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Praise for Dirty South

“Unprecedented in its research of the origins of Southern Hip-Hop, this gem is key to understanding the catalyst that caused the 21st Century Dirty South explosion.” — The Source

“Dirty South is packed with lively reporting and colorful social history. But [it] doesn’t shy away from the bigger questions.” – Jody Rosen, Rolling Stone

“Dirty South is a must-read for anybody interested in hip-hop’s ever-growing role in America’s cultural consciousness.”Zack O’Malley Greenburg, Forbes

“[A] consistently entertaining and enlightening chronicle of hip-hop below the Mason-Dixon line.” — Martin Caballero, Dig Boston

“Even if you only barely recognize the names in the full title — “Dirty South: Outkast, Lil Wayne, Soulja Boy, and the Southern Rappers Who Reinvented Hip-Hop” — you can still understand and enjoy Ben Westhoff’s new book.” — Andrew Matson, Seattle Times

“Journalist and hip-hop enthusiast Westhoff delivers a fascinating exploration of the musical and personal terrain of what has come to be known as the Southern sound of rap by such artists as Lil Wayne, Young Jeezy, and Ludacris. Westhoff convincingly details how Southern rap music–”party music, full of hypnotic hooks and sing-along choruses”–took over from dominant East Coast and West Coast rap styles by replacing “[f]ormal rap structures and metaphor-heavy rhymes… in favor of chants, grunts and shouts.” In fact, the beauty of Westhoff’s descriptions of the genre as a whole and various songs in particular will make old fans as well as newbies want to search out and play classic CDs such as OutKast’s “Aquemini” and “Kings of Crunk” by Lil Jon. And Westhoff’s personal trips to the home bases of each artist he presents show how the personalities of the artists reinforce their music, which leads to scenes such as Lil Wayne’s equally impassioned and hilarious defense of his fast-paced, workaholic lifestyle: “What am I supposed to do, take a vacation? This is the vacation right here.” — Publishers Weekly

“Journalist Westhoff offers an excellent introduction to hip-hop in the South that will be informative and enjoyable for both newbies and those familiar with Southern hip-hop. He includes chapters on the most influential and successful Southern artists, from Luke Campbell (who later joined 2 Live Crew) up to Gucci Mane and Soulja Boy. While the author is clearly a fan of Southern hip-hop and defends it against criticism and mockery, he is also critical of some of the music and of those who make it. Westhoff makes no attempt to hide the warts on the personalities he profiles. He also deserves credit for including not only the obvious choices like T.I. and Lil Wayne, but the less-well-known DJ Drama and DJ Smurf. Westhoff describes his experiences meeting and interviewing the book’s subjects without emphasizing himself over his topic. VERDICT A great introduction to Southern hip-hop, and a fun book for those familiar with the genre and its artists. A good, potentially more approachable companion to Roni Sarig’s exhaustive Third Coast.” — Craig Shufelt, Fort McMurray P.L., Library Journal


Praise for New York City’s Best Dive Bars

“This blazer-pocket-sized narrative guide to the worst-lit drinking establishments in the five boroughs, is conversational, instantly nostalgia-inducing, and perhaps the perfect gift for a very specific kind of NYU freshman.” — Mark Asch, The L Magazine

“Ben’s a passionate advocate for these places…giving “New York’s Best Dive Bars” the feel of a collection of extremely short stories or prose poems, rather than a guidebook.” –Adam Poor, Williamsburg Greenpoint News + Arts

“Ben Westhoff has compiled an absolutely splendid list of NYC miracles. These are some of my favorite places in NYC – places of dreams and nightmares, fantasies and horror shows, the highlife and the lowlife. These spots are all perfect places to party and to party hard.” Andrew W.K.

“This book is so evocative, you can actually smell vomit.” — Gavin McInnes, co-founder, Vice magazine, and founder, Street Carnage

“Drinking pals in tow, Westhoff has managed to drink in scores of wonderful saloons, taverns, ginmills, and beerjoints all over town. Every borough has gems waiting for the reader to visit, and if you can’t make it soon, then enjoy the short stories Westhoff has spun about each one. Worth the read as well as the guide.” — Geoffrey Bartholomew, longtime McSorley’s barman and author  of The McSorley Poems

New York City’s Best Dive Bars is a guidebook for slumming drinkers who want to hang in a place where the vintage look hasn’t been created by an interior decorator but by years of neglect.” — Online Liquor Cabinet

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