What Do Rappers Read?

Some rappers happen to be thoughtful, intelligent people. Every Monday that isn't a national holiday, Rocks Off will have some of them here discussing issues relevant to their culture.

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Photo illustration by John Seaborn Gray
This Week's Panel: Bun B, Chingo Bling, The ARE, Kyle Hubbard, Rob G the General, the guys from Simple Success, Yung Redd, Renzo and Brad Gilmore

Not Invited: Waka Flocka, because he's Waka Flocka

This Week's Prompt: The topic this week seems fairly simple and comes to us from an apparent regular reader of the Round Table discussions. Here's the most important part of his email:

I flipped through that new Jay-Z book [Decoded] and was struck with a thought: Do rappers read books? I know the stereotype is that they don't, but that can't be true, can it? Can you make this a Round Table discussion please? Ask them what's the last book they read.


So there you have it: What's the last book you read, and why did you read it?

Bun B: Decoded, to see if I was in it [laughs].

Rocks Off: That's the same reason we read it. Sadly, we were not.

Bun B: Awww, next time maybe.

Chingo Bling: I read Outliers by Malcolm Gladwell because he is a trill author.

Rocks Off: We're willing to bet that's the first time anyone has ever described Malcolm Gladwell, or any author for that matter, as "trill."


The ARE: Sorry, I'm lagging in the book department. Between music and my daughter, not much time left.

Rocks Off: Ha. A children's book works, sir. We read those every day. We're just about sick of Henry Keeps Score.

The ARE: I was gonna say that. I read Bee and Me to my daughter.


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Kyle Hubbard: The last book I read was actually Decoded by Jay-Z. I finished it last night in fact. That book should be required reading for anyone who is striving to be an MC. It was brilliant and gave me a new appreciation for a dude who was already my favorite artist, and new insight for the craft I have dedicated my life to.

The reason I first read the book was because I am a huge Jay-Z fan, but the reason I will the read the book again is because of the knowledge I absorbed from it. I think it's safe to say the majority of rappers read; I mean, words and the way a person uses the language is pretty much the end-all-be-all of our existence.

I have always been a heavy reader from comic books to novels and beyond. My affection for comic books is well publicized, but I tend to lean towards nonfiction, mostly in the political realm. My favorite book currently is probably James Moore and Wayne Slater's Bush's Brain. My favorite thing to bring to any book burnings is anything by Glenn Beck.

So yes, rappers do in fact read, and I am willing to wager they read more than most people.


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