Saturday, February 11, 2006

Hip Hop's Nelson George

Smack dab in the middle of what I thought would be a Hip-Hop retrospective on Toure's writings for various magazines, comes a Tennis article on Jennifer Capriati. And later one on Dale Earnhardt Jr. Hey, we all have to make a living. But make no mistake. The best parts of Never Drank The Kool-Aid (Picador), are the ones on hip-hop. Covering Tupac and Biggie Smalls' death and hitting on most of the 90's biggest hitters. I've often felt that Toure was that genre's answer to Nelson George. George is great when writing about R&B, not so when he touches on Rap. Which is where Toure is strongest.
Some of the best articles are the ones where the subject isn't as well known: an XXL Dick Griffey one, an unpublished Andre Harrell look at radio and a 2003 New York Times piece on gay rapper Caushun. I wish he'd stuck some of his record reviews in this book. And do we need 2 pieces on Lauryn Hill, Dale Earnhardt Jr. and Jennifer Capriati? No. But at its best this book reveals Toure to be someone interested in more than tight confines of an edited magazine or newspaper article.
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