The Big Payback by Dan Charnas
The History of the Business of Hip-Hop

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The Big Payback takes readers from the first $15 made by a "rapping DJ" in 1970s New York to the multi-million-dollar sales of the Phat Farm and Roc-a-Wear clothing companies in 2004 and 2007. On this four-decade-long journey from the studios where the first rap records were made to the boardrooms where the big deals were inked, The Big Payback tallies the list of who lost and who won. Read the secret histories of the early long-shot successes of Sugar Hill Records and Grandmaster Flash, Run DMC's crossover breakthrough on MTV, the marketing of gangsta rap, and the rise of artist/ entrepreneurs like Jay-Z and Sean "Diddy" Combs.

300 industry giants like Def Jam founders Rick Rubin and Russell Simmons gave their stories to renowned hip-hop journalist Dan Charnas, who provides a compelling, never-before-seen, myth-debunking view into the victories, defeats, corporate clashes, and street battles along the 40-year road to hip-hop's dominance.


About Dan Charnas

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Dan Charnas began his career as one of the first writers for The Source, part of a generation of young writers who helped create hip-hop journalism. He scouted talent and promoted records for the seminal rap label, Profile, and was Vice President of A&R for Rick Rubin's Def American Recordings. He lives in New York City. Author website:
Published November 1, 2011 by NAL. 672 pages
Genres: Business & Economics, Humor & Entertainment, Arts & Photography. Non-fiction

Unrated Critic Reviews for The Big Payback

New York Journal of Books

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Maybe the author was simply trying to keep himself out of the story’s way, but it does seem a little weird that Charnas did not at least admit to his past to some extent in the book.It is somewhat disappointing that what started as an honest expression of an underground culture has developed into...

Dec 07 2010 | Read Full Review of The Big Payback: The History ...

Los Angeles Times

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Journalist Dan Charnas' detailed and colorful account of hip-hop history and its fusion of art and commerce is a must-read for fans of the music industry.

Jan 04 2011 | Read Full Review of The Big Payback: The History ...

Austin Chronicle

In his exhaustive study of how hip-hop went from Bronx block party to global phenomenon, former Source magazine writer Dan Charnas takes the long view of history, but it's the details and insider anecdotes that give the more than 600 pages the intrigue of a Slick Rick tale.

Dec 10 2010 | Read Full Review of The Big Payback: The History ...

The Big Payback: The History of the Business of Hip-HopBy Dan Charnas.

Feb 08 2011 | Read Full Review of The Big Payback: The History ...

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