Hip-Hop Lit: New and Noteworthy

by Con Chapman

Rapper Curtis Jackson, a/k/a “50 Cent,” will collaborate with a team of writers on a series of novels about life as a youth on the streets.


The Rapper in the Rye (Paperback)
by 50 Cent and J.D. Salinger
(63 customer reviews)

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If you really want to hear about it, the first thing you'll probably want to know is where I was born, and what my lousy childhood was like and how I was abandoned by my father and raised by my bisexual crack dealer mother, and all that David Copperfield kind of crap, but I don't feel like going into it, if you want to know the truth. In the first place, that stuff bores me, and in the second place my parents would have about two hemorrhages apiece if I told anything personal about them.

They're nice and all—I'm not saying that—but they're also touchy as hell, especially about the part where platinum hitmakers Trackmasters locked me in a studio in upstate New York for 2 1/2 weeks so I could crank out 36 songs for “Power Of A Dollar.” Besides, I'm not going to tell you my whole goddam autobiography or anything. I'll just tell you about this madman stuff that happened to me while filming a video for the song “Thug Luv” when I was shot three times in front of my grandmother's house in Queens.

( . . . )

All of a sudden, this lady got on at Trenton and sat down next to me. Practically the whole car was empty but she sat down next to me, instead of an empty seat, because she had this big bag with her and I was sitting in the front seat.

Anyway, we were sitting there, and all of a sudden she said to me, “Excuse me, but isn't that an Andrew Jackson High School sticker?” She was looking up at my suitcases, up on the rack.

“Yes, it is,” I said. She was right. I did have a goddam Andrew Jackson sticker on one of my Gladstones. Very corny, I'll admit.

“Oh, do you go to there?” she said. She had a nice voice. A nice telephone voice. If I hadn't been sitting right next to her, I wouldn't've minded calling her up on my cellphone to talk to her.

“Yes, I do,” I said.

“Oh, how lovely! Perhaps you know my son, then. D-Block? He goes there.”

“Yes, I do. He's in my class.”

Her son was doubtless the biggest wanksta that ever went to Andrew Jackson in the whole crumby history of the school. He was always going down the corridor after he'd had a shower squirting people with this big Super Soaker gun, saying that's how he and his posse rolled in the hood. That's exactly the kind of guy he was.

“Oh, how nice! I must tell D we met,” she said. “May I ask your name, dear?”

“50 Cent,” I told her. I didn't feel like giving her my whole life history. 50 Cent was how much change I had in my pocket, and I viewed it as a metaphor for change. I like metaphors, I really do. I also like change, but you can hardly buy anything with it.

“Would you care for a cigarette?” I asked her.

“I don't believe this is a smoker, Fifty,” she said. Fifty—that killed me.


Complete Text of A Tale of Two Boroughs by 50 Cent and Charles Dickens.

It was the best of times, it was the worst of times, it was the age of gangsta rap, it was the age of wanksta rap, it was the season of Kanye West dissing George W. Bush over Hurricane Katrina, so I went on MTV and said I'd vote for W-Man if I wasn't a convicted felon; we had everything before us—endorsements for Reebok G-Unit Sneakers and G-Unit Heavy Weight Clothing—we had nothing before us without a personal book imprint; we were all going direct to Queens, we were all going direct the other way to Hell's Kitchen.

Even the Cock-lane ghost had been laid only a round dozen of years, after rapping out its messages, as the spirits of this very year last past (supernaturally deficient in originality) rapped out theirs. Suckers like Fat Joe, Shyne and Jadakiss.

In South Jamaica, Queens, a daring burglary by 50 Cent, a hungry up-and-comer, took place on the front steps of the Central Library on Merrick Avenue. Seems like Ja Rule was late returning The Ski Mask Way, coming to a movie theatre near you in 2007, and rather than put a “hold” on the book like a wanksta, 50 Cent decided to get the book or die tryin'.


What Ho, G Crew!
by 50 Cent and P.G. Wodehouse
242 pp Penguin Books
Can. $13.99, U.S. $8.95

If you've never had a rap sidekick, I would heartily recommend that you get one, posthaste. What Flavor Flav was to Chuck D, what Sancho Panza was to Don Quixote, what Scylla was to Charybdis, that is what a rap sidekick can do for you.

I personally don't know how I ever got along without mine—BackWurdz—a brainy sort of chap who is always finding rhymes for words that I come up with when the divine afflatus starts to inflate me, but doesn't finish the job. It happened just the other day, as I was sitting at the breakfast table and burst, as it were, into verse:

Sound E-Fex, live and uncut!
My style's like a punch that goes straight to the gut!
I'm better than my competitors,
I sure don't need no editors,
Once you try my flavor,

BackWurdz appeared sylph-like at my shoulder with the sizzling eggs and b. that I needed to fortify the old noggin, but even after squaring the elbows and getting down to it, I couldn't complete the quatrain plus a couplet that I hoped to incorporate into a bootleg of borrowed beats.

“BackWurdz, old fellow?” I said.

“Yes, dog?”

“I'm stuck.”

“Indeed, dog.”

“For want of a rhyme, a track could be lost,” I explained.

“What is the word for which you are seeking an assonant?”

See what I mean? The man's a veritable cornucopia of obscure words. “Once you try my flavor,” I replied with emphasis.

“Your voice will quickly quaver,” he replied in a tone so even you would have thought he was reciting an established principle of double-entry bookkeeping.

“Wurdz, you've outdone yourself!” I exclaimed.

“I endeavor to give satisfaction, dog.”

This article first appeared in Yankee Pot Roast and is available in Kindle format on amazon.com as part of the collection “Our Friends, the Rappers.”