Upcoming Release

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Switched On Pop: How Popular Music Works, and Why it Matters

By Nate Sloan and Charlie Harding

(Oxford University Press, December 2019)

Pop music surrounds us—in our cars, over supermarket speakers, even when we are laid out at the dentist—but how often do we really hear what’s playing? Switched on Pop is the book based on the eponymous podcast that has been hailed by NPR, Rolling Stone, The Guardian, and Entertainment Weekly for its witty and accessible analysis of Top 40 hits. Through close studies of sixteen modern classics, musicologist Nate Sloan and songwriter Charlie Harding shift pop from the background to the foreground, illuminating the essential musical concepts behind two decades of chart-topping songs.

Despite the importance of pop music in contemporary culture, most discourse only revolves around lyrics and celebrity. Switched on Pop gives readers the tools they need to interpret our modern soundtrack. Each chapter investigates a different song and artist, revealing musical insights such as how a single melodic motif follows Taylor Swift through every genre that she samples, André 3000 uses metric manipulation to get listeners to “shake it like a Polaroid picture,” or Luis Fonsi and Daddy Yankee create harmonic ambiguity in “Despacito” that mirrors the patterns of global migration.

Replete with engaging discussions and original illustrations, Switched on Pop brings to life the musical qualities that catapult songs into the pop pantheon. Readers will find themselves listening to familiar tracks in new ways—and not just those from the Top 40. The timeless concepts that Nate and Charlie define can be applied to any musical style. From fanatics to skeptics, teenagers to octogenarians, non-musicians to professional composers, every music lover will discover something ear-opening in Switched on Pop.

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Switched On Pop is an essential text for anyone who imagines the song to be a curious machine, burrowing its way into our hearts and minds.”
Hanif Abdurraqib, author of Go Ahead in the Rain: Notes on a Tribe Called Quest

“As smart and playful as the podcast that preceded it, Switched On Pop finds inventive ways to put sound on paper.”
Linda Holmes, host of NPR’s Pop Culture Happy Hour and author of Evvie Drake Starts Over

Switched On Pop is a unicorn of a book: a work of public scholarship that neither ignores the public nor skimps on the scholarship. It is musicology that thinks about feelings and feels about thinkings. A rare feat!”
Phil Ford, Associate Professor, Indiana University Jacobs School of Music, and co-host of the Weird Studies podcast

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Nate Sloan is a musicologist, performer and educator based in Los Angeles. He received his PhD from Stanford University and currently teaches at the University of Southern California. Nate is host of the music podcast Switched on Pop and a pop music panelist on Canadian Broadcast Corporation (CBC) Radio’s Day 6. Nate is also an award-winning performer and composer. His two-man vaudeville act “The Gideon and Hubcap Show” has played at the Edinburgh Fringe Festival and at the Soho Theatre in London, and Nate composed the score for the 2014 SXSW Short Doc prize film Slomo.

Charlie Harding is the co-host of Switched On Pop, a songwriter and longtime musical collaborator with his co-host Nate Sloan. Charlie also works in the humanitarian sector, serving as the Director of Product Management at Ushahidi, which builds crowdsourcing software to help people raise their voice. Previously, Charlie worked for Google and Google.org where he worked on internet access software and infrastructure projects to bridge the digital divide in the developing world. He also co-founded Runa, a social enterprise tea company that works with over 2,000 indigenous farming families.

New Release

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Time Is Tight: My Life, Note by Note

By Booker T. Jones

(Little, Brown, October 2019)

The long-awaited memoir of Booker T. Jones, leader of the famed Stax Records house band, architect of the Memphis soul sound, and one of the most legendary figures in music.

From Booker T. Jones’s earliest years in segregated Memphis, music was the driving force in his life. While he worked paper routes and played gigs in local nightclubs to pay for lessons and support his family, Jones, on the side, was also recording sessions in what became the famous Stax Studios-all while still in high school. Not long after, he would form the genre-defining group Booker T. and the MGs, whose recordings went on to sell millions of copies, win a place in Rolling Stone’s list of top 500 songs of all time, and help forge collaborations with some of the era’s most influential artists, including Otis Redding, Wilson Pickett, and Sam & Dave.

