The year in hip-hop books

It was around this time last year that I began reviewing books on my own site on a semi-regular basis. Since then, I’ve read and reviewed 20 or so books, though I think I may have read a few more than I actually got around to reviewing. No John Stockton. I probably would’ve done twice as many if I hadn’t started working at this asshole factory back in March.

Most of them didn’t really have shit to do with hip-hop because, really, who wants to read an entire book about this bullshit, but at least a few of them did. I was fortunate in that some publishers of hip-hop books actually sent me free copies of them. (The ones who didn’t can of course eat my ass.) That was the case with four of the five books featured here.

For my takes on some older hip-hop books, check out a post I once wrote called Five books about hip-hop.

Queens Reigns Supreme: Fat Cat, 50 Cent, and the Rise of the Hip-Hop Hustler

Notorious ’80s-era Queens drug dealers like Kenneth “Supreme” McGriff and Lorenzo “Fat Cat” Nichols have been immortalized in the lyrics of rappers like Nas and 50 Cent, but I’ll admit not knowing very much about them until I read Ethan Brown’s Queens Reigns Supreme.

As it turns out, their story is damn interesting. It’s no wonder rappers are always shouting them out. Fat Cat and the rest of these celebrity drug dealer types ran the shitty (-er) parts of Queens as if it was the Wild West or some shit. Today’s crack rappers are all pussies by comparison.

Peep: Queens Reigns Supreme: Book Review

Never Drank the Kool-Aid

Toure’s Never Drank the Kool-Aid is one of these anthologies of magazine stories and essays a writer puts out once he’s too busy getting that TV guap to write anymore stories for bitch-ass publications like the Village Voice.

It’s not normally my m.o. to contribute to some other d-bag’s semi-retirement, but fortunately Toure has written a wealth of interesting stories over the past 12 years or so, including features on most of the top figures in hip-hop today.

Check my review for a list of the ones I found most interesting.

Peep: Never Drank the Kool-Aid: Book Review

Can’t Stop Won’t Stop: A History of the Hip-Hop Generation

Jeff Chang’s Can’t Stop Won’t Stop is a ridonkulously large book, and if you’ve seen it in bookstores you may be wondering what the fuck is in it. As it turns out, rather than some exhaustive history of hip-hop the music, CSWS is an exhaustive history of hip-hop the ancillary social issues.

I was with the overall concept, but I had my share of issues with the actual execution, which you can peep in my review. I should note though that most people who read this found it to be the best thing since whoever first thought to combine chocolate and peanut butter.

Peep: Can’t Stop Won’t Stop: Book Review

Notorious C.O.P.: The Inside Story of the Tupac, Biggie, and Jam Master Jay Investigations from the NYPD’s First “Hip-Hop Cop”

My pick for hip-hop book of the year (check out the story I did on it this summer), Notorious C.O.P. chronicles “hip-hop cop” Derrick Parker’s investigations into the 2Pac, Biggie, and Jam Master Jay murders.

You don’t learn much more about who actually pulled the trigger in each of these cases, but you do get a pretty good idea why none of them have been solved thus far, despite the victims being such high profile figures.

Peep: Notorious C.O.P.: Book Review

Bling: The Hip-Hop Jewelry Book

Reggie Osse and Gabriel Tolliver’s Bling charts the rise of hip-hop jewelry from the days when jigs could only afford those chains used car salesmen wear all the way up to the present, when rappers are walking around with hundreds of thousands of dollars worth of bullshit just in their mouths.

It’s relatively lightweight reading compared to the likes of the Jeff Chang book, but how much do you really want to know about gold chains and such anyway? The overall presentation is nice and slick (no “Leather So Soft”) and the pictures are downright hilarious.

Peep: Bling: Book Review

  • Fernando

    Ocho Cinco

  • Fernando

    Damn…..

    Not much to say about this one. havent read any of these books and I dont plan to.

