Original Gangstas by Ben Westhoff
The Untold Story of Dr. Dre, Eazy-E, Ice Cube, Tupac Shakur, and the Birth of West Coast Rap

No critic rating

Waiting for minimum critic reviews

See 2 Critic Reviews

Despite some shortcomings, Westhoff’s impressive research makes this an invaluable overview of the musical influences and legal nightmares of West Coast rap’s main players, and his book will stand as a comprehensive guide to an inner-city movement that conquered the world.
-Publishers Weekly

Synopsis

Based on five years of research and reporting, Original Gangstas is the definitive history of L.A. gangsta rap, revealing how a cohort of then-unknown rappers, including Eazy-E, Dr. Dre, Ice Cube, Snoop Dogg, and Tupac Shakur, grappled with rivalries, crime, drugs, gangs, racist cops and bad record deals to create the defining music of a generation.
In the late 1980s the emergence of a new genre, gangsta rap, shifted the epicenter of hip-hop from New York to Los Angeles. Award-winning journalist Ben Westhoff shows how N.W.A's shocking success led to rivalries among members and clashes between Eazy's Ruthless Records and Suge Knight's Death Row; backlash from the FBI, politicians, and police; and eventually an all-out war between East and West Coast rappers that would turn deadly. In the process, hip-hop burst into mainstream America at a time of immense social change.
 
Original Gangstas includes revelations about seminal events, including the death of Eazy-E from AIDS, Suge Knight's ascent at Death Row, the whereabouts of rappers - including Tupac Shakur - during the 1992 L.A. riots, the events that led to the East Coast / West Coast feud, and the murders of Shakur and the Notorious B.I.G, among many others.
 
Packed with insights from original interviews with Ice Cube, Dr. Dre, MC Ren, Snoop Dogg, D.O.C., Mopreme Shakur, Ice-T, and dozens more - including rappers, girlfriends, family members, and industry professionals - Ben Westhoff's Original Gangstas is a monumental work of music history.
 

About Ben Westhoff

See more books from this Author
Ben Westhoff is a former staff writer for St. Louis's Riverfront Times, whose work has also appeared in the Village Voice, Creative Loafing, Spin, and Pitchfork.
 
Published September 13, 2016 by Hachette Books.
Genres: Political & Social Sciences, Arts & Photography. Non-fiction
Add Critic Review

Critic reviews for Original Gangstas
All: 2 | Positive: 2 | Negative: 0

Kirkus

Excellent
on Aug 10 2016

The author concludes with reminders of rap music’s cultural and anti-oppressive benefits...An elaborately detailed, darkly surprising, definitive history of the LA gangsta rap era.

Read Full Review of Original Gangstas: The Untold... | See more reviews from Kirkus

Publishers Weekly

Good
on Apr 23 2017

Despite some shortcomings, Westhoff’s impressive research makes this an invaluable overview of the musical influences and legal nightmares of West Coast rap’s main players, and his book will stand as a comprehensive guide to an inner-city movement that conquered the world.

Read Full Review of Original Gangstas: The Untold... | See more reviews from Publishers Weekly
×