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Strippers and stockbrokers, pickpockets and bureaucrats, transvestites and pseudo-prophets--these are just a few of the real people readers will encounter in Cohn's lyrical and sinister journey that reaches beyond the streets of New York to document the ever-evolving cross-section that makes up America.
New York City is in the grip of a bad-moon heat wave, with the street-corner preachers running amok. Into the fray, four damaged lives come together at a pet store on the Upper West Side, each one consumed by a private hunger and driven toward an inevitable fate. 304 pp. 15,000 print.From the Hardcover edition.
What lunacy would cause a 55-year-old white male, neither lean nor hungry, to embroil himself in the world of New Orleans rap, not merely as an observer, but as an active participant - ideas man, talent-spotter, lyricist, and would-be producer? And why did his experience, after many tribulations, end up so profoundly joyous and fulfilling? Nik Cohn has loved (and hated) hip-hop since its birth, thirty years ago, and loved (and hated) New Orleans for even longer. The city has haunted him from childhood, an addiction he's never wanted to kick. But nothing prepared him for the experience of being pitched, more or less by accident, into the role of Triksta, rap impressario. A white alien in a black world, with no funding or qualifications, and not a clue what he was doing, he had to rethink himself from scratch. Surrounded by a cast-list that included such names as Choppa and Soulja Slim, Big Ramp and Lil T, Bass Heavy, Fifth Ward Weebie, and Shorty Brown Hustle, he entered a world of tiny backstreet studios, broken-down slums and gun turfs, almost unimaginable to those who know New Orleans only as the touristic Big Easy. Triksta is the story of a three-year odyssey that became all-consuming - a journey to the heart of rap, and New Orleans, and self-knowledge. Hilarious, tragic, startling, and exhilarating, sometimes all at once, it is Nik Cohn's greatest book.
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