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Rap & Hip Hop

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  1. 15.3 hrs • 9/13/2016 • Unabridged

    A monumental, revealing narrative history about the legendary group of artists at the forefront of West Coast hip-hop: Eazy-E, Dr. Dre, Ice Cube, Snoop Dogg, and Tupac Shakur. Amid rising gang violence, the crack epidemic, and police brutality, a group of unlikely voices cut through the chaos of late 1980s Los Angeles: NWA, led by a drug dealer, a glammed-up producer, and a high school kid—they gave voice to disenfranchised African Americans across the country. And they quickly redefined pop culture across the world. Their names remain as popular as ever—Eazy-E, Dr. Dre, and Ice Cube. Dre soon joined forces with Suge Knight to create the combustible Death Row Records, which in turn transformed Snoop Dogg and Tupac Shakur into superstars. Ben Westhoff explores how this group of artists shifted the balance of hip-hop from New York to Los Angeles. He shows how NWA’s shocking success lead to rivalries between members, record labels, and eventually a war between East Coast and West Coast factions. In the process, hip-hop burst into mainstream America at a time of immense social change, and became the most dominant musical movement of the last thirty years. At gangsta rap’s peak, two of its biggest names—Tupac and Biggie Smalls—were murdered, leaving the surviving artists to forge peace before the genre annihilated itself. Featuring extensive investigative reporting, interviews with the principal players, and dozens of never-before-told stories, Original Gangstas is a groundbreaking addition to the history of popular music.

    Available Formats: Download, CD

    Original Gangstas

    15.3 hrs • 9/13/16 • Unabridged
    Also: CD
  2. 7.5 hrs • 9/13/2016 • Unabridged

    Radio icon Angie Martinez is “The Voice of New York.” Now that voice speaks out about her experiences at the helm of the #1 radio show in the country and her unlikely path to the heart of hip-hop music. In her twenty years behind the mic at New York City’s two biggest hip-hop stations—Hot 97 and Power 105.1—Angie Martinez has become an entertainment legend. From one-time presidential hopeful Barack Obama to Jay-Z and Beyoncé to post-prison Tupac, her intimate and candid interviews with the leading names in the music business, hip-hop culture, and beyond have grabbed headlines and changed the conversation. In the same no-holds-barred style of her radio show, Angie shares stories from behind-the-scenes of her most controversial interviews and reflects on her climb to the top of the radio business. And for the first time, Angie opens up about her personal life, exploring how her experiences have shaped her into the strong and outspoken woman that she is today. My Voice brings together New York City’s one-of-a-kind urban radio culture, the changing faces of hip-hop music, and Angie Martinez’s rise to become the Voice of New York.

    Available Formats: Download

    My Voice

    7.5 hrs • 9/13/16 • Unabridged
  3. 6.1 hrs • 6/7/2016 • Unabridged

    After the Beastie Boys and Vanilla Ice, but before Eminem, there was “Hot Karl,” the Jewish kid from the LA suburbs who became a rap battling legend—and then almost became a starWhen twelve-year-old Jensen Karp got his first taste of rapping for crowds at his friend’s Bat Mitzvah in 1991, little did he know that he was taking his first step on a crazy journey—one that would end with a failed million dollar recording and publishing deal with Interscope Records when he was only nineteen. In Kanye West Owes Me $300, Jensen will finally tell the true story of his wild ride as “Hot Karl,” the most famous Jewish rapper you’ve never heard of. Along the way, we’ll see Jensen’s struggles with his ska- and rock-listening southern California classmates, who tell him that “rap is for black people”; his record-breaking rap battling streak on popular radio show Roll Call; his rise in the LA club scene; and the double life he leads the whole time. We’ll also meet his supportive mother (who takes him to clubs and announces him at gigs); his rap partner Rickye (an African American kid who formed the other half of their group, XTra Large); and the performers he recorded with, including soon-to-be household names Kanye West, Redman, Fabolous, Mya, Will.i.am; and then we’ll enjoy rollicking stories of sex, drugs, and hip hop from his close brush with fame. Finally, we’ll learn why his album never saw the light of day (two words: Slim Shady), his downward spiral after, and what Jensen found instead of rap glory. This hilarious memoir will be perfect for the person who reads Rap Genius, impresses friends with “Nuthin’ But a G Thang” or “California Love” at karaoke, watches “Epic Rap Battles of History” videos, and perhaps bought Jeff Chang’s Can’t Stop, Won’t Stop and RZA’s The Tao of Wu. But this book also has a broader appeal as a quirky, fish-out-of-water memoir about a guy who follows an unlikely passion, despite what everyone else says. It’s 8 Mile for the pitch perfect crowd.

