J-Zone "Root for the Villain: Rap, Bullsh*t and a Celebration of Failure"
Courtesy Matt B.
Yawn. Another book from another musician. Let's guess: He rose from the depths of hell with his talent and went big time. He changed the face of music and made millions. Yeah, a few drug addiction, arrest, and STD stories are sporadically sprinkled throughout for excitement and authenticity, but at the end of it all, he finished his ride a musical legend. He finally gave up dressing room groupies and nose candy; he currently resides with his wife and the children that aren't illegitimate in Calabasas, CA.
Who can really relate to that shit besides other successful musicians?
My name is J-Zone. If you actually know who the hell I am, either you listen to way too much rap music, you're a Tim Dog fan, or you stood outside my distributor's warehouse the day my CDs and records were destroyed. I was on the hip-hop come-up, then I came down - hard. Splat. Some critical success, incessant praise from pop stars and hip-hop legends alike, and then...abysmal commercial failure. I did tours on Greyhound buses filled with wide-bodied, Jheri curled women and knife-wielding gang members. I witnessed my life-long passion for music dissolve in 12 hours and my final album sell a whopping 47 copies in its first month for sale. I left my little-known spot in a small, niche quadrant of the hip-hop world and joined my fellow overqualified stiffs with useless college degrees in the world of dead end jobs. For some sick reason, I find all of the above hilarious and have made an omelette out of any egg that wound up on my face.
(****First Chapter excerpt from J-Zone is available here: http://www.egotripland.com/j-zone-book-gadget-ho/ and http://www.govillaingo.com/pdf/gogo_gdgt_ho.pdf .)
I pin my cross-hairs on everyday bullsh*t just as accurately as I do the dysfunctional ways of the music biz. I ask the public at large questions like "Are men the new women?" and "Is going out on Friday night worth it when you're a socially homeless man in a deceptively segregated New York City?" Chapters dedicated to cassette tapes, defunct record stores, the SP-1200 sampling drum machine, hip-hop recording studios of the 1990s, and overlooked rap artists like The Afros, Mob Style, and No Face all point to my fascination with the obscure. You may also enjoy this book if any of these eight statements speak to you:
1. You feel it's perfectly acceptable to wear a clip-on tie with Master P's face on it to a corporate job interview.
2. You have a college degree that got you two choices in the real world: the broom or the mop.
3. You had the opportunity to work with the legendary musical heroes of your childhood; then your broke ass got sued by one of them for copyright infringement.
4. You've stuck a fork in dating in America and are now looking into blow-up dolls due to their low maintenance, low noise level, and low cost (an air-body beats an airhead).
5. You're sick of "couple accounts" on Facebook (Fellas, if you allow your girl to create one page for the both of you, her dick is bigger than yours.)
6. You're sick of hearing all this bourgeois "Eat, Pray, Love" bullshit on dates. I want NYC's crime rate to return to the 1990 statistics for a week; then you'll really be praying to travel someplace expensive to "find yourself".
7. You've considered returning to using the pay phone because you're sick of 35-year-old women sending you "LOL"s and emoticons via text message.
8. You don't stand a chance in life doing anything that doesn't involve purchasing a Mister Softee ice cream truck, but truly believe that one day you will run for mayor and win.
So yeah, Root for the Villain is a book about the music biz and everyday bullshit, but it's anathema to books about the music biz and everyday bullshit. A collection of memoirs and think pieces written by a curmudgeonly commercial failure who is somehow laughing hysterically at both himself and the stupidity of the world large probably won't become a New York Times best-seller, either. Be honest though, you need something to place drinks on when you have company; at worst, my book is a perfect cocktail coaster.
J-ZONE is a connoisseur of humbling reality checks, lesser-known rap albums from the early '90s, self-deprecation, and full-fledged lampoonery. His primary hobby is assailing our daily acts of bullshit. Throughout his decade and change in the music business, he’s worked with the likes of Gnarls Barkley, The Lonely Island, Biz Markie, E-40, and Prince Paul, to name a few. As a writer, his work has been published in the Common Culture pop culture textbook series, SLAM Magazine, The Source, and London’s Hip-Hop Connection (HHC), among others. He’s a regular contributor for ego trip NYC and moonlights as a high school sports reporter in the New York Metropolitan area. J-Zone has also taught music classes in the SUNY (State University of New York) system. He’s an insubordinate curmudgeon and a New York native who will invoice you if you send him emoticon and acronym-laden text messages. He lives in Queens, New York with his beloved grandmother, "Evil E".
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