So, some media updates on my new memoir, The Beautiful Struggle. First we have a conversation between me and Farai Chideya on NPR. Then we have a convo with me and my Pops on the book. And then we have a cover story on the book from Baltimore City Paper:
Like a young Rakim, Ta-Nehisi makes articulating the undefined world around him look effortless. Although he says, "Writing is a very physical process. It feels manual. I know it's not, but it feels like it."
In crafting his first book, he went back: "I took a rapper's approach." Struggle uses lyrics as chapter openers. "Fools think hip-hop is easy," Ta-Nehisi says, blasting the ignorance of detractor Wynton Marsalis. "Great MCs have to be careful with their words, you can only say so much within a bounded frame. I had a beat in my head, and I wanted the writing to be lyrical and rhythmic. I just couldn't come out and say stuff, or it would literally fall off beat."
Yeah, any dart I can throw at Wynton's unlettered fulminations on hip-hop, is a good dart. A review from Entertainment Weekly:
It once seemed like every male memoirist of color needed a CV featuring prison time and drug addiction. Ta-Nehisi Coates (a former TIME staffer) sidestepped both, but his The Beautiful Struggle is as gripping as Piri Thomas' classic Down These Mean Streets.
And one last review from my old home, Washinton City Paper:
As Coates negotiates his father’s ideological hangover and the ’80s crack epidemic, choosing dorm life over thug life in the ’90s, The Beautiful Struggle puts an edge on a familiar coming-of-age tale at least as old as The Catcher in the Rye. There's a difference, of course: King WASP Holden Caulfield could always enroll in another cushy private school or take refuge in the lush life on the Upper West Side, but Coates was writing for his life.
Lastly for those who haven't seen it, here's the book trailer: