Saturday, January 22, 2011

Table of Contents: The Big Payback - The History of the Business of Hip Hop

The Big Payback: The History of the Business of Hip-HopAuthor: Dan Charnas
Publisher/Year: New American Library, 2010
Synopsis: The Big Payback takes us from the first $15 made by a "rapping DJ" in 1970s New York to the recent multi-million-dollar sales of the Phat Farm and Roc-a-Wear clothing companies in 2004 and 2007. On this four-decade-long journey from the studios where the first rap records were made to the boardrooms where the big deals were inked, The Big Payback tallies the list of who lost and who won. Read the secret histories of the early long-shot successes of Sugar Hill Records and Grandmaster Flash, Run DMC's crossover breakthrough on MTV, the marketing of gangsta rap, and the rise of artist/ entrepreneurs like Jay-Z and Sean "Diddy" Combs. 300 industry veterans-well-known giants like Rick Rubin and Russell Simmons, the founders of Def Jam, and key insiders like Gerald Levin, the embattled former Time Warner chief-gave their stories to renowned hip-hop journalist Dan Charnas, who provides a compelling, never-before seen, myth-debunking view into the victories, defeats, corporate clashes, and street battles along the 40-year road to hip-hop's dominance.

What Others Have To Say
 The Los Angeles Times
"Charnas is a Columbia-trained journalist who also spent years inside the industry, working for pioneering producer-entrepreneur Rick Rubin and others. His time embedded in a tumultuous, momentous environment doesn't so much compromise his objectivity (though Rubin does get a lot of love) as allow him to get the kind of juicy details no one else has reported — the boardroom brawls, the moguls who mentored."

The A.V. Club
"Monumental in every way, The Big Payback: The History Of The Business Of Hip-Hop delivers not simply a new version of a well-known story, but one that’s a constant revelation. Every page is loaded with fresh, acutely detailed, great stories delivered in bite-size, and Charnas’ snappy pace makes getting through its 650-some pages a pleasure."

New York Journal of Books
"It is somewhat disappointing that what started as an honest expression of an underground culture has developed into a misogynistic, self-centered industry where status is determined, not by talent, but by what an artist owns (bling anyone?). This is, of course, a broad stereotype. There are still artists interested in the music and Charnas covers them all—the good, the bad, and the really, really successful."

"Charnas applauds hip-hop’s ubiquity, the way African-American artists from the inner city have transformed themselves and the pop charts with hits, which they then turned into business opportunities."

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