Tuesday, January 16, 2018

Urban/Street Fiction: Trash for Cash?

What's woody wood, grasshoppers?

The Coldest Winter Ever had changed the face of Black Literature.

Why? 


Because a lot of young, Black readers, according to statistics from inner city mom and pop book stores, are no longer interested in books by James Baldwin, Toni Morrison, Ralph Ellison and others from similar style of writings.

Every Black author who writes street novels need to thank Sistah Souljah because there was NO market for street novels before she dropped "The Coldest…"And they also need to thank Sistah Souljah for giving them a plot to write about since it seems like every urban fiction writer tries to recreate the same theme of her cult classic novel.

I remember shopping for books at Barnes and Noble back in high school and Donald Goines was probably the ONLY street novelist that dominated the shelves. Remind you, this was back around '99-2000.




Fast forward to 2008, and urban/street novels dominate the shelves. I call this, "The Sistah Souljah Effect". This era of street fiction reminds me when “Chick lit” was popular in the 1990's with books by Eric Jerome Dickey, Omar Tyree, and Terry McMillan dominating the scene.

But what disappoints me about upcoming Black writers (which I can also say about upcoming rappers) is that damn near EVERY street novel follows the same formula. The storylines and plots are basically the same:


1. Girl leaves home for big city/has abusive home life/raped by uncle, father, father figure/cousin/dad/someone

2. Winds up a stripper/ho/numbers runner/drug addict/drug dealer

3. Has unprotected sex/gets murdered/becomes a player or playette/baller

4. Boyfriend is either in jail/numbers runner/drug dealer/pimp

5. Either ends up: dead/own business/getting away from her past life


I’m not one of those uppity, self-righteous negroes who says (in nasal voice), "Street novels are ruining the images of Black people and quality of literature."


For the record, I LOVE tales about the streets; the drama, sex, violence and crime interest me. FEDS, ASIS and Don Diva magazines are my favorite joints, and those mags are street oriented.

But I always tell people; if you decide to write about the hood AT LEAST make your story DIFFERENT from what everyone else are writing. And I don’t even want to touch on the flood of spelling and grammatical errors. 

Good Laaaaaawd 

Readers need to demand thorough editing in books and the sharp use of grammar from novelist without the urge of wanting to grab a red pen to mark mistakes while reading. I’m not striving to “throw salt” in anyone’s game by down talking Black writers, but what saddens me is when I see wasted potential go down the drain when books display half hearted editing with unoriginal storylines.












However, street literature "speaks" the same language as their target audience (18-25 years of age) and provides an alternative from novels that appeal to the 30-45 age market. People who normally don’t read crave urban lit and the books generally serve as a tool to grab non-readers. On the other hand, what’s the use of speaking to an audience’s language without giving them some sort of food for thought?

The underlying problem is not street literature, but rather the lack of balance in the mainstream. If I want candy and potato chips, why can’t I ask for fruits and vegetables?

Fiction lacking substance are pushed harder than books that educate and entertain the public. While novelists need to grind hard to push their product, they also need a platform to display their literary talent. Not saying street literature fails to drop jewels, but there’s a thin line between writing realism and exploiting the underworld and its pitfalls, especially when writers dumb down for dollars.

Aight ya'll, I'm Audi 5000

Peace and Afro Grease

Nah'Sun the Great @ www.nahsunblaze.com



Tuesday, January 2, 2018

Top 5 Rap Songs of All-Time

What's woody wood, grasshoppers?

Many songs in Hip-Hop have been made, but only a few make me press the repeat button for me to listen without ear fatigue

I've chosen 5 cuts that never gets old like fine wine as time runs on speed...of course there are more than 5 I had in mind...I just didn't feel like writing them all down...instead I picked the best of the best as a bonafied Hip-Hop head

So without further ado, peep the cold cutz...


5. Sound Good - T.R.E




The average person may not have heard of this underground eMCee or the song for that matter, but this track perfectly describes the today's rap game

CLICK HERE to listen


4. Murda Mo - Krayzie Bone



The sample beat from Art of Noise Moments in Love is so ill that Krayzie used it twice on two different albums

CLICK HERE to listen


3. T.O.N.Y - Capone N Noreaga 



The first verse from NORE is one of the hardest I've heard in rap

CLICK HERE to listen


2. Elevators (Me and You) - Outkast



I copped the cassette single back in '96, and I played this cut over and over and over and over and over and over...

And still do

CLICK HERE to listen


1. Nuthin' But a G Thang - Dr Dre and Snoop



Need I say more?

CLICK HERE to listen


HONORABLE MENTION

Triumph - Wu-Tang Clan


All 10 members of the Wu did their thing along with the intro from Ol Dirty (RIP)

CLICK HERE to listen


Peace and Afro Grease

Nah'Sun the Great @ www.nahsunblaze.com