Exclusive: "Rappers Penning Their Own Novels Is Giving People A Love For Reading"

Tuesday, Aug 2, 2011 3:30PM

Written by Cyrus Langhorne

With the surge of rappers such as Jay-Z and Prodigy releasing their memoirs, SOHH decided to hit up Cash Money Content authors Jaquavis and Ashley Coleman about their take on hip-hop jumping into literature.

From Jaquavis' eyes, literature is one of the best ways to keep legacies alive.

"Reading novels is the oldest hobby that we have," Jaquavis told SOHH. "Eventually, if you're great, you're going to get a book written about you. I guess [rappers] are embracing it. Everybody wants their life and circumstances documented and what better way to do it than pen a novel? You can pen a novel now, die today and your novel will be here forever. So, that's the way I look at it." (SOHH)

Agreeing with her husband's standpoint, Ashley commended hip-hop artists embracing literature.

"I think that they're just trying to leave a stamp," Ashley added, referring to rappers venturing into the publishing realm. "Everybody wants to leave a legacy behind and when you're doing great things, you deserve to be known for that, after you're gone. I think it's a beautiful thing. It's putting more people back into literature, back into reading and actually cracking open a book. There's so many other forms of entertainment and you have rappers and other hip-hop artists actually penning their own novels is really giving people, the new generation, a love for reading. I think that it's beautiful. I commend them for that." (SOHH)

Last May, The Clipse's Malice talked to SOHH about emcees turning their writing skills into full length books.

"You can't box hip-hop in, you just can't do it," Malice told SOHH. "Rappers and artists are just creative. Period. It's just that we've chosen this avenue [of rapping] whether it's because we're just good at it or it sells and were fortunate enough to get a deal. It's what we do. But you can't box it in. Hip-hop culture does everything. You know what I'm saying? We're good at a lot of things from writing books to cutting hair. So you can find us in any facet and I just think as time goes on, more and more doors are going to be opening. You're going to keep seeing a lot of rappers as actors on the big screen like Common and Andre 3000. There's nothing that we can't do and I think that the world as a whole is becoming more and more open, showing us more avenues that we can decide to go down." (SOHH)

In fall 2010, Jay-Z's Decoded contributor dream hampton also spoke to SOHH about the trend of rappers spilling their thoughts in novel form.

"Even as a writer, I don't privilege the written word over the [spoken] word. I don't think that a culture is less valid because it's primarily oral and I don't think that all of these hip-hop books validate or make hip-hop more real or more important. Hip-hop would be just as important as it is without anybody writing a book. With that said, there are a million ways that, because of someone like Jay-Z, hip-hop is becoming more formalized. And that was inevitable. We're 30 years into this at least and it was just inevitable that hip-hop would make its way into universities and [grade school], and that it would be used to teach texts and all of the things that's evolved to do." (SOHH Guest Star)

Check out Baby discussing his Cash Money Content book publishing company below:

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