    I will say that the BET show American Gangster that did an episod about Fat Cat Nichols was damn interesting and the book is probably better.

  • content

    positive post…credit for that

  • http://www.allhiphop.com Rey

    Good shit this week, Ashlee. Is the ‘Bling’ book as close to the ‘Junebug over-golds’ scene in I’m Gonna Git You, Sucka! as I’m thinking it is? Anyway, I’m sure next week will be about Jeezy, More North V South Beef, and Nas’ new album, so I’ll try to act surprised. UNO!

  • thoreauly77

    i am constantly amazed that you can post an article everyday, especially because even if it sucks, it’s still better than homework or real work. cheers bol.

  • thoreauly77

    oh and what ever happened to that amazing high-top fade bol? bring that shit back.

  • content

    >i am constantly amazed that you can post an article everyday

    i’ll give him that. these other bloggers on here need to get on their job ’cause they do 2 a week at best

  • thoreauly77

    fresh used to post almost everyday, but she hasnt posted for maybe two weeks? noz has been posting quite a bit lately, and his shit is usually on point. tara pretty much kicks ass when she’s not writing about akon or jeezy. other than that, it’s a wash. except of course for bol, who posts almost everyday, and still somehow we all tune in regardless of how retarded his posts are.

  • content

    >still somehow we all tune in regardless of how retarded his posts are.

    It’s like Monday Night Football. Even if the teams suck we still watch.

  • Fernando

    How does the blog for a huge magazine suck so bad outside of Bol????

    Sickamore does a post a month. guest list has been idle for about 2 weeks. Noz & Fresh dont do very much. Tara at least tries to do 3 a week. Splinters are worthless.

  • http://www.allhiphop.com Rey

    Fuck it, Splinter should give Transi a blog.

  • thoreauly77

    i don’t know. maybe YN has been hitting people up to write (like he apparently did with dallas penn for a full-time gig), but has been getting rejected by the writers? okay everyone, top five, in order from first to last, blog-spots checked out daily.

    1. xxlmag.com
    2. nah right
    3. dallaspenn.com
    4. passion of the weiss
    5. bc.c

  • el prez

    byron crawford needs his ass kicked … the dude didnt even read any of the books really except the ones about crime…prolly cause its talking bout a place he’s never been…and that’s the inner-city…hip hop is dead because of people like him being able to have an opinion about shit… no wonder people call him an uncle tom…hiphop’s version of bryant gumbel and stanley crouch…

  • The DJ Formerly Known as N-CREDIBLE

    Chuck D ,Yusuf Jah Complete Lyrics Of A Rap Revolutionary , Plan Other Books on New Imprint; OFFDA Books
    In 1997 Chuck D and Yusuf Jah co authored FIGHT THE POWER national bestseller. Its been nearly 10 years since it was released, a rap, race, and reality toss by Mistachuck, which then was received in over 20 countries and transcribed in 6 different languages. Workload and self-critical apprehension kept the second book from the marketplace.
    Now the stage is set for the ‘Lyrics Of A Rap Revolutionary’ a book of stories surrounding the songs that people have heard throughout the years, but rarely the details involved in its creation. The book is scheduled to appear in stores January 007, and will be the official launch of Chuck and Yusufs imprint OFFDA. The company plans to put out 5 PE related books in the next 2 years including writings from Professor Griff. Other similar rap authors are to be considered.

    I beleive there is a market for the older and the new twenty’s(no jay-z) rappers in this…i wouldn’t mind reading a book mainly written by guys like Mos Def, common, dmx, nas, jay-z, diddy, etc…i know they are a few out there but the push for em is weak…

  • The DJ Formerly Known as N-CREDIBLE

    Disclaimer: the only thing i wanna hear from Diddy is how to hustle and come up…knowing him he wouldn’t wanna share the details…he might consider them a trade secret…

  • thoreauly77

    dj- diddy would likely talk about how to destroy pimples and preserve is sexy (that phrase makes me uncomfortable). fuck, i forgot where i read it but recently mos def wrote and presented an article in support of assata shakur, and it was very good.

