Westside Young Men And Hip Hop In L.A.

    Simon & Schuster


    From acclaimed author and journalist William Shaw comes this probing exploration of the dreams and realities of seven young African-American men struggling to make it in Southcentral Los Angeles, the world capital of gangsta rap and West Coast hip hop.

    In the late eighties, hip hop was revolutionized by the hard new sound that exploded from Los Angeles. The exhilarating and shocking new music described a place where guns, sex, and life are cheap and disposable and where the struggle for success, stability, and respect is hard fought. The seven young subjects of this hauntingly beautiful chronicle have all grown up in a neighborhood riddled with violence where the notion of manhood seems constantly under threat -- and all of them dream of transforming this urban experience into the platinum success enjoyed by their heroes, rappers such as Tupac Shakur, Snoop Dogg, and Dr. Dre. The sometimes troubled products of a ruthless environment, they look to hip hop as their only viable form of expression, as their key to survival, and as their greatest hope for escape.

    Equal parts music journalism, travel writing, and urban history, "Westside" is literary non-fiction at its best, revealing a place and a way of life rarely seen and little understood by outsiders.

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