Hip-Hop In Print: Brooklyn Publisher Looks To ‘Reverse Gentrify’ Literature

by Rachel Baker on August 30, 2014

I am happy to hear this. I wish someone would publish the fantastic poetry of the hip-hop world. I know its done with music, but I’d love to see an anthology made up of some of the best lyrics from hip-hop and rap, set in poetic formats.

I hope Infamous Books does very well!

Hip-Hop In Print: Brooklyn Publisher Looks To ‘Reverse Gentrify’ Literature

Rappers taking on book publishing has become something of a trend. 50 Cent has his own imprint with Gallery Books; Simon & Schuster has Cash Money Content, run by the heads of Cash Money Records, home to Drake and Nicki Minaj. Titles on these imprints are often classified as “street lit” or “urban fiction”: gritty, hard-boiled stories about gangsters, crime and the streets. But Prodigy’s not a fan of those labels, and neither is his publisher, Johnny Temple, of Akashic Books.

“So-called ‘urban lit’ is the closest thing publishing has to hip-hop music,” Temple says. “And just as when hip-hop came around, everyone thought it was going to last two years, and now it’s transformed the landscape of the world of music, I’ve always believed strongly that urban lit has great potential.”

The genre has its roots in the 1960s and ’70s, with such authors as Iceberg Slim, Donald Goines and Chester Himes. Its current renaissance goes back about 15 years, to The Coldest Winter Ever, a hit novel by rapper Sister Souljah. That book’s blockbuster success transformed an indie genre into a corporate money maker, says K’wan, an author with more than 20 novels under his belt.

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