Stevio...LA LA Lovin' It?

I'm British-born Chinese from Bristol, UK. I’m LA-based. I’m a hip hop aficionado. After 15 years in London I moved to LA to pursue a new career and outlook on life.

Back in the 80s I was a DJ. In the 90s I contributed to the world's first street style exhibition at London's Victoria & Albert Museum. In 2011, I had my first interviews published. Today, I’m keeping busy with music, art, photos and writing.

Sunday, March 06, 2011

The Wikileaks of the rap world

Everyone loves some gossip! But, imagine having 40 years' of untold gossip about your favorite rap artists at your fingertips?! We're talking about 50 Cent, Run-DMC, Jay Z and more!

Wikileaks of rap Author and rap insider, Dan Charnas, has revealed the inside track on the hip hop world in his highly acclaimed book, "The Big Payback: The History of the Business of Hip-Hop,"  that's currently ranking #4 in music business books at Amazon. As I write this blog I realize that I missed his L.A. book tour last week?! Major downer!

But, before we listen to another self-proclaimed hip hip insider, who is Dan Charnas? Unless you're an industry person you may have never heard of him. It's not like Charnas was an executive in the public eye like Bill Alder or quoted on rap records like Lyor Cohen. No, instead Charnas was making deals to get rap accepted by the mainstream media and America as a whole! He started working at Profile Records (home to rap superstars Run-DMC,) began writing for 'The Source' rap magazine and eventually became VP of Hip-Hop A&R for Rick Rubin’s Def American Recordings.

Check out the rolling slideshow of the top 25 (back) stories as told by Charnas for Complex Magazine. With 25 stories!? you know this book is major. Some of the tales are well-known to rap fans (how adidas came to sponsor Run-DMC)  and others are a bit obscure even for the keenest 'trainspotter.' Click here for the down low!

"What I wanted to accomplish with 'The Big Payback' was the very first business history of  hip hop. How did this obscure street culture from the ghettos of 1970s became the world's predominent pop culture and a multi-billion dollar business. You can't answer that question by just looking at the artist, you have to look at the people who work behind the artist who turn the artist in stars, the business people.
Over the course of four years I interviewed more than 300 people: record execs, entrepreneurs, artists, managers, producers, DJs, journalists all of whom shared a fund belief that hip hop could be as big, if not bigger, than any American culture that proceeded it, whether it be rock and roll or jazz. 
It's because of these people that we know the names of arts like Jay Z, Eminem, Lil' Wayne, Tupac and Biggie. Some of these people did it for the love of the culture, some of these people for the love of money...whatever their motivation what these people actually accomplished was not just the transformation of music, but the transformation of American socierty as a whole. Ultimately, I think resulted in the election of the first black President." Dan Charnas

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