BUY J-ZONE's "Root For The Villain" NOW!! You will be happy for yourself...
I picked up this book immediately up on its release. I had not even completed it before I started writing a review about it. Then I got sidetracked and never finished. I just picked up the book again and started to re-read it so I figured now was as good a time as any, at this point, to post up a review for the book:
As soon as I heard that J-Zone was writing a book I already knew it was going to be a humorous and interesting read, he had at least one guaranteed customer. I was only a third way thru reading it and was already nominating it for the funniest book I ever read. Actually, I think his personality and writing style might even be more effective and creative in this medium than as an MC, not being limited to rhyming gives him freedom to get pretty, as Grand Daddy I.U. says, rambunctious.
The book is really broken into a few different parts. The bulk of the book acts as his biography. You get to meet his family, which shape his personality in one form or another. You get to observe his development from a young lone Funkateer to a respected and critically acclaimed fowl-mouth, self-deprecating MC with a knack for finely chopped unrecognizable, uniquely arranged beats. Plus he was pretty nice on the cuts and scratches too. The rest of the book really explains how that history affected him and/or his various philosophies on Rap, life, relationships, human interaction, etc…
I found child-like intrigue in how many things were similar for us both on the “Road To Un-Richness” in Rap and even in relationships. I was less surprised, but equally, often moreso, entertained by how differently we felt about it and/or communicated it.
The book was also a reminder of how different it often is in being a Underground Rapper in some small town, on a Army Base overseas or even a Mid-West big city in the 80s and 90s VS the same reality in a city like New York. The people J-Zone crossed paths with and potential opportunities that presented themselves in his Underground New York experience are amazing. Although, these stories ultimately proved most beneficial as great memories and fun stories for a book, rather than the door to success in “Rap”. The moral of that story is that a struggling rapper in New York is just as likely to end up a struggling old(er) or retired rapper in the near future as a struggling rapper anywhere else, the New York rapper just might rub elbows with more quasi-famous people along the way.
As for a sales pitch, I’d say to fans of J-Zone that you will find all the things you love about his music in this book; humor, humility, tongue in cheek misogyny, sex or lack thereof, plenty of appreciation for oft under-appreciated Rap, and a host of other heavy-handed topics to leave you amused, offended, stunned, or perhaps all the above. On the other hand, the book also provides a telling companion piece to all of that…the understanding of where it all comes from, whether it was learned from family, youthful experiences, or adult-life frustrations.
With “Root For The Villain”, J-Zone cements himself as a great writer. He has a great knack for tackling real issues with his trademark oddball humor, while still nailing the real point. Rarely has intelligence and ignorance co-existed so gracefully on a page…ha. With that said, I really hope this sparks off his “career” as an author. I am intrigued enough by his writings to check for any other book he wrote, whether it was Hip Hop related or a Fictional Romance Novel, Science Fiction or whatever, just because I’m certain it would be entertaining regardless.
I suppose the best way to ensure that day comes is by making sure this book sells well. He announces early on in the book that he had a sales goal of 500 copies before he considers himself, “A Best-seller in the world of J-Zone”. I’m going to hope and assume he’s already surpassed that and shoot for a more lofty goal of several thousand sold or something…I don’t know, whatever it takes to motivate J-Zone and a publisher to get more books cracking…
P.S.: I should also add that any Author that does any combination of the following or similar is #1 to me; cites Threat “Sickinnahead” as an influence, tells stories of preppy white girls singing King Sun “Be Black”, references (if only briefly) Maestro Fresh Wes, describes their favorite record stores, professes a undying love for tapes, and chastises people for interchanging business propositions with salutations.
Written By Kevin Beacham
Also, I'll be DJing along-side J-Zone, PNS of The Molemen, DJ Rude One in Chicago on DEC. 30th!!
"Return Of The Boom Bap" on December 30th at Darkroom (Chicago)!!!