  • Ali

    Another quality Bol post.

  • thoreauly77
  • The DJ Formerly Known as N-CREDIBLE

    oh i forgot the TI dont want us reading why would they allocate resources to something like that

  • thoreauly77

    is the link really not coming up?

  • let the game begin

    I should oblige this is one of the most interesting post so far

    As it turns out, their story is damn interesting. It’s no wonder rappers are always shouting them out. Fat Cat and the rest of these celebrity drug dealer types ran the shitty (-er) parts of Queens as if it was the Wild West or some shit. Today’s crack rappers are all pussies by comparison.

    ^^^^^^^^^^^^^
    though I hate to admit it I totally agree with you on this one bol

  • LONZO

    word.

  • LONZO

    does ne one have the new Nas??? willit be worth my $10? this past month i got the Game, Clipse, and fatjoe and they were worth my $10 each, and the snoop was not worth my $10, while the jayz was not worth my downloading. any suggestions on Nas, buy, download, or ignore?

  • !

    You got Toure` confused with Kevin Powell in Toure`’s book review, slim.

  • http://myspace.com/belizeanbway Belize

    >(The ones who didn’t can of course eat my ass.)

    ^?Okay Jeffrey Dalhmer?

    Russel Simmon’s Book = Nails

  • Fernando

    Lonzo….No likey Snoop???

    I thought the Clipse album was pretty weak. Game was OK, and Fat Joe was, well, Fat Joe.

    Snoop had about 10 good cuts on it, i thought.

    New Mac Mall is better than all that Sh*t though.

  • http://www.allhiphop.com Rey

    Hey Meka, What’s a 51 50?

  • http://www.allhiphop.com Rey

    Ki Jana Carter

  • LONZO

    i thought the snoop had way too many filler tracks, it had a few decent cuts, but i just wasnt feelin the overall cd. (no bol). Although the clipse are fukin crazy on the mic, they could use better beats.

  • 007

    “working at this asshole factory”
    now I understand the hate

  • thoreauly77

    i went on saw the 49ers get smoked by the pack last weekend and heard the whole snoop album on his xm show. i thought that shit sounded pretty good, but not good enough to buy. after i pick up my tips today —- new ghostface!

  • http://myspace.com/belizeanbway Belize

    Good read: 40 laws of power

  • http://myspace.com/belizeanbway Belize

    or was it 48…dang..i forgot

  • http://www.myspace.com/poisonousdarthfc Poisonous Dart

    Of all of those so called “hip hop” books you mentioned, only “Can’t Stop, Won’t Stop” would I count as an actually book about hip hop. Toure’s book was more of a retrospective…

    I remember Toure almost getting his ass kicked by both the Jungle Brothers and Digable Planets after he wrote articles about them for The Source. Anyone that can piss those laid back ass cats off enough where they have to be restrained from assaulting him doesn’t readily qualify as an essential hip hop writer that I need to read his memoirs.

    Damn, you’re bad at writing about anything somewhat meaningful in regards to hip hop.

    One.

  • J.O.S.E.(HIP HOP IS DEAD)

    books?? psssh who needs em……

  • http://aramhiphopetc.blogspot.com I Fux

    The ones who didn’t can of course eat my ass

    ^^ Once again Bol shows his true Homoflagusual colors, You know How I know Bol is Gay he likes the Gin Blossoms…………

    On the Other Good writing this week peace.

  • Fernando

    Bernie Kosar

  • INVISIBLE_HAND

    I READ THE RUSSEL SIMMONS (THE 1 W/ THE WORD DEF ON IT)BOOK N THAT WAS OK BUT NUTHIN ELSE. I DONT KNOW ANYBODY ELSE WHO ACTUALLY BUYS THESE BOOKS…
    I GUESS HIP-HOPERS DONT CARE ‘BOUT NO FANCY BOOK LEARNIN’!

