Author Topic: Review: The Plot Against Hip Hop by Nelson George  (Read 1163 times)

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Review: The Plot Against Hip Hop by Nelson George
« on: November 11, 2011, 05:48:38 am »
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Review: The Plot Against Hip Hop by Nelson George
A nonfiction chronicler of black music creates a compelling detective.
By Elizabeth Gold

 Part procedural murder mystery, part conspiracy-theory manifesto, Nelson Georgeís The Plot Against Hip Hop reads like the PTSD fever dream of a renegade whoís done several tours of duty in the trenches. Ghetto kid turned Manhattan sophisticate D Hunter owns D Security, the premier provider of protective muscle for hip-hop artists. When his old friend, music critic Duane Robinson, dies in a pool of blood on his Soho office doorstep, D feels compelled to bring the murderer to justice. His investigation takes him from Russell Simmonsís Hamptons manse to middle-class New Jersey and back again. While soothing the nerves and cooling the beefs of real-world figures from Kanye West to T.I., he works to uncover how hip-hop turned from rebel music to marketing gold mine, and why the answer was worth his friendís murder.

Plotís combination of record-biz knowledge and ghetto fabulosity could have been written only by venerable music journalist Nelson George, who knows his hip-hop history. His first book, The Death of Rhythm & Blues, is a chronicle of how soul musicís climb to the top of the charts ensured its demise; itís a nonfiction classic whose story sounds not too far from Plotís labyrinthine plots and cold-blooded vendettas. But thatís fiction, right?

While the story can sometimes feel exposition-heavy, Georgeís transition from reportage to mystery is quite charming. The writing is as New York as ďEmpire State of Mind,Ē and D is a detective compelling enough to anchor a series. Has hip-hop found its Lisbeth Salander? Letís hope so.