Nearly five decades later, Jones’s influence continues to help define the music industry, but only now is he ready to tell his remarkable life story. Time is Tight is the deeply moving account of how Jones balanced the brutality of the segregationist South with the loving support of his family and community, all while transforming a burgeoning studio into a musical mecca.

Culminating with a definitive account into the inner workings of the Stax label, as well as a fascinating portrait of working with many of the era’s most legendary performers-Bob Dylan, Willie Nelson, and Tom Jones, among them-this extraordinary memoir promises to become a landmark moment in the history of Southern Soul.

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“Booker T. will forever be known as the Booker T. from Booker T. and the MGs. But this book reveals so much more of the man.”
Bob Dylan

“Booker T. is a great producer, a great musician, and a great friend. Those three ‘greats’ together pretty much let you know how I feel about Booker. He and I worked together on many projects, all were fun-just like this book, which is as joyful to read as Booker’s music is to listen to.”
Willie Nelson

“Booker is simply one of the tenderest-hearted people I’ve ever met and I’m so honored to have ever been in his company. This beautiful memoir is a near perfect reflection of the man I would walk a million miles for: engaging, unforgettable, and deeply creative.”
Sinéad O’Connor

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As the keyboardist for the Memphis-based quartet Booker T & the MGs, Booker T. Jones performed R&B and funk hits by Otis Redding, Wilson Pickett, and Sam & Dave, and, as a member of the house band for Stax Records, helped define the sound of Southern soul music. Booker T & the MGs are also known for original hit singles like “Green Onions,” and for being one of the first integrated instrumental groups. In 1992, the group was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame, and they received a Grammys’ Lifetime Achievement Award in 2007.

New Release

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Janis: Her Life and Music

By Holly George-Warren

(Simon & Schuster, October 2019)

Longlisted for the 2020 Andrew Carnegie Medal for Excellence in Nonfiction

This blazingly intimate biography of Janis Joplin establishes the Queen of Rock & Roll as the rule-breaking musical trailblazer and complicated, gender-bending rebel she was.

Janis Joplin has passed into legend as a brash, impassioned soul doomed by the pain that produced one of the most extraordinary voices in rock history. But in these pages, Holly George-Warren provides a revelatory and deeply satisfying portrait of a woman who wasn’t all about suffering. Janis was a perfectionist: a passionate, erudite musician who was born with talent but also worked exceptionally hard to develop it. She was a woman who pushed the boundaries of gender and sexuality long before it was socially acceptable. She was a sensitive seeker who wanted to marry and settle down—but couldn’t, or wouldn’t. She was a Texan who yearned to flee Texas but could never quite get away—even after becoming a countercultural icon in San Francisco.

Written by one of the most highly regarded chroniclers of American music history, and based on unprecedented access to Janis Joplin’s family, friends, band mates, archives, and long-lost interviews, Janis is a complex, rewarding portrait of a remarkable artist finally getting her due.

****

“[Janis] performs a service by stripping away a lot of the noise around Joplin . . . and telling her story simply and well, with some of the tone and flavor of a good novel.”
The New York Times

“In encapsulating Joplin’s dual nature so concisely, George-Warren delivers the definitive portrait of one of pop culture’s most misunderstood martyrs…. [In] dwelling so sympathetically on her tangle of talents, contradictions, and mythology, Janis brings one of rock’s most enduring legends down to earth while holding her justly up to the light.”
NPR.com

“[Janis] is sober and thorough, and it amounts to the last word on a brief candle of an existence, a life whose peaks and valleys make your average mountain range look as flat as an acre of Texas farmland.”
The Washington Post

“Never before the revelatory new book Janis: Her Life and Music has [Janis Joplin] been fully recognized as a groundbreaking musician charting a fresh course for the blues, for rock, and for women, while, at the same time, obliterating the line between the performance of a song and essence of her soul.”
Entertainment Weekly