  • INVISIBLE_HAND
  • The DJ Formerly Known as N-CREDIBLE

    food dor thought:

    does it cost more to make a book or package a cd?

  • The DJ Formerly Known as N-CREDIBLE

    edit: for

  • The DJ Formerly Known as N-CREDIBLE

    INVISIBLE_HAND Says:

    December 15th, 2006 at 5:03 pm
    http://www.myspace.com/ianlewismusicmanagement GET @ ME !
    ^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^
    NO

  • THAT_BOY_NOAH

    YEAH ME TOO I READ THAT RUSSEL SIMMONS ONE IT WAS PRETTY GOOD.BUT I WOULD LIKE TO READ THAT JERRY HELLER NWA ONE.

  • http://www.myspace.com/corinnemq Corinne

    INVISIBLE_HAND Says:

    December 15th, 2006 at 5:03 pm
    http://www.myspace.com/ianlewismusicmanagement GET @ ME !

    = K-Fed Leftovers

    jacquez Says:
    December 13th, 2006 at 5:16 pm
    http://www.myspace.com/southcrak
    go listen instead

  • http://myspace.com/belizeanbway Belize

    I Fux Says:

    December 15th, 2006 at 4:38 pm
    The ones who didn’t can of course eat my ass

    ^^ Once again Bol shows his true Homoflagusual colors, You know How I know Bol is Gay he likes the Gin Blossoms…………

    ^You know How I know Bol is Gay? His name is BOL

  • The DJ Formerly Known as N-CREDIBLE

    this post and the number count proves the point that americans have been dumbed down by tv, music, and instant gratification

    talk about something intellectual(even though your selections are not that intriguing)and the room gets quiet…drop a book on a corner and watch em scatter….that applies to all races…i think its safe to say that the average hip hop fan does not read books…unless it is something by supahead or that trick carmen…have we all been Jerry Springernize…

  • Fernando

    I got that Young Money Lil Weeziana Vol.1 mixtape that Noz was going all crazy about.

    Its OK. Definitely has some joints, but not worth devoting a column to.

  • The DJ Formerly Known as N-CREDIBLE

    Fernando Says:

    December 15th, 2006 at 5:19 pm
    I got that Young Money Lil Weeziana Vol.1 mixtape that Noz was going all crazy about.

    Its OK. Definitely has some joints, but not worth devoting a column to.
    ^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^
    quick to cop it i see wonder why

    oh that Leather So Soft Video is the shit…ill watch videos if they are like that…and the girls represent going against the usual video hoe…we need more of this people…weezy is a creative dude…which is what the game has been missin…

  • The DJ Formerly Known as N-CREDIBLE

    I CANT FEEL MY FACE

  • http://myspace.com/belizeanbway Belize

    How da fuck u get a nickname like bol? Did u

    (a)play alot wit balls as a kid and u just liked the way BALLS sounds like in spanish? (BOLas?!?)

    (b) always have a fresh “BOwL cut as a kid?

    (c) addicted to indian music?

    (d) acronym for Being Overall Lame?

    Just wondering

  • The DJ Formerly Known as N-CREDIBLE

    IM DROOLING ON THE KEYBOARD

  • http://myspace.com/belizeanbway Belize

    Good books:

    Icberg Slim “PIMP”-step ur mack game up!

    “Never Die alone”- better than the movie

    DMX’s book – a great story

    shout out to the hardy boyz!!!!!!!!

  • PITPAT

    ^^^^^dont diss bol like that show some respect to the mentaly disabled

  • The DJ Formerly Known as N-CREDIBLE

    Belize Says:

    December 15th, 2006 at 5:29 pm
    Good books:

    Icberg Slim “PIMP”-step ur mack game up!

