Brown, Ethan 1972-
Brown, Ethan 1972-
Writer. New York magazine, music editor.
Queens Reigns Supreme: Fat Cat, 50 Cent and the Rise of the Hip-Hop Hustler, Anchor Books (New York, NY), 2005.
Ethan Brown's first book, Queens Reigns Supreme: Fat Cat,50 Cent and the Rise of the Hip-Hop Hustler, delves into the history of hip-hop in Queens during the 1970s and 1980s, paying particular attention to the roles of lesser celebrities, such as Gerald "Prince" Miller and Kenneth "Supreme" McGriff, who were as notorious for their police records as for their music. Coming from impoverished neighborhoods plagued by drugs and crime, the rising stars of hip-hop infused their art with the kind of violence and harsh language common in their world. In time, the music and the drugs (mainly cocaine) became inseparable and the whole style was dubbed "gangsta rap." Ultimately, gangsta rap embodied the subcultures of rappers and drug dealers alike, culminating in the shootings and murders of several high-profile rap stars, including Jam Master Jay, Tupac Shakur, and 50 Cent, as well as NYPD police officer Edward Byrne. Brown's book traces the various social factors that led to these tragedies and to the popularity of and sometimes naïve adulation of the hip-hop hustling lifestyle.
Brown used his journalistic skills to ferret information from court transcripts and affidavits, as well to obtain interviews with key players, including record mogulsRussell Simmons and Irv Gotti, to create a history of this complex phenomenon. A writer for Kirkus Reviews praised Brown's "thorough job [of] delineating the savage milieu of the crack-devastated communities and their code of pitiless, often pointless violence." A writer for Publishers Weekly appreciated the story of how aspiring rap artists came to idolize the drug kingpins and stylize themselves in a similar way, calling the book an "engrossing portrait of the trigger-happy hip-hop demimonde." Writing in Booklist, Mike Tribby calledQueens Reigns Supreme "a good, detailed report on an ongoing, epic social problem."
BIOGRAPHICAL AND CRITICAL SOURCES:
Booklist, December 1, 2005, Mike Tribby, review of Queens Reigns Supreme: Fat Cat, 50 Cent and the Rise of the Hip-Hop Hustler, p. 8.
Entertainment Weekly, December 9, 2005, Raymond Fiore, review of Queens Reigns Supreme, p. 92.
Esquire, December, 2005, Chuck Klosterman, review of Queens Reigns Supreme, p. 108.
Kirkus Reviews, November 1, 2005, review of Queens Reigns Supreme, p. 1167.
Publishers Weekly, October 24, 2005, review of Queens Reigns Supreme, p. 53.
HipHopMusic.com,http://www.hiphopmusic.com/(February 23, 2006), "Ethan Brown: Queens Reigns Supreme Interview."50