I recently had an opportunity to sit down with myself and talk about my first book You Made it a Hot Line; The Most Influential Lines in Hip Hop. I wanted to find out what made me think I should write a book on hip hop and why I thought anyone would even care what I thought. Here’s what happened.
It was an unusually warm winters day when I met up with myself at my messy apartment in Park Slope, Brooklyn. At first glance, I had a haggard look of a deranged wild boar that hadn’t slept in weeks. Red-eyed and frazzled salt and pepper beard in tow, it seemed I had entered a somewhat feral state while working on the book and may have lost all touch with humanity. I tossed myself a slab of raw meat to keep my attention while I asked myself some questions about the book.
How are you doing today?
Yes I understand that and I’ll give you some more in a second after you answer some questions. Is that ok?
First question: Let’s just get it out of the way now. I noticed Nas doesn’t have any lines in the book? How come?
The book isn’t about greatest emcees in hip-hop. It’s about most influential lines. And Nas will more than likely be in Vol 2.
What qualifies you to write a book on hip hop?
The same thing that qualifies you to ask me stupid questions, but I’ll entertain you. I’ve been listening to hip hop since I was 8 years old and I’ve been producing hip hop music for over 16 years. It’s been an integral part of my decision making process in my life and I believe once the reader chimes in, that will be the ultimate measure of if the book is credible or not. It’s all about the fans.
Have you worked with any artist we may have heard of?
Funny you should mention that because you actually mentioned him already. I’ve done production for/worked with Nas, Damien Marley, DV alias Khyrst, Steele (Smif and Wessun), Sha Stimuli, Astro, King Prince and several other artists.
So why should people buy this book?
Because the writing is amazing, the artwork is amazing, nothing of its kind exist, and also, so I can feed my kids.
How old are your kids?
I don’t have any kids.
You just said you had kids.
So which is it?
Whichever helps me sell more books.
Noted. Why was it so important that you finish this book in 2015?
Because I crossed over to the other side earlier in the year and my biggest take-away from that experience was not to take time for granted. I was working on the book for a while now but had a renewed sense of purpose after my little incident.
What do you mean you “crossed over?”
I died. I suffered sudden cardiac death on the basketball court and my heart stopped. If it wasn’t for some quick thinking people who revived me, there is no book and there is no me.
So you suffered from a killer crossover?
That’s funny. Remind me to punch you in your face when you’re not looking.
No need to get hostile, sir. Glad you made it back!
You and me both!
What do you think about the current state of hip hop? Do you think there are lines now that are becoming influential as we speak?
I think some of the most recent lines that have staying power are “You say no to ratchet p*ssy,” “bish don’t kill my vibe,” and a few others.
Are their lines not in the book that you wish would’ve been?
Yeah. There are over 30 lines I think could’ve been in this book. That’s why it’s volume one. There are way too many influential lines in hip hop.
How is this book different than other hip hop books?
I think it’s the combination of my writing style and the artwork. I think I have a writing style that is very vivid and has the ability to take the reader back to that space and time. As it relates to the the artwork, when I spoke to Shah Wonders (the artist), I didn’t give him any specific direction. I wanted him to give me his visual interpretation of each line and he did an amazing job!
Who are some of your favorite authors?
Chuck Klosterman, Dave Barry, and Paul Beatty are some of my favorite authors. I tend to gravitate to humorist and satirists.
What do you think readers will take away from this book?
I think one of the biggest takeaways should be just how much music, particularly hip hop music, influences our behaviors. I also wanted the readers to have a renewed appreciation for the artists that came before and their contributions to our lives. More than likely though, they will think the illustrations are dope and that’s cool too because, hey, the illustrations are dope!
So where can the book be purchased?
The Ebook is available for $9.99 on www.onetrackmine.com/shop. You can also pre order the hardcover for $19.99. I suggest you get both.
Why should I buy both?
Didn’t you hear me say I’m trying to move some units, son? You should buy both and a tee shirt.
I’ll see what I can do. So what’s next for you?
I’m gonna make some dinner?
I meant what’s next for you career-wise, you nimrod.
Wait a minute? Ain’t you me? How do you not know what’s next for me? I’m promoting the book. I’m producing tracks. I’m making it do what it do, baby! Don’t be asking me no stupid questions! As a matter of fact, this interview is over! And where’s the rest of the raw meat you promised?
If you have gotten this far, then you’ve clearly thrown away any expectation of an unbiased opinion about You Made it a Hot Line. In my biased opinion, the author may or may not have any children but he certainly has an ability to relive some of hip hop’s most memorable moments through some of the genre’s most revered lines. Whether you agree or disagree with the lines selected is almost a non sequitur at this point relating to anything written about hip hop music, particularly lists. Whatever your preference, you will certainly enjoy the writing style and amazing illustrations by award winning artist Shah Wonders.
You Made It a Hot Line may be one of the few books that takes a look at the most influential genre of our time from a not so serious but also enlightening perspective. I highly recommended you buy 7 copies and give them to all to your hip hop impaired friends.
Sidebar; I wrote a A book and it’s damn good so go support the cause!! Sidebar complete!