Did you know that there were specific images and contact sheets that you wanted to include in the book, or was the curation process more collaborative with the individual photographers?
My selection criteria was twofold. I knew there was certain images in hip hop’s collective consciousness that were must haves: Biggie in the crown, the Nas Illmatic photos, Lisa Leone’s Snoop photos. I started there. There were also certain photographers that had to be in the book, but I didn’t know exactly what images I wanted from them. There were certain photographers who dedicated themselves to documenting hip hop, for whatever reason they found it important really early on to point their camera at hip hop. I wanted to make sure that those photographers were celebrated in the book too, because they are as much a part of the culture as the artists and the djs. Jamel Shabazz was one, he is really well known, but I didn’t have a particular image in mind, he was just so instrumental and of the culture that he documented. I was thinking we would use one of his street portraits, but then he had an image that had been used as The Roots’ Undun cover.
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