Nelson George is one of the first writers to document hip-hop culture and is the author of several award-winning books on the subject, including “Hip Hop America” and “The Death of Rhythm & Blues.” He also coauthored (with Simmons) Russell Simmons’ autobiography, “Life and Def.” He directed Queen Latifah in the HBO film, “Life Support,” and is an executive producer of VH1’s long-running Hip Hop Honors broadcast. His latest book, “The Plot Against Hip Hop” (Akashic Books; $15.95), is a noir novel set in the world of hip-hop culture. The stabbing murder of esteemed music critic Dwayne Robinson in a Soho office building is dismissed by the NYPD as a gang initiation. But his old friend, bodyguard/security expert D Hunter, suspects there’s much more to his death. An old cassette tape, the theft of a manuscript Robinson was working on, and some veiled threats suggest there are larger forces at work.
Lead character D Hunter is a tough, black-clad product of crime-ridden Brownsville, Brooklyn. He is a man whose family has been devastated by violence and who has dedicated himself to protecting people in an age of insecurity. Hunter has his own secrets, his own vulnerabilities, which he fights to overcome as he becomes a reluctant private eye. Hunter’s investigation into his mentor’s murder leads into a parallel history of hip-hop, a place where renegade government agents, behind-the-scenes power brokers and paranoid journalists know a truth that only a few hard core fans suspect. This rewrite of hip-hop history mixes real-life figures including Jay-Z, Kanye West and Russell Simmons with characters pulled from the culture’s hidden world, as the Illuminati, FBI agents and West Coast gangstas roam the hard streets D Hunter walks down.
“There are few people who can put the past seventy years of urban reality into the perspective of the most recent hip minute like Nelson George,” noted Chuck D of Public Enemy. “‘The Plot Against Hip Hop’ is no exception. Nelson George braids actual facts and fictional characters flawlessly into a time-tunneled walk along various developments in this now-megabusiness called hip-hop. For those that say they love hip-hop as well as the total legacy it evolved from, it bodes well for them to keep this very close to their head, heart and attention.”