universal Zulu Nation organizations to the hip-hop activists, Can’t Stop Won’t Stop presents the hip-hop generation in all its grime and glory with breadth, wit, and style.

Based on original interviews with DJs, b-boys, rappers, graffiti writers, activists, and gang members, with unforgettable portraits of many of hip-hop’s forebears, founders, and mavericks, including DJ Kool Herc, Afrika Bambaataa, Chuck D, and Ice Cube, Can’t Stop Won’t Stop chronicles the events, the ideas, the music, and the art that marked the hip-hop generation’s rise from the ashes of the 60s into the new millennium. Here is a powerful cultural and social history of the end of the American century, and a provocative look into the new world that the hip-hop generation created.

Can’t Stop Won’t Stop was first published in the United States and Canada by St. Martin’s Press in hardcover in 2005, and republished by Picador Books in 2006. It is currently available in the U.S. in paperback and e-book formats from Picador. The book is also available in editions for Japan, France, Sweden, Finland, the UK, and Australia. Brazilian and Serbian editions are coming soon.

» Read an excerpt.

» Read an interview with Jeff by Oliver Wang.

» Check a list of more interviews with Jeff.



"Obsessively researched, beautifully written, Chang's book is the funky, bootleg, B—side remix of late—20th century American history."
Time Magazine

"When hip-hop 101 becomes a requirement, Jeff Chang's history of the turmoil that begat this beloved culture will be the go—to textbook."
Vibe Magazine

"The birth of hip-hop out of the ruin of the South Bronx is a story that has been told many times, but never with the cinematic scope and the analytic force that Chang brings to it...This is one of the most urgent and passionate histories of popular music ever written."
The New Yorker

"His scope is operatic, sprawling, and concerns itself with the people, places and politics that drove hip-hop from its infancy...perhaps Chang is hip-hop America's Howard Zinn."

"How and why hip-hop predicted today's cultural politics is the bailiwick of Jeff Chang's tour de force chronicle Can't Stop Won't Stop...his writing cogently and elegantly combines street reportage, music criticism, mother wit, semiotics and political analysis."
—Greg Tate in The Nation

"Nothing less than the finest rap history extant..."
—Robert Christgau, Rolling Stone

"It's the best music book that I've read in more than a decade."
Dave Marsh

"There is a fearless sweep to this book. As the narrative veers dizzyingly from content to context, from broad—brush assertion to the laser—focused insights of previously unheard voices, it's clear that there's no part of American life or recent history that Chang considers off—limits."
Daily Telegraph

"Chang digs deeper than any previous hip-hop historian, and he also writes with more fluid eloquence and empathic warmth than any of his colleagues...Can't Stop Won't Stop is the best book ever written about hip-hop."

"Can't Stop Won't Stop remains vibrant, relevant, and vital. Grade: A-!"
Entertainment Weekly

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Upcoming Appearances

For a complete list of Jeff's appearances, check Dates.

Can't Stop Won't Stop Extras


Please Note: Due to the massive amount of email it has become impossible to reply individually to interview requests for term papers. With apologies, we would like to recommend this list of interviews and Jeff's articles in the Reader. Thanks for understanding.

USA Interview Requests, Media Inquiries, or Review Copy Requests:

Please email here to reach James Meader at Picador Books.

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