    Available Formats: Download

    Kanye West Owes Me $300

    6.1 hrs • 6/7/16 • Unabridged
  4. 4.3 hrs • 5/3/2016 • Unabridged

    If you live for people’s acceptance, you’ll die from their rejection. Two-time Grammy-winning rap artist Lecrae learned this lesson through more than his share of adversity—childhood abuse, drugs and alcoholism, a stint in rehab, an abortion, and an unsuccessful suicide attempt. Along the way, Lecrae attained an unwavering faith in Jesus and began looking to God for affirmation. Now as a chart-topping industry anomaly, he has learned to ignore the haters and make peace with his craft. The rap artist holds nothing back as he divulges the most sensitive details of his life, answers his critics, shares intimate handwritten journal entries, and powerfully models how to be a Christian in a secular age. This is the story of one man’s journey to faith and freedom.

    Available Formats: Download


    4.3 hrs • 5/3/16 • Unabridged
  5. 1 reviews 0 5 3 3 out of 5 stars 3/5 (1)
    12.0 hrs • 4/4/2014 • Unabridged

    The business marketing genius at the forefront of today’s entertainment marketing revolution helps corporate America get hip to today’s new consumer—the tan generation. When Fortune 500 companies need to reenergize or reinvent a lagging brand, they call Steve Stoute. In addition to marrying cultural icons with blue-chip marketers, Stoute has helped identify and activate a new generation of consumers. He traces how the “tanning” phenomenon raised a generation of black, Hispanic, white, and Asian consumers who have the same “mental complexion”—one based on shared experiences and values rather than the increasingly irrelevant demographic boxes that have been used to a fault by corporate America. But there is a language gap that must be bridged to engage the most powerful market force in the history of commerce. The Tanning of America provides the needed translation guide. Drawing from his company’s case studies, as well as from extensive interviews with leading figures in multiple fields, Stoute presents an insider’s view of how the transcendent power of popular culture is helping reinvigorate and revitalize the American dream.

    Available Formats: Download, CD, MP3 CD
    The Tanning of America by Steve Stoute

    The Tanning of America

    By Steve Stoute, with Mim Eichler Rivas
    Introduction by Graydon Carter
    Produced by Buck 50 Productions
    12.0 hrs • 4/4/14 • Unabridged
    1 reviews 0 5 3 3 out of 5 stars 3/5 (1)
    Also: CD, MP3 CD
  6. 5.9 hrs • 9/10/2013 • Unabridged

    He inspires awe with his colorful costumes and helps ordinary people find a voice. With vocals so effective (in fact, they’re almost otherworldly), he turned a four-letter word into a global phenomenon. Without a doubt, CeeLo Green is a superhero of soul and every superhero has an origin story.  This story begins in the dirty South, where South Atlanta’s native son transformed himself into the Abominable SHOWman. Along the way, innocence was lost; farther down the path, his parents passed on. Yet he still found family at the Dungeon with the likes of Goodie Mob, Outkast, L.A. Reid, and Lauryn Hill. Then one day he teamed up with Danger Mouse and everything went “crazy.” Everybody’s Brother is the untold story of CeeLo Green’s rise from the streets of Atlanta to the top of the charts, a story so cool, so complex that his brother-from-another-mother, Big Gipp, couldn’t help but chime in. Now CeeLo gives his fans what they’ve been waiting for: an all-access pass into his perfectly imperfect piece of mind.