“Joplin was a swashbuckling, pleasure-seeking, polyamorous trailblazer in her music and lifestyle… Janis is not just biography, but social history too, a loose chronicle of America’s late-Sixties counterculture, with cameo appearances by Bob Dylan, Andy Warhol, Jimi Hendrix, Joan Baez, George Harrison, Leonard Cohen, Otis Redding, Jim Morrison and more… As a rounded portrait of an explosively exciting artist, George-Warren’s book is never less than engaging.”
The Times

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Holly George-Warren is an award-winning writer and music consultant. As editorial director of Rolling Stone Press from 1993-2001, she created over forty books, including New York Times bestsellers and ASCAP-Deems Taylor Award-winners. She has worked as a curator for the GRAMMY Museum, which opened in L.A. in December 2008, and currently serves on the nominating committee of the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame. A two-time Grammy nominee, she teaches Arts Journalism at the State University of New York in New Paltz, NY.

New Release

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Cruel to Be Kind: The Life and Music of Nick Lowe

By Will Birch

(Da Capo, August 2019)

Described as “Britain’s greatest living songwriter,” Nick Lowe has made his mark as a pioneer of pub rock, power-pop, and punk rock and as a producer of Elvis Costello, Graham Parker, the Damned, and the Pretenders. He has been a pop star with his bands Brinsley Schwarz and Rockpile, a stepson-in-law to Johnny Cash and June Carter Cash, and is the writer behind hits including “Cruel to Be Kind” and “(What’s So Funny ‘Bout) Peace, Love, and Understanding.” In the past decades, however, he has distinguished himself as an artist who is equally acclaimed for the second act of his career as a tender yet sharp-tongued acoustic balladeer.

Biographer Will Birch, who in addition to being a music writer was a drummer and songwriter with The Records, has known Lowe for over forty years and melds Lowe’s gift as a witty raconteur with his own authoritative analysis of Lowe’s background and the cultural scenes he exemplifies. Lowe’s parallel fame as one of the best interviews in the business will contribute to this first look into his life and work–and likely the closest thing fans will get to an autobiography by this notoriously charming cult figure.

This is not an authorized biography, but Lowe has given it his spiritual blessing and his management and label are fully on board. Cruel to Be Kind is the colorful yet serious account of one of the world’s most talented and admired musicians.

****

“[Cruel to Be Kind] makes clear that Lowe’s contributions to pop music have been many and mighty–and certainly worthy of celebration with a biography…sure to please old-time admirers of an essential rocker.”
Kirkus Reviews

“In leisurely, insightful prose…Will Birch offers a solid biography for Lowe’s devoted fans.”
Publishers Weekly

“[Will Birch] has written a sunny book about the genial and underappreciated Lowe, following his career through its many incarnations… [A]n enjoyable portrait.”
Booklist

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Will Birch is a music journalist, drummer, and songwriter based in the UK. In the 1970s he performed with the bands Kursaal Flyers (“Little Does She Know”) and The Records (“Starry Eyes”), before moving into record production and music journalism. He is the author of No Sleep Till Canvey Island – The Great Pub Rock Revolution (Virgin Books 2000). Co-agented with The Soho Agency.

New Release

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What Do We Need Men For?: A Modest Proposal

By E. Jean Carroll

(St. Martin’s Press, July 2019)

A darkly funny and very personal attempt to answer the question by America’s longest running advice columnist.

When E. Jean Carroll—possibly the liveliest woman in the world and author of Ask E. Jean in Elle Magazine — realized that her eight million readers and question-writers all seemed to have one thing in common—problems caused by men—she hit the road. Criss-crossing the country with her blue-haired poodle Lewis Carroll, E. Jean stopped in every town named after a woman between Eden, Vermont and Tallulah, Louisiana to ask women the crucial question: What Do We Need Men For?

E. Jean gave her rollicking road trip a sly, stylish turn when she deepened the story, creating a list called “The Most Hideous Men of My Life,” and began to reflect on her own sometimes very dark history with the opposite sex. What advice would she have given to her past selves—as Miss Cheerleader USA and Miss Indiana University? Or as the fearless journalist, television host and eventual advice columnist she became? E. Jean intertwines the stories of the outspoken people she meets on her road trip with her own history of bad behavior (from mafia bosses, media titans, boyfriends, husbands, a serial killer, and others) creating a decidedly dark yet hopeful, hilarious and thrilling narrative. Her answer to the question What Do We Need Men For? will shock men and delight women.

