Mogul: A Novel

Mogul: A Novel

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by Terrance Dean

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From the Essence bestselling author of Hiding in Hip Hop and an entertainment insider—a juicy debut novel about the “down-low” life of one of New York’s most beloved Hip Hop producers.


After the sudden death of his father, a renowned jazz musician, Aaron “Big A.T.” Tremble clings to music as an


From the Essence bestselling author of Hiding in Hip Hop and an entertainment insider—a juicy debut novel about the “down-low” life of one of New York’s most beloved Hip Hop producers.


After the sudden death of his father, a renowned jazz musician, Aaron “Big A.T.” Tremble clings to music as an escape. Making hip hop beats becomes his life. His love for music lands him at the estate of Larry “Pop” Singleton, a retired and respected Hip Hop music mogul who sees something special in Big A.T., and he also knows the truth about his sexuality. With Pop’s blessings and nurturing, Big A.T. is on the path to becoming the next great Hip Hop producer in New York.


With the help of Pop and “the family,” a network of secretly gay men in the Hip Hop world, Big A.T. finds success and starts his own music label. He’s signed and worked with some of the biggest Hip Hop artists in the country. One of them is Brooklyn native lyricist, “Tickman.” Together they are making sweet music together. Tickman and Big A.T.’s relationship goes beyond producer and rapper – they become secret lovers.


Nothing can stop Big A.T. All of the radio stations play his music. He has money, fame, and Jasmine, his girlfriend who doesn’t know about his secret love for men. However, at the pinnacle of his career, compromising photos of Big A.T. land on the desk of a national news program—and in the hands of his girlfriend. Big A.T., for the first time is at a crossroad in his career: come out publicly with his secret or watch his music empire crumble.

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Read an Excerpt


I hear my breathing. It’s loud, hard, and fast. I don’t know why I’m doing this, but I have to go through with it. I’ve summoned every entertainment reporter and photographer to the Ritz-Carlton this morning for a news conference. Hell, every media outlet across the country received the press release.

The media generally doesn’t send out reporters to cover breaking news stories related to the music industry, let alone Hip Hop. But when I called, it was something they knew they couldn’t miss.

Who am I?

I’m Big A.T., government name Aaron Tremble.

I have a record label, clothing line, real estate properties, and television and film deals. And oh yeah, I just signed a licensing agreement with a liquor company to use my name and image.

It’s been documented in every notable magazine from People to Newsweek: “Big A.T. is the entertainment industry. He is Hip Hop.”

It’s even been stated, if I am quoting accurately, “He’s suave. Debonair. Charming. Enticing.

I’m not one to toot my own horn, but like my man Kanye West put it in his song “Stronger,” “Bow in the presence of greatness.”

I’m a mover and shaker. Moves aren’t made without me. I am invincible. A power player. Superman. And, I’m a winner.

I make everyone around me feel like a champion, and that can’t be bought anywhere.

Yet, right now, I’m not feeling like a winner. As a matter of fact, I am feeling like shit, pure shit.

As much as I may want to think I’m Superman, what I’m dealing with is my kryptonite. ’Bout to kill my career … might as well kill me.

I’ve been pacing back and forth for over an hour in my thirty-second-floor Ritz-Carlton presidential suite. The sun is trying to pierce through the drawn curtains, fighting to be revealed. My freshly manicured fingers fidget with my diamond-encrusted Rolex watch.

In the room with me is Kenya, the head of A&R of my record label, and my publicist, Tracey Chambers.

Tracey is the publicist for almost every major celebrity in Hip Hop. She is a smooth bitch. Tracey is petite with a plump ass. Her tiny body carries attitude and confidence that makes her seem larger than life. With a few nip-and-tuck jobs here and there, Tracey looks like a black Barbie doll. So beautiful she can make a brother lose his religion and forget he ever had one.

Other industry insiders, including myself, often wonder if she has her own agenda of being a celebrity.

Tracey is good. No. She is phenomenal. She can turn a guntoting, drug-dealing, pistol-whipping, hard-core thug into a charity-giving, save-the-children, the-black-church-needs-you, the-community-loves-you superstar.

Tracey helped to convert Big Bad Mamma, a hard-core ghetto-pimping rapper, into a primped princess darling. Once Big Bad Mama’s image changed, she landed movie roles starring opposite of some of Hollywood’s biggest names. She even got nominated for a few awards.

