Hip-hop has always prided itself on its oral traditions—rappers, at their core, are street griots who provide corner reportage on varied topics: ghetto tales, politics, relationships, the drug game and, what Jay-Z would term “the life.” This year, in particular, saw those accounts documented and anthologized in great detail. With the holidays in full swing, XXL decided to offer its picks of the best hip-hop books to buy this season. —Jason Parham