****

“Whimsical…a book that approaches its high-concept road trip with tongue firmly in cheek.”
Vox

“[O]ne of the definitive books of the #MeToo movement.”
Bustle

“What [the book] offers…is a kind of literary impressionism, based on 75 years of lived experience―a sense of what it feels like to have pulsing veins and fiery nerves and a teeming mind and be caught within the cold infrastructures of sexism.”
The Atlantic

“[What Do We Need Men For?] is somehow hilarious, in the way that only E. Jean could have written it…. It’s really wonderful.”
O Magazine

“Carroll’s new memoir/manifesto, What Do We Need Men For?, is a master class in making a person believe…. Fantastically written but so friendly to follow.”
Paste Magazine

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E. Jean Carroll has written the celebrated monthly advice column “Ask E. Jean” for Elle magazine for over twenty-five years. She has been a contributing editor at Esquire, Outside, and Playboy, and has written for Rolling Stone, GQ, and other publications. She received an Emmy nomination for her writing on Saturday Night Live. She lives in Warwick, NY.

New Release

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No Walls and the Recurring Dream

By Ani DiFranco

(Viking, May 2019)

A New York Times Bestseller

In her new memoir, No Walls and the Recurring Dream, Ani DiFranco recounts her early life from a place of hard-won wisdom, combining personal expression, the power of music, feminism, political activism, storytelling, philanthropy, entrepreneurship, and much more into an inspiring whole. In these frank, honest, passionate, and often funny pages is the tale of one woman’s eventful and radical journey to the age of thirty. Ani’s coming of age story is defined by her ethos of fierce independence—from being an emancipated minor sleeping in a Buffalo bus station, to unwaveringly building a career through appearances at small clubs and festivals, to releasing her first album at the age of 18, to consciously rejecting the mainstream recording industry and creating her own label, Righteous Babe Records.

In these pages, as in life, she never hesitates to question established rules and expectations, maintaining a level of artistic integrity that has inspired and challenged more than a few. Ani continues to be a major touring and recording artist as well as a celebrated activist and feminist, standing as living proof that you can overcome all personal and societal obstacles to be who you are and follow your dreams.

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“[P]art feminist and social-justice manifesto, part bracing road story…. [A] deep and thoughtful current runs throughout DiFranco’s memoir.”
The Washington Post

No Walls and the Recurring Dream is unapologetic, steadfast and vulnerable.”
Associated Press

“DiFranco is a natural storyteller, infusing these pages—with their frequent offbeat anecdotes, unusual characters, and significant episodes—with wit, humor, and perspective. . . . [She] has defied convention yet remained true to herself. A must for her fans, this riveting, thought-provoking work will also appeal to anyone who enjoys a well-written autobiography.”
Library Journal, starred review

“[DiFranco] manages to shed new light on how a young, talented woman created enough momentum to slingshot herself beyond her town’s suffocating gravitational pull and create an entirely new solar system, populated with an orbit of planets and moons of her own devising.”
Rolling Stone

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Ani DiFranco is a Grammy Award-winning singer, multi-instrumentalist, poet, songwriter, activist, and businesswoman. She has released more than 20 albums, and is one of the first independent musicians to create her own label, Righteous Babe Records, www.righteousbabe.com (based in Buffalo, NY). She is widely known as an activist and feminist icon, and the Righteous Babe Foundation supports causes ranging from abortion rights to gay visibility. DiFranco has received eight Grammy Award nominations and won the Best Recording Package Grammy for the album Evolve in 2004. She received the Woody Guthrie Award, as well as the Woman of Courage Award by the National Organization of Women. She is based in New Orleans.