    Available Formats: Download

    Everybody’s Brother

    By CeeLo Green, with Big Gipp and David Wild
    Read by CeeLo Green and Big Gipp
    5.9 hrs • 9/10/13 • Unabridged
  7. 5.7 hrs • 8/13/2013 • Unabridged

    Living together in Cambridge in 1989, David Foster Wallace and longtime friend Mark Costello discovered that they shared “an uncomfortable, somewhat furtive, and distinctively white enthusiasm for a certain music called rap/hip-hop.” The book they wrote together, set against the legendary Boston music scene, mapped the bipolarities of rap and pop, rebellion and acceptance, glitz and gangsterdom. Signifying Rappers issued a fan’s challenge to the giants of rock writing, Greil Marcus, Robert Palmer, and Lester Bangs: could the new street beats of 1989 set us free, as rock had always promised? Signifying Rappers is a rare record of a city and a summer by two great thinkers, writers, and friends.

    Available Formats: CD

    Signifying Rappers

    5.7 hrs • 8/13/13 • Unabridged
  8. 5.7 hrs • 7/23/2013 • Unabridged

    Living together in Cambridge in 1989, David Foster Wallace and longtime friend Mark Costello discovered that they shared “an uncomfortable, somewhat furtive, and distinctively white enthusiasm for a certain music called rap/hip-hop.” The book they wrote together, set against the legendary Boston music scene, mapped the bipolarities of rap and pop, rebellion and acceptance, glitz and gangsterdom. Signifying Rappers issued a fan’s challenge to the giants of rock writing, Greil Marcus, Robert Palmer, and Lester Bangs: Could the new street beats of 1989 set us free, as rock had always promised? Back in print at last, Signifying Rappers is a rare record of a city and a summer by two great thinkers, writers, and friends. With a new foreword by Mark Costello on his experience writing with David Foster Wallace, this re-release cannot be missed.

    Available Formats: Download

    Signifying Rappers

    5.7 hrs • 7/23/13 • Unabridged
  9. 8.3 hrs • 7/15/2012 • Unabridged

    In The 50th Law, hip hop and pop culture icon 50 Cent (a.k.a. Curtis Jackson) joins forces with Robert Greene, bestselling author of The 48 Laws of Power, to write a “bible” for success in life and work based on a single principle: fear nothing. With intimate stories from 50 Cent’s life on the streets and in the boardroom as he rose to fame after the release of his album Get Rich or Die Tryin’, as well as examples of others who have overcome adversity through understanding and practicing the 50th Law, this deeply inspirational book is perfect for entrepreneurs as well as anyone interested in the extraordinary life of Curtis Jackson.

    Available Formats: Download, CD

    The 50th Law

    8.3 hrs • 7/15/12 • Unabridged
    Also: CD
  10. 13.8 hrs • 4/26/2010 • Unabridged

    In this often violent but always introspective memoir, Mobb Deep’s Prodigy tells his much-anticipated story of struggle, survival, and hope on the mean streets of New York City. For the first time, he gives an intimate look at his family background, his battles with drugs, his life of crime, his relentless suffering with sickle-cell anemia, and much more. Recently released after serving three and a half years in state prison due to what many consider an unlawful arrest by a rumored secret NYPD hip-hop task force, Prodigy is ready to talk about his life as one of rap’s greatest legends. My Infamous Life is an unblinking account of Prodigy’s wild times with Mobb Deep, who alongside rappers like Nas, the Notorious B.I.G., Tupac, Jay-Z, and the Wu-Tang Clan, changed the musical landscape with their vivid portrayals of early ’90s street life. It is a firsthand chronicle of legendary rap feuds like the East Coast–West Coast rivalry; Prodigy’s beefs with Jay-Z, Nas, Snoop Dogg, Ja Rule, and Capone-N-Noreaga; and run-ins with prodigal hit makers and managers like Puff Daddy, Russell Simmons, Chris Lighty, Irv Gotti, and Lyor Cohen. Taking listeners behind the smoke-and-mirrors glamour of the hip-hop world, Prodigy lays down the truth about the intoxicating power of money, the meaning of true friendship, and the ultimately redemptive power of self. This is the heartbreaking journey of a child born in privilege, his youth spent among music royalty like Diana Ross and Dizzie Gillespie, and educated in private schools, until a family tragedy changed everything. Raised in the mayhem of the Queensbridge projects, Prodigy rose to dizzying heights of fame and eventually fell into the darkness of a prison cell. A truly candid memoir, part fearless confessional and part ode to the concrete jungles of New York City, My Infamous Life is written by a man who was on the front line of the last great moment in hip-hop history and who is still fighting to achieve his very own American Dream.

