Here's a long, entertaining essay
from The Atlantic
by David Foster Wallace
about the business of political talk radio. And here's a book I read... well, not too long ago, anyway. I wrote the stuff that follows in late February and am only now getting around to posting it.Westside: Young Men and Hip Hop in LA, William Shaw
Not long ago, I mentioned And Ya Don't Stop!
, an anthology of hip-hop journalism. One of the few criticisms I had about it was its Great-Man-ism. Here is a book that remedies that situation (the only other one I can think of, in hip-hop anyway, is the Experience Music Project
's oral history
book), and thinking of Great-Man-ism in hip-hop journalism made me want to reread it. Shaw is a British journalist who tries to write about hip-hop culture in Los Angeles, but he's hindered by the egocentrism of his subjects and by gangsta rap hegemony (though he briefly refers to the Good Life types, the most famous of whom are probably Jurassic 5
). Instead, he winds up writing a bunch of interrelated biographical sketches--rappers like Mr. Short Khop
, who seemed at the time to be destined for fame (of course, no one at the time would've predicted Ice Cube's career arc, either) and washed-up never-weres like Lonzo and Cokane. Besides that, though, Shaw covers aspiring moguls, a street team on a come-up and many, many people with sad gang-related stories. Westside
is a great hip-hop book, and a great Los Angeles book, because it's all about the hustle.