New Release

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Book Reports: A Music Critic on His First Love, Which Was Reading

By Robert Christgau

(Duke University Press, April 2019)

“Together, these collections [Book Reports and Is It Still Good to Ya?] make the sneaky case that Christgau is not just the Dean of American Rock Critics…but one of America’s sharper public intellectuals of the past half century, and certainly one of its most influential—not to mention one of the better stylists in that cohort…. Christgau’s best work is in his essays.”
The New Yorker

In this generous collection of book reviews and literary essays, legendary Village Voice rock critic Robert Christgau showcases the passion that made him a critic—his love for the written word. Many selections address music from blackface minstrelsy to punk and hip-hop, artists from Lead Belly to Patti Smith, and fellow critics from Ellen Willis and Lester Bangs to Nelson George and Jessica Hopper. But Book Reports also teases out the popular in the Bible and 1984 as well as pornography and science fiction, and analyzes at length the cultural theory of Raymond Williams, the detective novels of Walter Mosley, the history of bohemia, and the 2008 financial crisis. It establishes Christgau as not just the Dean of American Rock Critics, but one of America’s most insightful cultural critics as well.

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“[A] substantial collection of nearly 100 eclectic, thought-provoking, and idea-laden book reviews. . . . [Christgau's] range of topics is impressive, and his references are prolific. These sprightly, highly opinionated ‘adventures of an autodidact’ reveal Christgau to be a highly literate, astute, and discerning book critic.”
Kirkus Reviews

“There are few critics working today with the life-long commitment, focus, and curiosity of Robert Christgau. Book Reports doesn’t scan the over half-century of the man’s work, and that’s what makes it all the more impressive. He’s still searching, still pulling volumes from the shelves, looking at new or old ideas, cracking open the spines of preconceived notions all in the service of taking just one more look before walking away with the promise of yet another return.”
Popmatters

“Robert Christgau, writing on books, is enthralling and energetic, and as persuasive and argument-sparking as he is on records. He sees them both as entrances into a thousand subject matters, but also as formal objects—that’s to say, books. His stock is his comprehensive confidence, no matter the arena; so often, as declaring The Country and the City to be Raymond Williams’s essential book—he’s stunningly right. Book Reports made me glance at my shelf longingly where a run of compilations of his ‘Consumer Guides: Books of the ’70s, ’80s, ’90s’ (and beyond) might sit, but alas. If we’re not that lucky, we’re lucky enough to have this generous compendium of his longer-form stuff.”
Jonathan Lethem

“You hope any book you read would be insightful, funny, rude, deeply researched, and filled with humanity. Well most books don’t have those qualities, but all of Robert Christgau’s book reviews do.”
Nelson George

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Robert Christgau has been a rock critic since 1967. A longtime senior editor and chief music critic at The Village Voice, he has written for The New York Times, The New Yorker, Esquire, Playboy, Rolling Stone, and Blender. He is currently a contributor at BarnesandNoble.com, and his record blog Expert Witness appears every Friday at Noisey. A recipient of a Guggenheim Fellowship, an NAJP senior fellowship at Columbia University, and a Ferris Teaching Fellowship at Princeton, he taught at NYU’s Clive Davis Institute of Recorded Music from 2005 to 2016. He lives in New York City.

New Release

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Manual For Survival: A Chernobyl Guide to the Future

By Kate Brown

(W.W. Norton, March 2019)

A chilling exposé of the international effort to minimize the health and environmental consequences of nuclear radiation in the wake of Chernobyl.

Governments and journalists tell us that though Chernobyl was “the worst nuclear disaster in history,” a reassuringly small number of people died (44), and nature recovered. Yet, drawing on a decade of fine-grained archival research and interviews in Ukraine, Russia, and Belarus, Kate Brown uncovers a much more disturbing story—one in which radioactive isotypes caused hundreds of thousands of casualties.

Scores of Soviet scientists, bureaucrats, and civilians documented stunning increases in cases of birth defects, child mortality, cancers, and a multitude of prosaic diseases, which they linked to Chernobyl. Worried that this evidence would blow the lid on the effects of massive radiation release from weapons testing during the Cold War, international scientists and diplomats tried to bury or discredit it. A haunting revelation of how political exigencies shape responses to disaster, Manual For Survival makes clear the irreversible impact on every living thing not just from Chernobyl, but from eight decades of radiation from nuclear energy and weaponry.

