Hip Hop: Where to Begin?

The following CDs are a good start if you want to explore their lyrics with your children. These suggestions come from Chris Farley, a senior editor at Time magazine; hip-hop dance instructor Kelly Peters; Bakari Kitwana, former executive editor of The Source; and Renee Graham, a pop culture writer. We suggest that parents review the lyrics first before listening with their kids, since some tracks contain explicit language or mature themes:

-FAMILY: Verdana">
A Tribe Called Quest Low-End Theory* (Jive, 1991)

-FAMILY: Verdana">Erykah Badu Various releases, from the late 1990s on

-FAMILY: Verdana">Mary J. Blige Share My World (MCA, 1997)

-FAMILY: Verdana">De La Soul 3 Feet High and Rising* (Tommy Boy, 1989)

-FAMILY: Verdana">The Fugees The Score (Sony, 1996)

-FAMILY: Verdana">Lauryn Hill The Miseducation of Lauryn Hill (Sony, 1998)

Talib Kweli Reflection Eternal (Rawkus, 2002)

K-Os Exit (Astralwerks/EMD, 2002)

KRS-1 Ghetto Music: The Blueprint of Hip Hop (Jive, 1989)

Mos Def Black on Both Sides (Rawkus, 2002)

Public Enemy Some of their tracks contain explicit language, but many are also political and offer social statements worth exploring.

The Roots Phrenology (MCA, 2002) and Things Fall Apart (MCA, 1999)

Kanye West College Dropout (Roc-a-fella, 2004)

* vintage hip hop