Book#1: DANCING WITH THE DEVIL by Mark Curry.
After reading the first chapter of this book (which I posted here) I was hooked. I really had doubts about the book being released because I expected Puffy to find all copies and throw them into a big Harlem bonfire. Since he didn’t, I got my hands on what turned out to be a pretty electrifying book. I read it in one night, one of three books read last week.
Mark Curry made me question my own breaking point. If someone like Puffy kept promising to release an album and make me rich, at what point would I give up? After getting so close to my dream, how long would I allow him to string me along while he took credit for my work and food out of my mouth? Matter of fact, how many of us have jobs that are doing this now? Having all of your eggs in one basket is never a good thing.
A former rapper/ghostwriter on Puffy’s Bad Boy label dishes dirt on his old boss and exposes how Diddy was able to become a mega-millionaire, while his artists found their way to the poor house, drugs, drama and death.
The book was masterfully written and does a really good job of breaking down the highs and lows within Bad Boy records from around 1995 to about 2005. Curry does a great job connecting all of the dots so that you don’t get lost in the myriad of characters.
Mark Curry basically wrote this book to show that no one on Bad Boy records is doing well right now (aside from Faith and Mase). Think of all the artists from the beginning of Bad boy like Craig Mack all the way up to Danity Kane.
What I learned:
Many the known feuds, fights and felonies are in here (Puff vs Suge, Big Vs Pac, Faith Evans Vs Kim). As well as some of the lesser known (Anthony “Wolf” Jones vs Bmf, Puffy vs Shakir Stewart, Puffy’s bodyguards vs Heath Ledger etc.)
Hard to pick just one but..
Once Biggie realized that everything with Puff was about the Benjamins, here’s what he would do: He would let Puff arrange a series of concerts for him and pretend that everything was cool between them. But on the night of the concert, Biggie would go incommunicado and no one was able to find him. By the time Biggie showed up, it was ten minutes before showtime. Puff would damn near be on the verge of a heart attack. That’s when Biggie would strike.
“Do we have a new deal or not?” Biggie would ask Puff as they waited backstage and the crowd screamed for the star. At that point, Puff would agree to almost anything.
Book #2: KEEP THE FAITH by Faith Evans.
I ordered this book as I waited for the Mark Curry book to arrive. I didn’t know much about Faith aside from her being Mrs. Wallace and a few of her songs. I was blown away by how much drama she experienced before she was 21 as well as how much of her life she chose to expose. Once I read that she was from Brick City and used to date RedMan in High School, I was like “Woorrrd, might want to check this out.”
Gifted child singer from New Jersey, becomes famous singer/songwriter who used music to shield herself from the trappings of life, only to be forever attached to the murder of her “notoriously” famous husband.
I can honestly say that reading this book made me understand a woman’s impulsiveness a lot more. Faith was able to vividly express how falling both in and out of love, can bring an avalanche of change upon you.
About 15 girls got beat up by Ms. Evans in this book. Wait..that was actually pretty good.
What I Learned:
Faith opens up about being a teenage mom, dating married men, going to college, the early days of Bad Boy Records, almost getting thrown out of a window, getting blurred out of Biggie’s video, Roz and Hurricane G, living in Brooklyn, Puff’s reaction when told that she was married to Big, getting shot in the arm, drama with Mary J and Lil Kim at Big’s funeral, getting arrested..Kum Kao, Jacob the Jewler…its all in there and more.
When I took my first look at my little boy, I could not believe how much he looked like his father. He even had what looked like a lazy eye!…The only difference was that he was much lighter…Big held CJ in his lap, and the three of us shared a quiet moment together before all of our friends and family began to file in to get a look at our new child.
“He looks like a Puerto Rican Biggie!” Cease said. And everyone in the crowded room began to laugh.
Book#3: NOTORIOUS C.O.P. by Derrick Parker.
The “Hip Hop Police” have been following rappers, locking them up and gathering information for years now. One of them was tailing Biggie Smalls when he was murdered. What’s their story?
Derrick Parker, New York City’s first “Hip Hop Cop” tells tales of going from beat cop to the detective who created an internally published record on rappers. It was used to help police keep tabs on the new young stars and their ties to known criminals, as mob arrests became more scarce. The constant presence of guns and drugs that surrounds rappers made them easy targets.
There isn’t much good here, cops only show up when things are wrong but Parker gives his account on many music related situations that occur in both the Mark Curry and Faith Evans books.
Derrick Parker’s writing style is terrible. He takes joy in calling himself “po-po” and writes chapters in the worst imitation of “Hip Hop slang”. One third of the book is spent on self promotion. He goes on and on about how great of a cop he is, how smart he is, how under-appreciated he is, everyone should use his ideas to catch crooks but when they use his ideas he cries about getting credit..wah.wahh wahhh..
What I Learned:
Cops are as scared of lawyers as much as they are of criminals.
The lengths that cops will go to so that a fellow cop does not get in trouble, disciplined or fired.
He talks about responding to hip hop crimes as well as moonlighting as security for rappers who were targets for stick-up-kids. One group in particular from Brooklyn was called “The Commision”.
In the late 1990’s, they started off boosting high priced gear to sell in the hood, then moved on to bigger and bolder crimes. By befriending rap bodyguards they were able to know when rappers were most vulnerable. They claimed responsibility for home invasions at Foxy Browns house, robbing Busta Rhymes on Church Ave and shooting O.D.B inside a relatives house to name a few. Before members of “The Commision” explained their targets to the cops, all of the different crimes were thought to be random.
Parker also gives his views on whom he believes killed Jam Master Jay and even says that they showed up at Jay’s funeral wearing Addidas and Jay’s trademark black fedora.
It really wasn’t that kind of book..