A well-executed recognition of the dynamic presence and unrelenting impact of a hip-hop legend gone too soon.



The first full biography of the multifaceted entrepreneur, committed philanthropist, and rising rap star.

Before his tragic murder in 2019, Nipsey Hussle (born Ermias Asghedom in 1985), who was already a fixture in the hip-hop community, was destined for a mainstream breakthrough year. In 2018, after a series of well-received mixtapes, he released his debut studio album, Victory Lap, a critical success that showcased how to transcend expectations and transform one’s environment—in Nipsey’s case, the violent streets of South Central Los Angeles, “a once-thriving Black neighborhood blighted by decades of divestment and a policy known as redlining that amounted to real estate apartheid.” As veteran music journalist Kenner shows in his welcome dissection of a complex artist and activist, Nipsey, through his talented lyricism, was able to envision and actualize a brighter future that would feature persistent progress, constant evolution, and holistic self-improvement. In the same shopping-center parking lot where his crew had once engaged in illicit activities to survive a landscape without opportunity, they were now providing jobs and opportunities. Their flagship Marathon Clothing store and Vector90, the business incubator and STEM youth space, offered models to the entire hip-hop world about what it meant to be fully committed to one’s community. The Eritrean American rapper, alongside his real and chosen brothers, made it clear how to “get it straight up out the mud” through grit and principled action. Kenner, a founding editor of Vibe who covered his subject’s hard-earned success for more than a decade, smoothly pulls together many of the relationships, influences, and avenues of study that made Nipsey one of Black music’s beacons of hope. His signature tagline, “The Marathon continues…,” stood for endurance, and it is still widely used by his many fans. As Nipsey raps on a track from Victory Lap, “It’s all I’m tryna do: hustle and motivate.”

A well-executed recognition of the dynamic presence and unrelenting impact of a hip-hop legend gone too soon.

Pub Date: March 23, 2021

ISBN: 978-1-982140-29-8

Page Count: 288

Publisher: Atria

Review Posted Online: Jan. 14, 2021

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Feb. 15, 2021

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If the authors are serious, this is a silly, distasteful book. If they are not, it’s a brilliant satire.


The authors have created a sort of anti-Book of Virtues in this encyclopedic compendium of the ways and means of power.

Everyone wants power and everyone is in a constant duplicitous game to gain more power at the expense of others, according to Greene, a screenwriter and former editor at Esquire (Elffers, a book packager, designed the volume, with its attractive marginalia). We live today as courtiers once did in royal courts: we must appear civil while attempting to crush all those around us. This power game can be played well or poorly, and in these 48 laws culled from the history and wisdom of the world’s greatest power players are the rules that must be followed to win. These laws boil down to being as ruthless, selfish, manipulative, and deceitful as possible. Each law, however, gets its own chapter: “Conceal Your Intentions,” “Always Say Less Than Necessary,” “Pose as a Friend, Work as a Spy,” and so on. Each chapter is conveniently broken down into sections on what happened to those who transgressed or observed the particular law, the key elements in this law, and ways to defensively reverse this law when it’s used against you. Quotations in the margins amplify the lesson being taught. While compelling in the way an auto accident might be, the book is simply nonsense. Rules often contradict each other. We are told, for instance, to “be conspicuous at all cost,” then told to “behave like others.” More seriously, Greene never really defines “power,” and he merely asserts, rather than offers evidence for, the Hobbesian world of all against all in which he insists we live. The world may be like this at times, but often it isn’t. To ask why this is so would be a far more useful project.

If the authors are serious, this is a silly, distasteful book. If they are not, it’s a brilliant satire.

Pub Date: Sept. 1, 1998

ISBN: 0-670-88146-5

Page Count: 430

Publisher: Viking

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: July 15, 1998

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A conversational, pleasurable look into McConaughey’s life and thought.

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All right, all right, all right: The affable, laconic actor delivers a combination of memoir and self-help book.

“This is an approach book,” writes McConaughey, adding that it contains “philosophies that can be objectively understood, and if you choose, subjectively adopted, by either changing your reality, or changing how you see it. This is a playbook, based on adventures in my life.” Some of those philosophies come in the form of apothegms: “When you can design your own weather, blow in the breeze”; “Simplify, focus, conserve to liberate.” Others come in the form of sometimes rambling stories that never take the shortest route from point A to point B, as when he recounts a dream-spurred, challenging visit to the Malian musician Ali Farka Touré, who offered a significant lesson in how disagreement can be expressed politely and without rancor. Fans of McConaughey will enjoy his memories—which line up squarely with other accounts in Melissa Maerz’s recent oral history, Alright, Alright, Alright—of his debut in Richard Linklater’s Dazed and Confused, to which he contributed not just that signature phrase, but also a kind of too-cool-for-school hipness that dissolves a bit upon realizing that he’s an older guy on the prowl for teenage girls. McConaughey’s prep to settle into the role of Wooderson involved inhabiting the mind of a dude who digs cars, rock ’n’ roll, and “chicks,” and he ran with it, reminding readers that the film originally had only three scripted scenes for his character. The lesson: “Do one thing well, then another. Once, then once more.” It’s clear that the author is a thoughtful man, even an intellectual of sorts, though without the earnestness of Ethan Hawke or James Franco. Though some of the sentiments are greeting card–ish, this book is entertaining and full of good lessons.

A conversational, pleasurable look into McConaughey’s life and thought.

Pub Date: Oct. 20, 2020

ISBN: 978-0-593-13913-4

Page Count: 304

Publisher: Crown

Review Posted Online: Oct. 27, 2020

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Dec. 1, 2020

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