Concerning Grandmaster Flash, his book is most compelling. It’s a hip-hop history lesson from a master of the game who brought us the groundbreaking 1982 platinum hit “The Message.” The book takes you on a b-boy, break-dancing ride back to the days of rooftop parties in the Bronx and the famed, now defunct, dance club Disco Fever, where Grandmaster Flash worked the deejay booth and legendary groups such as the Sugar Hill Gang and, of course, Grandmaster Flash and the Furious Five performed.
In the book, Grandmaster Flash, who has a new album coming out this year, shares intimacies of growing up as the only boy among four sisters, the struggles with an abusive father, his mother’s mental illness, a journey through foster care, his battle with drug addiction, and his recovery. The reader gets to peek behind the curtain at the life of a hip-hop star with all of the mercurial ups and downs that a music career and being young and famous can lend.
But in spite of the arguably uncensored tone of the book, whether readers will be nostalgic for a walk down hip-hop memory lane is yet to be determined.
Coming down the pike there will, of course, be more celebrity news to devour. At Book Expo America in Los Angeles last month, Prince got the crown for generating the most buzz about his forthcoming photo essay book due in September. It didn’t hurt that the enigmatic musical genius threw a poolside party and concert for publishing honchos. The book is called 21 Nights and is expected to retail at what could be a steep $50 given the soft economy. Allen, who attended the fete, believes Prince’s
book will sell. “There are other variables besides price to consider.”
She has a point—there’s only one Prince.
George Alexander’s column on the business of entertainment appears weekly at blackenterprise.com. He is the author of “Why We Make Movies” (Doubleday Harlem Moon).