"All in all," writes Chang, "this collection [of essays] is loose, ungainly, contradictory, volatile, unstable." This honest self-critique is a valid charge to level at Total Chaos; these same qualities will challenge readers with short attention spans attempting to process the academic concepts at hand. It takes time and patience to penetrate this dense material note-taking is recommended. But it's worth wading through Chaos to discover underlying concepts on how hip hop threads together so many different people and artistic disciplines.
Beyond the theorizing panelists, some of Chaos' most exciting moments are the pure expressions from the heart: A Palestinian-American poet's ode to her borough (Suheir Hammad's "brooklyn"), a Bay Area native's nostalgic yarn about our local mixmasters' soul foundation (Robert Karimi's "how i found my inner DJ"). Even these chapters, though, are best digested slowly. In reading a book called Total Chaos, though, paying close attention is to be expected. In that respect, Chang and company channel the diverse spirit of the culture they document.