[Random House / Villard, 2007]
[Shinko (Japan), 2008]


500+ PAGES




Presenting never-before-told, behind-the-scenes histories ranging from influential '80s masterpieces De La Soul's 3 Feet High and Rising and Public Enemy's It Takes A Nation of Millions To Hold Us Back to '90s classics like the Fugees' The Score and the Beastie Boys' Check Your Head, the book's approach is one that Coleman calls Invisible Liner Notes - retracing the story of an album step by step, in collaboration with the artists themselves. Weighing in at over 500 pages, the 36-chapter book includes lively, in-depth, provocative interviews with 75 artists, DJs, producers and industry insiders. All in all, 400 hip-hop songs are discussed and dissected, with and by the artists who made them.

As Coleman explains, "My goal with Check the Technique is to let people eavesdrop on conversations I have been fortunate to have had with hip-hop legends over the years. To me, the most important thing about the book is that the facts, stories and opinions come from the artists themselves. Hip-hop artists have a certain image on video screens and in press-junket interviews, but Check the Technique does its best to strip all of that away and talk to these innovators as people, with respect and fan-fueled curiosity."

Coleman's self-published 2005 book, Rakim Told Me: Hip-Hop Wax Facts, Straight from the Original Artists, received worldwide praise from press, artists, industry insiders and around-the-way rap fans alike.

: for information or assistance regarding Check the Technique stocking/orders, please contact Random House customer service at 800-733-3000.


2 Live Crew As Nasty As They Wanna Be
Beastie Boys Check Your Head
Big Daddy Kane Long Live the Kane
Biz Markie Goin' Off
Black Moon Enta Da Stage
Boogie Down Productions Criminal Minded
Brand Nubian One for All
Common Resurrection
Cypress Hill Cypress Hill
Das Efx Dead Serious
De La Soul 3 Feet High And Rising
Digable Planets Reachin' (A New Refutation of Time and Space)
Digital Underground Sex Packets
EPMD Strictly Business
Eric B & Rakim Paid In Full
The Fugees The Score
Geto Boys We Can't Be Stopped
Ice-T Power
Marley Marl In Control Volume 1
MC Lyte Lyte As A Rock
Mobb Deep The Infamous
M.O.P. Firing Squad
Onyx Bacdafucup
Pete Rock & CL Smooth Mecca & The Soul Brother
The Pharcyde Bizarre Ride II The Pharcyde
Poor Righteous Teachers Holy Intellect
Public Enemy It Takes A Nation of Millions to Hold Us Back
Redman Whut? Thee Album
The Roots Do You Want More??!!??
Run-DMC Raising Hell
Schoolly D Saturday Night: The Album
Slick Rick The Great Adventures of Slick Rick
Too $hort Life Is… Too $hort
A Tribe Called Quest The Low End Theory
Wu-Tang Clan Enter the Wu-Tang: 36 Chambers
X-Clan To the East, Blackwards

"Hip-hop has always kept the bare facts of its creative process hidden, but Brian Coleman's Check the Technique saves the genre by steering rap towards the classic respect it deserves, alongside jazz, blues and rock. This book is a fantastic guide for all we do."
-Chuck D

"Brian Coleman has produced the best kind of oral history, getting some of the greatest figures in hip-hop (and some of the most important obscure ones) to talk about the music, straight-up. If you listen to it and love it, if you just want to know where it comes from,
Check the Technique is the source-point."
-Dave Marsh

"I definitely appreciate [
Check the Technique]. It's good to see somebody going in-depth in hip-hop, not just surface sh*t. I really do feel that this book is good for the history of hip-hop."
-Ice Cube

"Brian Coleman's writing is a lot like the albums he covers: direct, uproarious, and more than six-fifths genius."
-Jeff Chang, author of Can't Stop Won't Stop

"Brian Coleman gets props for the exhaustive effort it took to interview the writers and producers of three dozen seminal hip-hop albums for Check the Technique. He doesn't merely compile fresh liner notes and anecdotes from stars like Q-Tip, Chuck D and Too $hort. He captures hip-hop's spirit from the '80s to the mid-'90s, when inner-city kids discovered music through samples crammed into SP-1200 drum machines, learned the biz from shady contracts, and built their personae from their stage names up. Most admirably, Coleman sits back and lets these born storytellers talk. [Grade: B+]"
Entertainment Weekly

"The rap must-read of the year."
Boston Herald

"For hip-hop heads, and even casual fans,
Check the Technique is highly addictive reading. Coleman's writing is snappy, but even better is his ability to draw out hugely entertaining and revealing tales from a pantheon of hip-hop artists."
Washington Post Express

"Impressive. [One of 'the season's must-reads']"

"The interviews are unfailingly candid, and colorful."
Boston Globe

"Where others might want to intellectualize the stories of an urban artist's rise from obscurity to legendary status, in Coleman's hands these tales are anything but academic… More often than not, Coleman's introduction to the albums actually outshines the artist-led track commentary, and his enthusiasm and sense of humor are infectious."

