Kanye West Owes Me $300

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Kanye West Owes Me $300: And Other True Stories from a White Rapper Who Almost Made It Big Cover Image
ISBN: 9780553448153
Availability: Special Order
Published: Crown Archetype - June 7th, 2016

Who can resist a title like that?

Jensen Karp almost had it all, and for a while, he did.

A dorky, middle-class Jewish kid growing up in the very-white suburbs of LA might not seem like the most likely candidate for hip-hop stardom, but that never stopped Karp. Obsessing over rap culture led to a pre-pubescent rap group that took shots at ABC, but fizzled out after the Rodney King riots.

Not letting his dreams die out, Karp eventually got on a hot streak on the Roll Call, a call-in rap battle show on major terrestrial radio, in a time when that sort of thing actually mattered. From there, everything snowballed until finally Karp, now known as "Hot Karl" signed with Interscope Records after a private dinner at Jimmy Iovine's mansion.

From the lens of 2016, it's fascinating to have a first-hand account of just how free-wheelin, jet-flyin, limousine-ridin' crazy the music industry was in the pre-Napster days. Hot Karl's year-long recording process featured a whos-who of early 2000s hip-hop, including cameos from Fabolous, Redman, Mya and more. Even real-life monster-human Suge Knight makes an appearance, albeit as a polite, genuine man, with a firm handshake.

Karp never lets himself get rolled up into the lifestyle too much though, as his rise to stardom happens to coincide with his parents divorce, and father's eventual battle with cancer. This is a ramen-to-caviar-to-ramen story, told by someone with enough insight and distance to actually perceive just how crazy this whole thing was.

As for Hot Karl's million-dollar record? You never heard it. Why? Ask Marshall Mathers ~ Reviewed by Chris Linendoll.

The Sun & the Moon & the Rolling Stones by Rich Cohen - Book Review

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The Sun & the Moon & the Rolling Stones Cover Image
ISBN: 9780804179232
Availability: Special Order
Published: Spiegel & Grau - May 10th, 2016

If you want to know what makes the Rolling Stones the greatest rock and roll band in the world, look no further. This book is a blast! ~ Reviewed by Charles Bottomley

Your Band Sucks

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Your Band Sucks: What I Saw at Indie Rock's Failed Revolution (But Can No Longer Hear) Cover Image
ISBN: 9780143108283
Availability: Special Order
Published: Penguin Books - May 3rd, 2016

You've never heard of any of Jon Fine's bands (Bitch Magnet, anyone?) but that doesn't stop his memoir from being an essential book on making rock music. Fine has smelt the funk of a tour van that hasn't been cleaned in months, and his story will resonate with anybody who has ever learned more than one guitar chord. ~ Reviewed by Charles Bottomley

Another Little Piece of My Heart

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Another Little Piece of My Heart: My Life of Rock and Revolution in the '60s Cover Image
ISBN: 9781620408889
Availability: Special Order
Published: Bloomsbury USA - May 10th, 2016

Richard Goldstein was a pioneer and chronicler of my favorite era, the '60s; he was the first rock critic to write a regular column (in the Village Voice) on the musicians and music of the times. Embedded in the heart of the culture he wrote about the connections between the music and political unrest in one of the most pivotal times in history. He was there, he lived it and wrote passionately about it. ~ Reviewed by Liz Barnum

Sam Phillips

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Sam Phillips: The Man Who Invented Rock 'n' Roll Cover Image
ISBN: 9780316042741
Availability: Hard to Find - May no longer be available
Published: Little, Brown and Company - November 10th, 2015

That one man could have such a profound impact on the musical and cultural trajectory of an entire nation is astounding. That so many people don't know even who Sam Phillips was or what he accomplished through single-minded determination, passion, instinct and a unique musical "vision" is even more amazing. His life's work defined an era and shaped our history. A must read. ~ Reviewed by Jon Fine

Unfaithful Music & Disappearing Ink

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Unfaithful Music & Disappearing Ink Cover Image
ISBN: 9780399167256
Availability: Usually Ships in 1-5 Days
Published: Blue Rider Press - October 13th, 2015

Costello's take on his both lengthy and impressive musical career is filled with his witty writing, personal pictures, interesting stories and of course lyrics. Fans of his music will love this inside look into both his personal and professional life. Costello talks about his experiences candidly with the reader and keeps you interested because of the way he skips, very jarringly from place to place. I most enjoyed the different ways Costello talks about writing his lyrics. It's fascinating to me that some of his songs came out almost fully formed, melody and all, while others he put together piece by piece, transferring them from notebook to notebook. I highly recommend this book if you want the true details of the life of such an amazing musician. ~ Reviewed by Amy Williams


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