Lyrical Literature – 5 Books Written by Rappers
Last week, Lil Wayne released the cover to his memoir, which will be focused on the rapper’s prison time served at Rikers Island in New York City and titled Gone Till November.
Over the past few years, rappers have released more and more books depicting not only their personal experiences from their high-profile careers, but also the gritty realities of their upbringings – so to dispel any claims that rap music doesn’t care about reading, here are five books written by some of your favorite rappers.
Places & Spaces I’ve Been / Pharrell Williams. Legendary producer/rapper Pharrell Williams released his book, Places & Spaces I’ve Been, last week. The book follows Pharrell’s career, which includes being a legendary producer, revolutionizing the streetwear game with brands Ice Cream and Billionaire Boys Club and other fashion design exploits. Various people who have collaborated with Pharrell also helped contribute to the book, such as Jay-Z, Miami-based designer Ambra Medda, legendary artist Takashi Murakami, and Pharrell’s partner in his Bape clothing line, Nigo.
The 50th Law / 50 Cent & Robert Greene. In 2009, 50 Cent released his book, The 50th Law, which became a New York Times bestseller and focuses on 50’s childhood and adolescence as a drug dealer and up-and-coming rapper. Along with personal stories, the book also includes historical anecdotes, quotes and stories from the likes of Abraham Lincoln, Malcolm X, Sun Tzu (Art of War) and Socrates. It’s definite inspiration for young people growing up in a tough neighborhood.
The TAO of WU / The RZA. One of the original and most notable members of The Wu Tang Clan, RZA, also wrote a New York Times bestseller in 2009, but in a more inspirational fashion. The TAO of WU outlines RZA’s road to enlightenment and pulls inspiration from Christianity, Buddhism and Islam. The TAO of WU serves as a followup to RZA’s first book, The Wu-Tang Manual, which is also a dope read.
Decoded / Jay-Z & Dream Hampton. Last year, Jay-Z released his highly anticipated book, Decoded, which lays out many of the rapper’s most popular songs throughout his 15-year career. Each song is accompanied by stories from Jay-Z’s personal life growing up in the Marcy Projects in Brooklyn, his life as an up-and-comer and his current lavish life as one of Forbes’ Five Wealthiest Rappers.
The Rose That Grew From Concrete / Tupac Shakur. The late, great Tupac Shakur died before his posthumous book, The Rose That Grew From Concrete, was released, but the works he wrote that were put together will influence hip-hop for decades. This book includes unreleased poems and lyrics by Shakur and a preface by his mother, Afeni Shakur. Tupac’s words have reached far beyond hip-hop, as many teachers and professors use excerpts from this book in their lessons in poetry writing and analysis.