Speaking of DL brothers, I recently got a chance to check out the book Hiding in Hip Hop, i.e. the widely heralded teh ghey Superhead book. Before anyone asks, no, I didn’t actually go to a Barnes & Noble and cop this shit. The author reads my shit here at XXL and had his publisher send me a copy, so that maybe I could do a feature on him. Nullus. Also, nullus on this entire review, not to mention having read this shit in the first place.
The book begins with Dean headed out to California to begin his career in the movie business. He had been in Nashville for some time, because he’d gone to school there, and because he’d ended up doing some time in the joint there stemming from an incident that took place while he was in school. But he doesn’t dwell on his time behind bars too much at that point. I figured he might come back to it at some point later in the book, but he never really does. You’d think time spent bars would an important aspect of a memoir by a teh ghey black dude, but no, apparently.
As is the case with most memoirs these days, like Barack Obama’s Dreams from My Father (not that I’m trying to draw a connection!), Hiding in Hip Hop comes with a disclaimer at the very beginning stating that the author is just drawing from his own recollections of shit, and that some names have been changed to protect the innocent, and what have you. And indeed, Hiding in Hip Hop is rife with what you might call memoir issues. His glossed over jail time would be an example. In general, Hiding in Hip Hop is so devoid of real detail that I wouldn’t be surprised if someone just made it up, on some Jayson Blair shit.
Which is not to say that I think Terrance Dean made any of this shit up. I’m just saying. I’m sure the reason the book is the way it is, is that a) it’s filled with blind items about the people this guy has fucked over the years; and b) the blind items are the real point of the book anyway, not so much the rest of this guy’s life story. It’s like that book OJ wrote about how he would have killed his wife, if he did (which, personally, I’m still not convinced he did) – all of the scenes that aren’t “action” scenes are just filler, to make the book long enough that they could reasonably charge $30 for it.
As far as those action scenes are concerned, because I’m sure that’s all you fruits are really interested in, they end up being kind of a let down. Nullus. First of all, there’s the teh ghey aspect. I guess in order to make the book more appealing to teh ghey guys, who, as the stereotype (read truism) holds, are obsessed with sex, there’s all of this description of guys’ muscular builds and throbbing rods and what have you. Several times, I had to put the book down and look at some pr0n just to regain my bearings.
And then there’s the fact that Dean doesn’t reallly come through with any convincing details about anyone you’d recognize. The only people he actually goes so far as to name are people who’ve either died of AIDS (a guy from the ’90s-era R&B group Intro), or people who’ve been caught by police trying to buy some dick (Tevin Campbell). And then with the blind items, it seems like there might have purposely been two tiers of description. Anyone could read the part where he’s talking about (erm, I’m assuming) Sisqo and figure that’s who he was talking about. But the parts where he’s talking about rappers – presumably, people we wouldn’t expect to be taking it up the coat – are so devoid of detail as to be completely useless. Weak!
As if I needed to read a book to know Sisqo is gay.
So what you have left is the story of how this guy grew up, came to realize he was a fruit, made it big in the entertainment industry, and managed to keep his teh ghey proclivities on the DL. Which could have been an interesting book in its own right, but like I said, that aspect of it isn’t as developed as it could have been.
It’s especially bothersome towards the end, when he starts to toy with the idea of coming out of the closet, and he talks about how the intense degree of homophobia he’s experienced in his life is keeping him from doing so. Meanwhile, there isn’t so much as a single scene in this book where anyone called him a fag, or beat him up, or wouldn’t hire him, or anything like that. It seems like the closest thing he’s experienced to outright homophobia is from the black church; and yet, he keeps running back to it at various points in his life. I’m not saying nothing like that ever happened to the guy. But if it did, it’s not in this book.
In general, you get the idea that this guy is just a hardened careerist. He didn’t want to present himself as an out teh ghey guy because he figured it might contrast with the image he put forth to help boost his career in hip-hop. But I’m at a loss for how that makes hip-hop culture definitely homophobic. Yeah, it’s a straight culture, and people would probably object to the idea of an obviously teh ghey rapper. But I’m sure teh ghey people would be pissed if they bought a teh ghey pr0n, and come to find out it was a guy having sex with a woman. (God forbid!) At any rate, I doubt anyone in hip-hop would have objected to the fact that MTV had a teh ghey black guy working in its promotions department. Just like no one gives a shit that MTV is run by gay white people. (Fact!)
What this guy Dean did is, he presented himself to the hip-hop community as a straight person, and he developed personal relationships with people in hip-hop predicated upon his being a straight person in order to further his career. So if anything, I’d say hip-hop was the victim in this case. I mean, it’s one thing if I don’t want to work in the same office with a teh ghey person (I’ve worked with a number of fruits over the years, in my soul-crushing career in the service industry), but I’m not trying to kick it with any teh ghey dudes after hours. Terrance Dean was kicking it with straight dudes after hours (not to mention fucking women), under the pretense that he was straight, and building up contacts to further his career in the process.
And yet, we’re supposed to sit here and listen to how evil hip-hop is. Nigga, please.