This year marks the 22nd Anniversary of the first Grammy awarded to a rap act -- DJ Jazzy Jeff and the Fresh Price for "Parents Just Don't Understand" -- at a time when the mainstream was still leery of the once controversial art form. Since, the awards have evolved in respect to hip-hop, which is evident in this year's nominees Rihanna, Eminem, Jay-Z and Kanye West.
The scope of hip-hop's current reach can be seen in many of the songs that "crossover" into other Grammy categories that appeal to people who would never consider themselves a hip-hop fan.
"20 years ago hip-hop was still on the outside, or underground, however you want to label it," Sommers said. "20 years later, hip-hop has created its own space, its own room, and it's the mainstream that's banging down their door to be a part of it."
"This book means that anyone can accomplish anything they set their mind to," said Sommers. "I think that specifically with hip hip culture, the story of pioneers inspires people. They created an art-form. Like jazz and blues, most of American pop culture has come from the African-American community. They created this culture that's now a billion dollar business -- an inspiring evolution."
Hip-Hop: A Cultural Odyssey is available at www.hiphopculturebook.com