In the last year, hip-hop book publishing has seen its greatest period to date with the release of Jay-Z's 'Decoded,' the controversial 'Anthology of Rap' and Dan Charnas' truly excellent 'The Big Payback: The History of the Business of Hip-Hop.' Next up on the hip-hop booklist is the most luxurious offering to date. Aria, a multimedia entertainment company, has just published 'Hip-Hop: A Cultural Odyssey,' which is its first foray into books.

The text is being billed as a "420-page treasure chest of rap information" and features many original essays written by top music critics all over the world, hundreds of historic images, interviews with some of rap's great personalities and a comprehensive listing of the Top 100 singles and albums from the genre's four active decades to date.

With an introduction from hip-hop godfather Afrika Bambaataa and testimonials from a wide variety of legends like Big Daddy Kane, Ad Rock, Cee Lo, Charlie Ahern, Jazzy Jeff, DJ Premier, Fab 5 Freddy, Grandmaster Caz, Ice-T, Kool Mo Dee, Method Man, Prince, Talib Kweli and many more, this one appears even more comprhensive than Yale's anthology or any of the hip-hop coffeetable-type books to be published thus far.

Of course, with luxury and exclusivity comes a price. The text is being sold, right now only within the United States, for a whopping sum of $299.99. Looks like 'Hip-Hop: A Cultural Odyssey' is the Maybach of rap books.

Watch Afrika Bambaataa's 'Planet Rock' Video