    “Never Die alone”- better than the movie

    DMX’s book – a great story

    shout out to the hardy boyz!!!!!!!!
    ^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^
    cosign ice berg he reminds me of me…im cold hard on a bitch

  • Fernando

    Iceberg’s book was ill. I read it in one night. His lingo cracks me up (as well as the definitions in the back of the book)

    A really really good book

    The Power Broker

    Its all about the life of Robert Moses. This man built NY as we see it today. Freeways, Parks, Beaches, Long Island. Any of you NYers should read this. He’s good and evil at the same time. He screwed a lot of people, but also did a lot of good. Plus he had the Government in check without even being elected to anything.

  • http://myspace.com/belizeanbway Belize

    Mookie Blaylock

  • http://myspace.com/belizeanbway Belize

    Hmm power broker? Never read it. gotta cop it.

    lol @ ncred

  • http://myspace.com/belizeanbway Belize

    Pitpat- Bol’s probably figuring out y he’s called bol as we speak..err…type

  • Fernando

    Have fun this weekend. I have to go shopping with my Fiance so I might just slit my wrists tonight.

    Dolph Schayes

  • Fernando

    Belize –

    Its a great book. I think it won a Pulitzer Prize. Be warned, its long as a mothaf*cka and takes some dedication to get through. But you will feel a whole lot smarter when you are done.

    Out

  • http://myspace.com/belizeanbway Belize

    The coldest winter ever

  • http://myspace.com/belizeanbway Belize

    kool

  • http://myspace.com/belizeanbway Belize

    & im out like A.I.

  • http://myspace.com/belizeanbway Belize

    nando – bring ur ipod. It works wonders

  • Fernando

    zzzzzzzzzzzzzz

  • http://myspace.com/belizeanbway Belize

    Gettin Sickle cell > shoppin wit ur girl

  • Fernando

    1

  • http://www.bIIO.com bol is GAY

    Fuck Bol. Bol is an ugly motherfucker, and everyone knows ugly peoples opinions dont count. Nerdy ASS GLASSES, fucked up ass “baldie”. You can tell he has ashy ass lips just by looking at that ugly ass picture. Fuck BOL!! From all illegal immigrants. Fuck you forever, latinos talk and the word is already out on your ass, beware puto. FUCK BOL , Bol is a foggot, BOL OF SHIT, BOLIO HAIRCUT, Look at his picture he’s wearing a swapmeet solid color tee with a “drunk” white undershirt. Fuckin poor bitch. Get a Job stop voicing your wrong ass opinions, about hip hop. Nigga you look like the only Black “EMO” on earth. Brush your teeth too, word on the street is your breath stinks..

  • Incilin

    I loved Queens Reigns Supereme. What you say about it is true, but what really bothered me was that the book isn’t really about rap. It’s about Fat Cat and all the real gangsters, it just brings 50 and Ja into it to make it seem interesting to people like me who would like the topic but didn’t know enough about guys like Superme to want to read it. Overall I thought it was great cuz it shows how real criminals affect rappers who are in truth, just industry thugs.

  • http://aramhiphopetc.blogspot.com I Fux

    I read a book called Under&Alone about an FBI agent who goes undercover with the Motorcycle gang the Mongols and that book was dope

