Published Jul 23, 2007XXL Magazine columnist Brian Coleman first chronicled influential hip-hop albums in the self-published Rakim Told Me now expanded as Check the Technique. Colemans straightforward style wisely foregrounds oral history to relay the circumstances of pivotal recordings. Highlights include KRS-Ones recollections of Criminal Minded, a tale so riveting Coleman discarded the format he used for the other albums. Other notable chapters include the Beastie Boys uniquely playful recording environment for Check Your Head and the often side-splitting yarn of how the Roots created Do You Want More?!!!??! In his forward, Roots drummer ?uestlove Thompson astutely points out that hip-hops golden age coincided with the meagre production budgets and inferior packaging by major labels for a genre considered to be bereft of artistic value. Reading the intricacies of how the Wu-Tang Clan, A Tribe Called Quest, Public Enemy and De La Soul crafted revered rap classics, nothing could be further from the truth.