    Available Formats: Download, CD, MP3 CD, Digital Rental
    My Infamous Life by Albert “Prodigy” Johnson

    My Infamous Life

    By Albert u201cProdigyu201d Johnson, with Laura Checkoway
    Produced by Buck 50 Productions
    13.8 hrs • 4/26/10 • Unabridged
    Also: CD, MP3 CD, Digital Rental
  11. 9.8 hrs • 3/2/2010 • Unabridged

    The story of Demtrius “Big Meech” Flenory and his legendary street crew, the Black Mafia Family (BMF), is the tale of a modern-day don who aspired to be something more: a credible name in hip-hop. It is a tale built on the seduction of vast sums of money, a seduction that pulled in hip-hop stars but that also had a darker side. While BMF was able to attract increasingly mainstream stars, its crew members grew notorious for a cult of violence that threatened a host of other celebrities, including the families of pop icon Bobby Brown and Atlanta Mayor Shirley Franklin. BMF’s ruthlessness caused them to rise to incredible power, but wanting even more lead to their downfall.

    Available Formats: CD, MP3 CD


    Produced by Buck 50 Productions
    9.8 hrs • 3/2/10 • Unabridged
    Also: MP3 CD
  12. 11.3 hrs • 11/10/2006 • Unabridged

    The stories are as infamous as the artists who tell them. With their boasts of drugs, extortion and even murder, in today’s world rappers need rap sheets before they can even hope to have a platinum record. So with all this grandstanding about their criminal nature, why haven’t more hip-hop artists been busted for the crimes that they brag of, and why haven’t high profile crimes replete with witnesses and media coverage ever been solved? Derrick Parker knows why. A veteran of the NYPD, Parker served as the lead detective in the Rap Intelligence Unit, the first special force devoted to hip-hop crime. For over twenty years he served on the force, covering the hip-hop beat and uncovering the truth behind some of music’s most notorious crimes. But in the midst of politics and internal strife, Parker’s efforts to close the cases were stymied by the NYPD. Notorious C.O.P. will be the Serpico of the new millennium, exposing the flaws in the NYPD that have rendered them unable to adequately deal with the threat of hip-hop crime. From cops working part-time for the artists they are supposed to be pursuing, to their lack of understanding of gang culture and drug warfare, which has left not only these widely publicized murders unsolved, but has allowed notorious gang leaders to go unprosecuted for decades. Filled with photos, documents, interviews, and anecdotes, Notorious C.O.P. will be the most extensive and authoritative book ever written on hip-hop crime, exposing the facts behind the legends and the foibles of the NYPD that have left them unresolved to this day.

    Available Formats: Download

    Notorious C.O.P.

