Gangsta Rap

Gangsta Rap

3.8 12
by Benjamin Zephaniah
     
 

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School, what school?
My name is X-Ray-X
So be careful how you flex
I used to freestyle in me bedroom
But me daddy got me vex
The teacher kicked me out of the classroom
Now I'm rapping in The Rex.

Ray has trouble at home and trouble at school. It's the last straw for everyone when Ray and his friends Prem and Tyrone are permanently suspended.

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Overview

School, what school?
My name is X-Ray-X
So be careful how you flex
I used to freestyle in me bedroom
But me daddy got me vex
The teacher kicked me out of the classroom
Now I'm rapping in The Rex.

Ray has trouble at home and trouble at school. It's the last straw for everyone when Ray and his friends Prem and Tyrone are permanently suspended. But they know what they want, more than most, perhaps. Their headmaster decides to give them a second chance, a chance to live their dream of forming a rap group. Through a specialized social program, the boys are taught the business of the music industry, what it takes to record an album, and how to lay down a track. Within weeks they have become the Positive Negatives, and within a few months they have signed a record deal and are on their way to the top. But their dream soon becomes a nightmare as violence escalates around them. Suddenly, not only their careers but their very lives are at stake. The Positive Negatives are determined to prove that you don't need to be a gangster to be a great rapper.

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Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly
Zephaniah (Refugee Boy) paints a vivid picture of the hip-hop music scene and related gang warfare in London, but his message to readers is mixed. While attending an alternative school, three reputed trouble makers ("known for their confrontational behaviour") are given the opportunity to develop their music skills and voice their anger against their school system, their parents and other authority figures. Marga Man, the owner of a local music store, helps 15-year-old Ray and his buddies Tyrone and Prem form a band called the Positive Negatives; they release a hit single and the group is soon on the way to international stardom. The price of their success is high, however. Fans of a rival rap band grow vicious. Live concerts performed by the Positive Negatives become breeding grounds for fights, and the band members receive mysterious, recurring threats. On the one hand, the author clearly communicates the boys' commitment to their music and the ill effects of unleashed violence; on the other hand, his account of the three expelled students becoming overnight stars stretches credibility, and the expression of their anger seems to be the only purpose and goal for their music. Although the book features ultra-hip dialogue, romance and action, unfortunately, readers don't get a sense of the boys' characters or their relationships (to one another or to family members and other friends), and will likely remember the violence more than the author's message. Ages 14-up. (Aug.) Copyright 2004 Reed Business Information.
VOYA
I thought that this book would primarily appeal to the hardcore hip-hop fan, but I was wrong. By the end of the book, the reader, whatever his or her musical tastes, cares for Ray and the band. This is not because Ray and his band are particularly easy to empathize with or because there is a teen pregnancy crisis. It's because there is no greater pleasure in the teen world than to read about British boys trying to do the impossible: become a hugely successful hip-hop band. VOYA CODES: 3Q 3P J (Readable without serious defects; Will appeal with pushing; Junior High, defined as grades 7 to 9). 2004, Bloomsbury, 235p., Trade pb. Ages 12 to 15.
—Luke Lambert
School Library Journal
Gr 9 Up-Rebellious in his East London home and deeply alienated from his alcoholic West Indian father, 15-year-old Ray pops off during class, gets expelled, and joins his best friends, outgoing Prem and contemplative Tyrone, who have also been "excluded" from school. All three are passionate hip-hop lovers who hang out in a small music shop run by a sympathetic Jamaican named Marga Man. After they are jailed following a fight, the headmaster decides to enroll them in an alternative program that allows them to pursue their rap interests. Marga Man uses his music contacts to get them started in a band-the Positive Negatives-and they soon become successful. Unfortunately, they attract the attention of a rival band. Spurred on by a greedy promoter, the rappers engage in a deadly gang fight that both groups later regret. With the promoter in jail, they vow to work together to end the violence. Ray is an appealing and multidimensional character, but many of the others are little more than types. Mirroring the culture of "gangsta rap," some of the dialogue is misogynist (girls are referred to as "bitches"), stereotyped (Marga Man speaks a combination of mainstream and pidgin English), and raw. A mixed bag with a wholesome message.-Jack Forman, Mesa College Library, San Diego Copyright 2005 Reed Business Information.

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Product Details

ISBN-13:
9781582348865
Publisher:
Bloomsbury USA
Publication date:
08/07/2004
Pages:
200
Sales rank:
763,476
Product dimensions:
5.22(w) x 7.78(h) x 0.91(d)
Lexile:
990L (what's this?)
Age Range:
14 - 18 Years

Meet the Author

Benjamin Zephaniah is a performance poet who travels on literary world tours for the British Council. He is the author of Refugee Boy and Face. He lives in London.

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Gangsta Rap 3.8 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 12 reviews.
Lilo02 More than 1 year ago
This one is one of the rare fictional books that I've read in the past couple of years. At first I was just paceing around at a local hospital and just decided to pick up any random book because I was bored. So I just picked up Gangster Rap, this book was about to be headed out to this hospital's sponsored store and be thrown up for sale. Once I started reading it I couldn't put it down at all, it was that good. Very touching and not to mention this guy can sure write poetry.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
If you lke rapper becky g,comment back to Sonny mitchie.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I LOVE THE SOUND OF THE BANJO AT 3:00AM IN THE MORNIN AND I LOVES SPENDIN' THE NIGHT IN THE CORNFIELD WITH M' SUZY LU.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
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Guest More than 1 year ago
i loved it we started to read it as a class at bell baxter high school in cupar ,fife. and i took the book home and i couldn't put it down it made me laugh and cry i thought it was one of the best books ive ever read
Guest More than 1 year ago
This book really keep's you interested. It talk's about three, young, boy's of different ethnicities, struggling to make it as rapper's. They go through sorrow, pain, and doubt to get to where their going. Which a lot of young teens go through to make it to their goal, so I could definitely relate. It's likeable because it compares a lot to young adult's lives so well, that you can pretty much feel what their feeling. But yet again there is not much dis-like's about this book because I enjoyed every page. So, basically it is about, whether these boys went through all the pain and struggle, they got to where they were going. Which gives you a sigh of relief in the end.
Guest More than 1 year ago
i enjoyed this book a lot. i kept on wanting to read it, i didnt want to stop. i felt bad when he fought with his father. and when his girlfriend died. but the book is great i reccomend it.
Guest More than 1 year ago
Gangsta Rap waz an outstanding standing ovation book. It waz hard, loving, and real all at once. Whoever thinks thiz book iz wack haz problems!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
Guest More than 1 year ago
This book is one of the best I have read. There is something that is always going on so have to keep reading to see what happens next!! Everyone will love this book!!
Guest More than 1 year ago
I loved this book. Most of the time something big is happening. It's a great and inspiring book.
Guest More than 1 year ago
I didn't like this book at all. It was boring and I never finished it. I don't like how its written in a different country or whatever. He says 'me bedroom' and 'favoUrite' It was really unrealistic and ..dumb