The Book of Rhyme & Reason: Hip-Hop 1994–1997
Foreword by Ice-T
Text(s) by Soren Baker
Photograph(s) by Peter Spirer
28.8 x 24.1 cm
Publisher: Reel Art Press
The ultimate backstage pass: a photographic inside look at the making of the pioneering hip hop documentary Rhyme & Reason
In the mid-1990s, documentary filmmaker Peter Spirer embarked on a three-year odyssey to create a realistic portrait of hip hop, interviewing over 80 artists. Spirer captured a seminal moment as the culture balanced on the cusp of the mainstream. As Ice-T comments in the introduction to the book, "Rhyme & Reason is one of the few films that was there to document us before hip hop truly exploded."
While filming, Spirer took stills using a medium-format Rolleiflex camera. These photographs form The Book of Rhyme & Reason. Spirer writes: "The Rollei allowed me to capture some amazing moments: Puffy getting a trim in his office while doing three tasks at once, Biggie opening record plaques on his couch, Ice-T and Mack 10 hanging with their homies, Heavy D at the barber, playing pool. There was the Jack The Rapper convention with Death Row making a statement, at a Disney World Hotel, that ended in chaos. There were magical moments such as Redman and Erick Sermon freestyling on the mic to amazed onlookers at a block party in Newark and watching Wu-Tang Clan chop it up on the block in Staten Island on a cold winter’s day before they exploded."
This coffee-table volume features over 130 of Spirer’s photographs from 1994 to 1997. As hip hop commemorates its 50th anniversary in 2023, it is particularly fitting that many of these images from this formative period are being published for the first time.