  • weezybaby

    BOL CAN YOU REVIEW LIKE FATHER LIKE SON ON YA WEBSITE

    BOL CAN YOU REVIEW LIKE FATHER LIKE SON ON YA WEBSITE

    BOL CAN YOU REVIEW LIKE FATHER LIKE SON ON YA WEBSITE

    BOL CAN YOU REVIEW LIKE FATHER LIKE SON ON YA WEBSITE

    BOL CAN YOU REVIEW LIKE FATHER LIKE SON ON YA WEBSITE

    BOL CAN YOU REVIEW LIKE FATHER LIKE SON ON YA WEBSITE

    BOL CAN YOU REVIEW LIKE FATHER LIKE SON ON YA WEBSITE

    BOL CAN YOU REVIEW LIKE FATHER LIKE SON ON YA WEBSITE

    BOL CAN YOU REVIEW LIKE FATHER LIKE SON ON YA WEBSITE

    BOL CAN YOU REVIEW LIKE FATHER LIKE SON ON YA WEBSITE

    BOL CAN YOU REVIEW LIKE FATHER LIKE SON ON YA WEBSITE

    BOL CAN YOU REVIEW LIKE FATHER LIKE SON ON YA WEBSITE

    BOL CAN YOU REVIEW LIKE FATHER LIKE SON ON YA WEBSITE

    BOL CAN YOU REVIEW LIKE FATHER LIKE SON ON YA WEBSITE

    BOL CAN YOU REVIEW LIKE FATHER LIKE SON ON YA WEBSITE

    BOL CAN YOU REVIEW LIKE FATHER LIKE SON ON YA WEBSITE

  • Shabad

    ^Shut the fuck up.

  • J.O.S.E.(HIP HOP IS DEAD)

    @n cred

    weezy is creative because he plays a guitar(barely anyways) like ja rule did? remember what happened to him….

  • J.O.S.E.(HIP HOP IS DEAD)

    J.O.S.E.(HIP HOP IS DEAD) Says:

    December 15th, 2006 at 4:15 pm
    books?? psssh who needs em……

    ^^
    i can listen to the wu-tang forever album and get “all the knowledge i need” lol. i love wu(no dj n cred) i even buy their wack ass compilation albums(no killa beez) and i actually listened to the entire “W”..

  • Malik B

    You work at a factory?

  • whoop di whoop

    J.O.S.E.(HIP HOP IS DEAD) Says:

    December 16th, 2006 at 11:03 am
    @n cred

    weezy is creative because he plays a guitar(barely anyways) like ja rule did? remember what happened to him….
    ^^^^^^^^
    he also kisses man in the mouth now thats a very creative nigga

  • http://myspace.com/belizeanbway Belize

    ^haaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaa

  • mannyworld33

    TOILET BOL! WHO CARES ABOUT THOSE BOOKS YOU MENTIONED!

    CO-SIGN BELIZE & N-CRED ON THAT “PIMP” BOOK, THAT SHIT WAS DEEP!
    THE COLDEST WINTER, SATIN DOLL AND THE JORDAN RULES ARE ALL GOOD READS.

  • Joopset

    How does the blog for a huge magazine suck so bad outside of Bol????

    Sickamore does a post a month. guest list has been idle for about 2 weeks. Noz & Fresh dont do very much. Tara at least tries to do 3 a week. Splinters are worthless.

    ^^Maybe it’s because all of those people work other jobs that leave them little time to blog about irrelevant books and Bun B. Shit, we can’t all work part time jobs pushing carts for minimum wage at Big K-Mart, or sit around in an office cubicle refreshing XXL every other hour waiting for an overrall unlikeable (and ugly) guy to post about two men kissing or how Jim Jones is the king of NY. You douchebags need REAL jobs. no Cosby.

  • E AKA THE REAL NORIEAGA

    “Fat Cat” = gully dude

    If your into(no birdman) books about hustlers read the bios of guys like Norieaga, Ricky Ross, and Escobar

  • http://mixfiend.com Belize

    Jordan rules is crack (no fat joe)

  • INVISIBLE_HAND
  • MC Spectakular

    reading sucks…unless its xxl magazine of course hahaha beat it bol

  • E AKA THE REAL NORIEAGA

    Just finished listining to “Streets is a Mutha” haven’t heard it in a while.

    Kurupt = That nucca

    What happened to that vato he used to murk tracks. Cali Is Active was still dope though.

  • E AKA THE REAL NORIEAGA

    AY!

  • E AKA THE REAL NORIEAGA

    CHEA

  • E AKA THE REAL NORIEAGA

    UGGH

    WAMP WAMP

  • jacquez
  • Cuban Link

    FUCK YOU