"[Brian Coleman's] selflessness and devotion to real hip-hop and those who respect the art are what essentially render
Check the Technique the most important genre text in recent years, if not of all time."
Boston's Weekly Dig

"You know and I know that the rap industry is not the most focused when it comes to the administrative side of life. Fortunately our friend Brian Coleman put together
Check the Technique, a reference book of '80s and '90s record factoids that fills in all the blanks… Cliff Notes for Hip-Hop 101!"
The Fader

"If you read only one author this year, Brian Coleman is your man… Check the Technique is like the Bible, but better!"
Rap Mag [France]

"Easy to read and informative… Coleman's volume, covering 400 tracks and 75 artists all told, is a valuable, entertaining inside look at the creative processes behind some of the best-selling albums of their (or any) time."
Publishers Weekly

"Brian Coleman's
Check the Technique is that rarity in mainstream publishing: a truly essential rap history. Unlike the derivative eggheads, Coleman knows and loves the music. He covers the right albums and artists. He lets hip-hop legends describe how they created the genre's true landmarks and delivers an epic, enthralling, and long-overdue history from a credible author."
-Ronin Ro, author, Have Gun Will Travel, Dr. Dre and Raising Hell

"What makes Brian Coleman's Check the Technique unique is his utter faith in the reasonableness and authority of those who make hip-hop, as opposed to those who merely write about it. He asks incisive, elemental questions, and trusts the artists to explain and define themselves, instead of doing the clarification and definition workto them. In a universe where white people relentlessly sort and typecast Black people without consent, his deference has liberatory potential."
-Harry Allen, Hip-Hop Activist & Media Assassin

"… indispensable for tried-and-true hip-hop heads."
San Francisco Weekly

"The expansion [from
Rakim Told Me] gives the book an extra heft, not only in size, but also as an overview of the hip-hop album's ascension as an ambitious form and a major market force. Grade: A-"
The Onion

"We're duly impressed with the exhaustive research Brian Coleman put into
Check the Technique … Through in-depth conversations with major players like Chuck D, Wyclef and Q-Tip, the author takes us back to a time before hip-hop was dominated by bling and Snoop cameos, offering no less than 500 pages of track-by-track history on how a genre was built."
E! Online

"Artists and their work can get paved over and forgotten pretty quickly in these days of cultural amnesia. So a few uncorny hip-hop hoorays are due to Brian Coleman … Deep, informative and hilarious liner notes via interviews with the artists and producers who were there."
Time Out New York

"Coleman's lengthy chapter introductions are meticulously thorough and informative, putting each album into its proper context. But the real strength of
Check the Technique lies in the Boston-based writer's ability to extract the right information from his interview subjects. Coleman writes with the warmth and enthusiasm of a hip-hop addict eager to share his findings with like-minded individuals, rather than with the superior know-it-all smugness sometimes attributed to music experts…Check the Technique is a must-read for both old fans who grew up on many of the albums included here, and younger heads eager to learn some history. [Rating: 5/5]"
Blues & Soul (UK)

"A must-have book that should sit alongside your CD [and] record collection."
AOL Black Voices

Check the Technique is the antidote to surface-level stagnation, a descent into behind-the-scenes territory to offer an in-depth oral history of hip-hop record-making in the '80s and '90s that's both rare and revealing… [It gives] intimate access to the brains and schemes behind the curtain of a seminal, high-stakes genre."
New YorkMetro

"Super-bionic-genetically-enhanced liner notes…
Check the Technique is a fine case of intimate journalism from a veteran writer who has managed to make storied albums that much more legendary, by providing a looking glass into the genius behind their conception. Coleman has paid a great debt to the music that has so greatly influenced him and codified for us many cherished opuses that we can now relive over and over again."

"Using the artists' own words, Coleman's enthralling, mercifully non-academic approach pulls back the curtains on the creation of dozens of classics, from the Fugees'
The Score to 2 Live Crew's As Nasty As They Wanna Be."