****

“With bountiful, devastating detail, Brown describes how doctors, scientists, and journalists—mainly in Ukraine and Belarus—went to great lengths and took substantial risks to collect information…. Radiation has a special hold on our imagination…. But Manual for Survival asks a larger question about how humans will coexist with the ever-increasing quantities of toxins and pollutants that we introduce into our air, water, and soil. Brown’s careful mapping of the path isotopes take is highly relevant.”
New York Review of Books

“Exemplary … Brown is an indomitable researcher.”
The Observer

“[A] troubling book, passionately written and deeply researched…the book moves from science to thriller and realm of conspiracy… there is no doubt about Brown’s gift for vivid narrative. Her conclusion is chilling.”
Sunday Times

Astonishingly thorough…. [a] revelatory masterpiece.”
Orion

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Kate Brown is a Professor of Science, Technology and Society at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. She is the recipient of many fellowships, including those from the John D. Guggenheim Foundation, the Carnegie Corporation of New York, and the National Endowment for the Humanities, and her books have won many prizes, including the American Historical Association’s George Louis Beer Prize for the Best Book in International European History and their Dunning and Beveridge prizes.

New Release

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I Never Called It Rape: The Ms. Report on Recognizing, Fighting and Surviving Date and Acquaintance Rape

(HarperCollins, February 2019)

A new edition of the 1988 classic text that exposed the extreme prevalence of rape in America, coining the term acquaintance rape and establishing the disturbing statistics on sexual assault that still hold just as true today—now featuring an original preface from Gloria Steinem, a new introduction by Salamishah Tillet, an updated afterword by Mary P. Koss, Ph.D., as well as an updated resources section.

In 1988, Robin Warshaw wrote I Never Called It Rape, the ground-breaking book that revealed a staggering truth: in a study of students on college campuses, 25% of women were the victims of rape or attempted rape. Over 80% of these women knew their assailants.

Warshaw based her reportage on the first large-scale study into rape ever, conducted by Ms. magazine in the late 80s. Thirty years later, we now have a wealth of statistics on date rape. The disturbing truth is that the figures have not diminished. That our culture enables rape is not just shown by the numbers—the outbreak of allegations against serial rapists from Bill Cosby to Harvey Weinstein and the 2016 presidential election of Donald Trump, a man who was recorded bragging about sexual assault, have further amplified this horrifying truth.

With over 80,000 copies sold to date, I Never Called It Rape has served as a guide to understanding rape as a cultural phenomenon for tens of thousands—providing women and men with strategies to address our rape endemic and survivors with the context and resources to help them heal from their experiences. This book pulls the wool from all our eyes on the pervasiveness of rape and sexual assault today.

****

“Essential . . . It is nonpolemical, lucid, and speaks eloquently not only to the victims of acquaintance rape but to all those caught in its net.”
Philadelphia Inquirer

“Painstakingly researched . . . chilling.”
San Francisco Chronicle

“Provocative and important.”
Kirkus Reviews

“A devastating portrait of men who rape women they know… based on first-person accounts, scholarly studies and data from a nationwide survey of college campuses.”
Publishers Weekly

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When Ms. magazine was launched as a “one-shot” sample insert in New York magazine in December 1971, few realized it would become the landmark institution in both women’s rights and American journalism that it is today. The founders of Ms., many of whom are now household names, helped to shape contemporary feminism. Ms. was the first national magazine to make feminist voices audible, feminist journalism tenable, and a feminist worldview available to the public. Today, the magazine remains an interactive enterprise in which an unusually diverse readership is simultaneously engaged with each other and the world. Ms. continues to be an award-winning magazine recognized nationally and internationally as the media expert on issues relating to women’s status, women’s rights, and women’s points of view. For more about Ms., visit http://msmagazine.com.

New Release

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She Begat This: 20 Years of the Miseducation of Lauryn Hill

By Joan Morgan

(Simon & Schuster, August 2018)

Celebrate the twentieth anniversary of the acclaimed and influential debut album The Miseducation of Lauryn Hill with this eye-opening and moving exploration of Lauryn Hill and her remarkable artistic legacy.

