Trace the Visual History of Hip-Hop Flyers in Stretch Armstrong’s New Book ‘No Sleep’
This is dope. If you’ve ever wondered what the nightlife promotion hustle was like before the age of technology, DJ Stretch Armstrong has just given you all the answers in one place. The famed New York City DJ has teamed up with Brooklyn-based publisher powerHouse Books to release the book No Sleep: NYC Nightlife Flyers 1988 – 1999.
As powerHouse describes it, the work serves as a “visual history of the halcyon days of New York City club life.” The book, compiled and co-written by Stretch and hip-hop historian Evan Auerbach with an introduction by DJ Mark Ronson, showcases 11 years of flyers that were distributed hand to hand on street corners, in barber shops and outside hotspots all throughout rap’s golden age.
Before the days of Instagram scammers and bottle service deals, hip-hop nightlife in New York was contingent upon dance floors and DJs, so the flyer had to show the party was poppin’. It’s cool to see how flyer designers used their creativity to devise the most eye-catching one-sheets and how the visuals changed over the years to get people in the door. Multi-colored flyers from S.O.B’s, The Building, Tunnel and more are all featured while Biz Markie, Eric B. & Rakim, Lil Kim, Akinyele are just a few of the rap names you’ll recognize.
With the age of the Internet making the paper flyer essentially obsolete in the 2000s, No Sleep serves as a visual timeline—or maybe even a trip down memory lane—for any hip-hop history buff.
No Sleep will be available everywhere on Dec. 6, just in time for you to knock out your holiday shopping for the hip-hop head in your life. Pre-oder the page-turner now via Amazon Books.
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