Dig hip-hop? Read this book
The best book I read recently was Westsiders by William Shaw. It's an account of the lives of seven young black men living in South Central Los Angeles, and particularly Compton. All of these men want to be famous rap stars, but the odds are stacked against them in an area ridden with violence and poverty.
Worthwhile reading for anyone who wants to learn more about the music which informed Eminem, 50 Cent, and the other stars who currently dominate the pop charts, and essential reading for anyone interested in hip-hop.
The amazon.com review: "What Shaw finds, apart from conspiracy theories, horrifying death rates and universal "dreaming of greatness", is desperately vulnerable men struggling with their fractured identities, often without fathers, caught up in the grimly violent struggles of gangs. It's all about colour: black or white, Blood red or Crip blue, as they either shoot bullets or word plays at their adversaries. You may prefer your beats unbroken or your jeans less baggy but that is precisely why this should prove an informative and challenging account of the people inside the genre, fabled for its oral tradition but here proving its worth on the page."
Posted by matt at 11:10 AM