Released in 1998, Lauryn Hill’s first solo album is often cited by music critics as one of the most important recordings in modern history. Artists from Beyoncé to Nicki Minaj to Janelle Monáe have claimed it as an inspiration, and it was recently included in the National Recording Registry by the Library of Congress, as well as named the second greatest album by a woman in history by NPR (right behind Joni Mitchell’s Blue).

Award-winning feminist author and journalist Joan Morgan delivers an expansive, in-depth, and heartfelt analysis of the album and its enduring place in pop culture. She Begat This is both an indelible portrait of a magical moment when a young, fierce, and determined singer-rapper-songwriter made music history and a crucial work of scholarship, perfect for longtime hip-hop fans and a new generation of fans just discovering this album.

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“Joan Morgan schools like no other. While reading this masterful, rich, and amazingly concise cultural history of the Nina-Simone-Defecating-On-Your-Microphone-Nineties, I learned two lessons. One, you cannot tell the story of Hip Hop or Black womanhood in the 1990s without a deep understanding of the prototype for Black Girl Genius that is Lauryn Hill. And two, you cannot tell the story of Hip Hop or Black womanhood in the 1990s without the fiya-spitting, Jamaican, Bronx-girl pen of Joan Morgan. Lauryn gave us the soundtrack, the artistry, and the permission. Joan and her crew of badass, pioneering Hip Hop journalists, many of whom are featured here, continue to give us the language and the frameworks to understand the singularity of turn-of-the-21st-century Black cultural production. Absent either of these Black girl geniuses, the story is incomplete. Indeed, she begat this.”
Brittany Cooper, author of Eloquent Rage: A Black Feminist Discovers Her Superpower

“Pioneer hip-hop feminist Joan Morgan takes on Lauryn Hill, the complicated star whose monumental album changed the world, and we finally get the loving, vibrant, critical attention the artist, her work, and her generation has been due. This book is a listening companion with attitude and a sure-shot conversation starter. You may never hear Ms. Hill the same again.”
Jeff Chang, author of We Gon’ Be Alright: Notes on Race and Resegregation

“The dope shit always needs a remix, if only to be reminded of the brilliance of the original joint. And if you were on the scene back in ‘98, you knew it would be Joan Morgan who would remix The Miseducation of Lauryn Hill, because who else would it be but another Caribbean sister stepping in the world fly AF and with the gift of verse? Lauryn might have Begat This, but Joan Morgan is giving it back to us all lovely and new and as vital as it was that summer of ‘98.”
Mark Anthony Neal, Chair of the Department of African & African American Studies at Duke University

“With She Begat This, Joan Morgan brings the full lyrical prowess of her unstoppable flow and ferocious prose to tell the multilayered saga of Lauryn Hill’s seminal masterpiece. Morgan serves up an intimate artistic portrait that is compassionate, unflinching, and imbued with the razor-sharp analysis and from-the-heart truth-telling that made her a legend of hip-hop journalism.”
Daniel José Older, New York Times bestselling author of Shadowshaper and Dactyl Hill Squad, winner of the International Latino Book Award

“A new book by Joan Morgan would be cause for celebration whether it was about Lauryn Hill, Bunker Hill, or ant hills. But for hip hop’s founding feminist and most incisive critic to apply the force of her intellect, the power of her memory, and the dexterity of her cultural mixology to a record so fraught with meaning and misunderstanding makes me feel the way I did the first time I heard the needle drop on ‘Lost Ones.’ In fact, I’m dancing with one fist in the air as I write this.”
Adam Mansbach, #1 New York Times bestselling author

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Joan Morgan is an author and cultural critic who coined the phrase “hip-hop feminism”. Morgan has been a widely sought-after lecturer and commentator on hip-hop and feminism. An award-winning journalist, a provocative cultural critic, she began her professional writing career freelancing for The Village Voice and has been published by Vibe, Interview, Ms., More, Spin, and numerous others. Formerly the executive editor of Essence, she’s currently a PhD candidate in American Studies at New York University and is based in New York City.