    By Derrick Parker, with Matt Diehl
    11.3 hrs • 11/10/06 • Unabridged
  13. 14.3 hrs • 9/5/2006 • Unabridged

    Commemorating the thirtieth anniversary of Elvis’ death, an intimate memoir of a friendship with the greatest artist in rock and roll history, taking you from late-night parties at Graceland to the bright lights of Hollywood sets and glittering stages of Vegas. On a lazy Sunday in 1954, twelve-year-old Jerry Schilling wandered into a Memphis touch football game, only to discover that his team was quarterbacked by a nineteen-year-old Elvis Presley, the local teenager whose first record, That’s All Right, had just received its first play on Memphis radio. The two became fast friends, even as Elvis turned into the world’s biggest star. In 1964, Elvis invited Jerry to work for him as part of his Memphis Mafia, and Jerry soon found himself living with Elvis full-time in a Bel Air mansion and, later, in his own room at Graceland. Over the next thirteen years Jerry would work for Elvis in various capacities—from bodyguard to photo double to co-executive producer on a karate film. Me and a Guy Named Elvis looks at Presley from a friend’s perspective, offering readers the man rather than the icon. Spanning Elvis’ meteoric rise to those later troubled years, Jerry’s story offers never-before-told stories about life inside Elvis’ inner circle, and an insightful, emotional recounting of the great times, hard times, and unique times he and Elvis shared. Schilling’s vivid memories will be priceless to Elvis’ millions of fans, and his compelling life story will be fascinating to an even wider audience.

    Available Formats: Download

    Me and a Guy Named Elvis

    14.3 hrs • 9/5/06 • Unabridged
  14. 3.4 hrs • 8/9/2005 • Abridged

    Get Rich or Die Tryin' That's what this book is about -- the good times and the bad times. I wrote this book to explain the world I come from. To a lot of people, I may be too young to reflect on life. And they may be right. But I'd be wasting my blessings if I didn't use the attention I'm getting to shed light on the experiences that have caused me to say the things I say and make the kind of music I make. I want to explain my environment to those who don't come any closer to it than the records they buy or the images they see on television. People who want the truth. Even if they can't handle it, they want it. I let you know that I survived nine bullets not to sell records, but because it's the truth. Every time I sit down for an interview, I'm asked, "Well, 50, how did it feel to get shot nine times?" But those stories don't hold the weight of my pain, or the hope of my experience. It just can't. This is what happened when I was trying to get rich before I died in Southside Queens. So begins From Pieces to Weight: Once Upon a Time in Southside Queens, a violent and introspective memoir that reveals not only 50's story but the story of a generation of youth faced with hard choices and very little options. A tale of sacrifice, transformation and redemption, but it is also one of hope, determination and the power of self. From Pieces to Weight drips with raw insight, street wisdom, and 50's struggle to survive at all costs...and behold the riches of the American Dream.

    Available Formats: Download

    From Pieces to Weight

    By 50 Cent, with Kris Ex
    3.4 hrs • 8/9/05 • Abridged
  15. 5.5 hrs • 10/21/2003 • Abridged

    does eminem matter?On assignment for his first cover story for Rolling Stone, the very first national cover story on Eminem, Anthony Bozza met a young blond kid, a rapper who would soon take the country by storm. But back in 1999, Eminem was just beginning to make waves among suburban white teenagers as his first single, “My Name Is,” went into heavy rotation on MTV. Who could have predicted that in a mere two years, Eminem would become the most reviled and controversial hip-hop figure ever? Or that twelve months after that, Eminem would sit firmly at the pinnacle of American celebrity, a Grammy winner many times over and the recipient of an Oscar. did eminem change or did america finally figure him out?Whatever You Say I Am attempts to answer this question and many more. Since their first meeting, Bozza has been given a level of access to Eminem that no other journalist has enjoyed. In Whatever You Say I Am, original, never-before-published text from Bozza’s interviews with Eminem are combined with the insight of numerous hip-hop figures, music critics, journalists, and members of the Eminem camp to look behind the mask of this enigmatic celebrity. With an eye toward Eminem’s place in American popular culture, Bozza creates a thoughtful portrait of one of the most successful artists of our time. This is so much more than a biography of a thoroughly well-documented life. It is a close-up look at a conflicted figure who has somehow spoken to the heart of America.

    Available Formats: Download

    Whatever You Say I Am

    5.5 hrs • 10/21/03 • Abridged
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