My book has a title: Original Gangstas: The Untold Story of Dr. Dre, Eazy-E, Ice Cube, Tupac Shakur and the Birth of West Coast Rap.
It also has a release date: September 13, 2016, the twentieth anniversary of Tupac’s death.
It focuses on the heyday of Ruthless Records and Death Row Records, and tells the full story depicted in the Straight Outta Compton biopic. It kicks off with Eazy-E’s days as a drug dealer and Dr. Dre’s time with World Class Wreckin’ Cru, and then the formation of N.W.A. The narrative continues with Ice Cube leaving the group, forming Da Lench Mob, and releasing his classic solo albums. Meanwhile, Suge pries Dre away from N.W.A, Snoop joins the fold, and Death Row battles Ruthless and Bad Boy. The book concludes with the deaths of Tupac and Biggie. It features extensive investigative reporting, interviews with the principal players, and dozens of never-heard stories. I hope you will enjoy it! (Photo courtesy of J-Dee from Da Lench Mob)
…a long time from now. I have signed on with Hachette Book Group USA for a tome about the classic L.A. gangsta rap era, from World Class Wreckin’ Cru through the murder of Biggie, with a focus on N.W.A., Eazy-E, Dr. Dre, Ice Cube, Big Hutch from Above the Law (above), Snoop Dogg, Tupac, and others. Should be a great project. You can look for it in late 2016 or early 2017.
Tonight at 7 pm I’ll be reading from “Dirty South” at aptly-named Williamsburg bookstore Book Thug Nation, 100 N 3rd St. Come on by. I will make you cry and make you laugh.
My new book, Dirty South: OutKast, Lil Wayne, Soulja Boy, and the Southern Rappers Who Reinvented Hip-Hop is finally out. You can get it on Amazon or at your local bookseller (maybe; you know how it is). I have been hustling like a mad man to get the word out about this book, which I put a lot of thought and sweat into. I think it’s really farting good. In any case, thanks for your support, homies!
Dirty South is now available, and in the next two weeks I’ll be in St. Louis, Dallas, Houston, New Orleans, Atlanta, Nashville and Memphis. Check the readings page for more details. Some of the events are very cool — in Atlanta, for example, my reading will be followed by a panel discussion on southern hip hop with Killer Mike, Mr. Collipark, Maurice Garland, and Rodney Carmichael.
I’ve also got NYC and midwest dates on the calendar. Holla!
Dirty South is excerpted in Wall Street Journal’s Speakeasy blog today. The piece is about the practice of “making it rain,” which also documents my journey through Houston nightlife with rapper Trae.
There are dozens of rap songs called “Make It Rain.” Unlike the Tom Waits track of that name, however, these do not concern existential desires for cleansing – they’re about throwing money in the air at strip clubs…
Here’s another excerpt from Dirty South, this time in the Village Voice. This bit focuses on Scarface’s time in a mental institution as a kid. It’s pretty intense.
…Even worse was when they locked him in a foreboding spot called the “quiet room,” which contained little more than a small mattress with no covers. “I spent a lot of time in the quiet room, to the point where if anybody said anything about that quiet room I was like, ‘OK! I’ll be good! I’m not crazy anymore!’”
Oxford American has an excerpt from Dirty South in their latest edition. If you’re not familiar, Oxford American is ”The Southern Magazine of Good Writing,” and a few years back published perhaps the best music story I’ve seen, “I Will Forever Remain Faithful: How Lil Wayne helped me survive my first year teaching in New Orleans,” by David Ramsey.
The excerpt from Dirty South comes from its introduction, about my hunt for cross-dressing rapper Ms. Peachez. The magazine’s tag line for the piece is, “Is Southern hip-hop more offensive than Birth of a Nation?”
Ha! You don’t get it, but you will.
The article is not available online, but you can see a preview here.