Education: Graduated from college.
Home—New York, NY.
Writer, music journalist.
(With Danny Martin) No-Fall Snowboarding: 7 Easy Steps to Safe and Fun Boarding, Simon & Schuster (New York, NY), 2005.
(With Derrick Parker) Notorious C.O.P.: The Inside Story of the Tupac, Biggie, and Jam Master Jay Investigations from the NYPD's First "Hip-Hop Cop," St. Martin's Press (New York, NY), 2006.
Contributor to The Vibe History of Hip Hop, 1999. Contributor to periodicals, including Rolling Stone, Spin, GQ, Vibe, and the New York Times.
Music journalist Matt Diehl has written for major national magazines on musical matters from punk to hip-hop. Known for a candid approach at assessing the talent and worth of various groups and artists, he has followed similar topics and themes in his book-length work. As a contributor for Slushpile.net noted of his contribution to the 1999 The Vibe History of Hip Hop, "Diehl coldly critiqued the cultural place of acts like PM Dawn, Young MC, MC Hammer, and others without sneering at the often novelty acts."
Diehl's first book, No-Fall Snowboarding: 7 Easy Steps to Safe and Fun Boarding, was written with snowboarding instructor Danny Martin, and was targeted at the same youth audience his music criticism serves. According to the Slushpile.net contributor, this nonfiction work "challenged the notion that learning to snowboard has to be a torturous process full of bruises and aching muscles." The book also introduced Diehl to the process of book-length writing. His second book was closer to his journalistic subjects. He collaborated with a long-time New York City policeman Derrick Parker, for the 2006 title, Notorious C.O.P.: The Inside Story of the Tupac, Biggie, and Jam Master Jay Investigations from the NYPD's First "Hip-Hop Cop." Parker, a twenty-year veteran, had served on the police department's Rap Intel squad, part of the larger Gang Intelligence Division, dealing with gang crime. Rap Intel managed to infiltrate the world of gangster rappers such as Biggie Smalls, Tupac Shakur, and Jam Master Jay, and Parker provided Diehl with good insider knowledge of these operations, including high-level suspects for the unsolved murders of those three rappers. Diehl and Parker also cover crimes that were linked to or involved other prominent artists, including Jennifer Lopez and Puff Daddy. The Slushpile.net writer felt that Diehl's work offers a "detailed, and controversial, look inside police procedure and law enforcement's relationship with the rap community." A Publishers Weekly reviewer had higher praise for Notorious C.O.P., terming it "powerful and fascinating." Booklist contributor Mike Tribby similarly found the book "full of engaging detail," as well as "a gritty trip to the nexus of big-money rap and ongoing gang rivalries." Likewise, a Kirkus Reviews critic concluded: "Entertaining, and likely to hold strong appeal for hip-hop fans."
Diehl's 2007 book, My So-Called Punk: Green Day, Fall Out Boy, the Distillers, Bad Religion: How Neo-Punk Stage-Dived into the Mainstream, is his first solo effort, a work for which the publisher St. Martin's Press sought him out on the strength of his other writing. Here he examines and profiles the bands that followed in the footsteps of earlier pioneering punk bands such as the Sex Pistols and the Clash. Diehl himself became a music journalist through his involvement with punk music in the 1970s, both as a listener and performer. Thus his work carries personal conviction. For him, as Tribby noted in Booklist, the very success of punk music "has altered what punk means and how it's expressed." Diehl looks at neopunk bands that have appeared since the mid-1990s in a work that is, according to Library Journal contributor Matthew Moyer, "underwhelming." Moyer felt the book is "burdened with marketing and branding talk and pretzel logic discussions about what punk is." However, other reviewers had a higher assessment of My So-Called Punk. Tribby felt that Diehl deals with his material in a "highly readable fashion," while a Kirkus Reviews critic noted that Diehl "deftly analyzes the ideologically fraught, stylistically Balkanized state of contemporary punk rock." The same reviewer concluded that My So-Called Punk is a "solid reference for punk scholars."
BIOGRAPHICAL AND CRITICAL SOURCES:
Booklist, May 15, 2006, Mike Tribby, review of Notorious C.O.P.: The Inside Story of the Tupac, Biggie, and Jam Master Jay Investigations from NYPD's First "Hip-Hop Cop," p. 10; March 15, 2007, Mike Tribby, review of My So-Called Punk:Green Day, Fall Out Boy, the Distillers, Bad Religion: How Neo-Punk Stage-Dived into the Mainstream, p. 12.
Kirkus Reviews, May 15, 2006, review of Notorious C.O.P., p. 509; January 15, 2007, review of My So-Called Punk, p. 59.
Library Journal, June 15, 2006, Craig Shufelt, review of Notorious C.O.P., p. 72; March 15, 2007, Matthew Moyer, review of My So-Called Punk, p. 74.
Publishers Weekly, May 1, 2006, review of Notorious C.O.P., p. 50.
Slushpile.net,http://www.slushpile.net/ (June 14, 2007), "Interview: Matt Diehl, Author."