No Half Steppin’ — oral and pictorial history of the Latin Quarter from Wax Poetics Books


No Half Steppin' (Wax Poetics Books)

No Half Steppin’ — An Oral and Pictorial History of New York City Club the Latin Quarter and the Birth of Hip-Hop’s Golden Era is 212 pages with over 175 color photographs and flyers from the greatest period in hip-hop history. Oral history by participants Special K and Teddy Tedd, KRS-One, MC Shan, Eric B., Daddy-O, Fab 5 Freddy, Just-Ice, Positive K, DJ Clark Kent, Kid, Dana Dane, TR Love, MC Serch, Chuck D, Grand Puba, Sadat X, Pete Nice, Prince Paul, Kurtis Blow, Mike Gee, Daddy-O, Wise, Ced Gee, Big Daddy Kane, Queen Latifah, Kool G Rap, and many many more.


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In the mid-1980s, DJ duo the Awesome 2, along with hip-hop impresario Paradise Gray, helped transform Manhattan salsa club the Latin Quarter into an iconic hip-hop institution.

Legends were born in that bustling Times Square club—from Stetsasonic, KRS-One, and Eric B. & Rakim to Queen Latifah, Public Enemy, and A Tribe Called Quest. Unsigned artists could drop a hot set and score a record deal—or get booed off stage like Amateur Night at the Apollo.

You could walk into the club a nobody and come out a star.

A musical incubator of hip-hop’s Golden Era, the Latin Quarter was also pivotal in the creation of the the Stop the Violence Movement.


What people are saying:

“This book is the missing link!” –Fab 5 Freddy

“Brilliant! This captures the essence of hip-hop culture.” –Cey Adams, visual artist, graphic designer, and author; founding creative director of Def Jam Recordings

“The photos and text are some if the the earliest record of hip-hop, even before it started being called hip-hop. No bookshelf or library or collection of books on hip-hop can dare call itself complete with this vibrant No Half Steppin’ in it front and center.” –Ernie Paniccioli, photographer, Hip-Hop Hall of Fame Inductee, and author of Who Shot Ya?

“It’s incredible!” –Prime Minister Pete Nice (3rd Bass)

“This book gives another great shot in the arm to hip-hop culture with an enjoyable reminder of what we had and our entertainment was also birthed from. Kid and I are humbled and honored to be on the cover for a book that needs to be in the library of every hip-hop historian and book collector. The work and priceless photographs that are in this masterpiece are incredible and salute to Claude Paradise Gray and Giuseppe Pipitone for an awesome work. –Christopher “Play” Martin


About the authors:

Claude “Paradise” Gray was raised in the South Bronx. He was cofounder of the X Clan, whose 1990 album To the East, Blackwards is an Afrocentric and socio-politically conscious Golden Era hip-hop classic. Prior to that, he was host and entertainment manager for the Manhattan nightclub the Latin Quarter where he was a key figure in transforming it into an historical hip-hop venue. Paradise is also a noted writer, photographer, and hip-hop historian/archivist, as confirmed with this book, No Half Steppin’, where his personal collection of photographs and memories—paired with an oral history from some of the club’s most famous patrons—tell the story of the most important incubator of talent for the Golden Era of hip-hop.

Giuseppe “” Pipitone is an author and an activist; a lover of hip-hop culture and Black history; and a believer in the power of oral history. His previous books include Bigger than Hip Hop (2006), Renegades of Funk (2009), Louder than a Bomb(2012), and Don’t Believe the Hype (2016).


“One moment that I always think of when people ask me about the Latin Quarter was Red Alert playing Eric B. & Rakim’s ‘My Melody’ for the first time. That might even be my most magical moment in hip-hop.” –Daddy-O of Stetsasonic


Photos from the book:

Paradise Gray and Mike Tyson (The Latin Quarter)

Paradise Gray and Mike Tyson at the Latin Quarter


MC Lyte and Queen Latifah (The Latin Quarter)

MC Lyte and Queen Latifah


MC Delite, Red Alert, Mele Mel, and Jazzy Joyce (The Latin Quarter)

MC Delite, Red Alert, Mele Mel, and Jazzy Joyce


KRS-One, MC Shan, and DJ Scott La Rock (The Latin Quarter)

KRS-One, MC Shan, and DJ Scott La Rock


Jam Master Jay (The Latin Quarter)

Jam Master Jay at the Latin Quarter


Heavy D and the Boyz (The Latin Quarter)

Heavy D and the Boyz


Grandmaster Mele Mel, Afrika Islam, and Ice-T (The Latin Quarter)

Grandmaster Mele Mel, Afrika Islam, and Ice-T


Actor Carl Payne with LL Cool J (The Latin Quarter)

Actor Carl Payne with LL Cool J


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One Response

  1. The Latin Quarters was the heartbeat of my life I would sneak out on Tuesday nights knowing good and well I had to be in school the next morning. My adrenaline pumped as I got off the path train and walked up to 48th and Broadway to the club that seem to be the gathering place where only the most elite young unknown artist featured their talents. This is where I fell in complete LOVE with hip hop and decided that music will be a part of my life forever……Well done my brother Paradise

    – DamitaJo Morse

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