Tracey now has a daunting task ahead of her. The news I am about to break will create one of the most challenging moments of her career. Tracey is tough. Not afraid to break new ground. But, this is going to put her spin-doctor skills to the test.

My feet are not keeping up with my racing heart. Everything feels like it’s in slow motion. I pace from the bathroom to the window, from the window to the living room and back to the bathroom. Kenya and Tracey are sitting quietly on the doubleseated red leather sofa. Every now and then they check and respond to their ringing BlackBerrys.

Everyone in the entertainment industry is calling or sending text messages to get the scoop. The entire music industry is waiting to hear the news.

As I make my way back to the living room, I stop. I run my hands across my fresh-shaven face. I gaze at my Rolex, studying the time. I am lost in a daze … lost in the sweeping movements of the seconds that turn into minutes.

I turn toward Kenya. “Baby girl, this is it. It’s ride-or-die time. You got my back?”

Her innocent black doe eyes gaze at me. Her nose crinkles as her pouty lips curve up into a smile. Her deep-set dimples indent her smooth brown cheeks. “I got your back,” she says and smiles.

“Tracey.” I glance at her. “I’m trusting in you to handle this with all you got. So, work your magic.”

Tracey leans forward. Takes her right hand sporting the three-quarter diamond ring and tosses her long weaved black locks behind her back. “I got this,” she says.

I look at my Rolex, again. I say to no one in particular, “It’s showtime.”

We make our way to the elevator down the hall. I let out a deep sigh when the doors open on the first floor.

I step out and look left. I see a short dark-skin man with gleaming white teeth. “Welcome to New York City. The place where your dreams can come true and celebrities are made,” he says into the camera. “This is Scott Jaredson with City Access and we have a huge breaking story about to take place right here in the heart of the entertainment capital. It’s an exclusive announcement and everyone’s on edge waiting to hear what top music executive Big A.T. has to say.”

My heart starts its rapid pace again. Thumping. I walk faster, trying to keep up with the beats.

As we move toward the conference room I see my reflection in the mirror next to the big gold doors. I give myself a once-over. My dark skin is glowing. My hair is shaped and lined up by my man, T-Money, the best barber in New York City. My slim six-foot frame looks impeccable in my own clothing line, A.T. Wares.

I run my fingers across my black cashmere blazer and smooth out the sleeves. I brush my shoulders. I snap the collars on my crisp white button-down oxford shirt. And then, we enter the frenzied room of awaiting photographers and journalists.

I cross over to the podium and adjust the microphone. The photographers’ flashes are nonstop. I squint, adjusting to the glaring lights.

I reach inside my blazer’s left pocket. I fumble with the piece of paper that is my scripted speech. I am scared. Scared shitless. I am about to do what no man in Hip Hop has ever done. Rattle the cages. Deliver a punch like Joe Louis. Hip Hop is about to be knocked out with a sucker punch in the first round.

I begin to perspire. My palms are sweaty. My mouth is dry. I need water.

I attempt to look out into the audience, but the flashes are unbearable. I put my head down and take a few deep breaths.

You can do this, I say to myself. You got to do this.

The room falls eerily silent. Then someone breaks the air. “What’s this about Big A.T.?” I don’t respond. I wipe my dry mouth with my hand. I lick my lips to moisten them. I glance toward Kenya. She smiles at me with those beautiful soft eyes and nods her head.

I look at Tracey standing next to Kenya. She is cradling her cell phone between her shoulder and ear. She is rummaging through the big Chanel bag dangling from her wrist.

What the fuck am I doing here? I am not supposed to be here. This shit is crazy. I stare at everyone. I need some water. Can’t they see I need some damn water!

My knees begin to buckle. My body starts to shake. My hands tremble.

I take another deep breath and begin. “Ladies and gentlemen of the press, I wish to thank you for taking the time to come out today.” I swallow hard. “Some of you have known me since I was in diapers, and some of you have changed them.” I laugh, trying to lighten the tense mood of the room as well as shake my own nervousness.

A few chuckles infiltrate the room.

“I first would like to say ‘Thank you very much,’ as some of you have followed my career and have treated me favorably in the press. I am here today because something has me in turmoil with myself, family, and fans.”

I take another deep breath.

“I am a very loyal person, as many of you know. I am extremely loyal to the fans of Hip Hop and in their interest in hearing good music and having good role models.”

I see a few journalists scribbling on their pads. Others are sitting on the edge of their seats, hanging on every word.

Perspiration forms on my head. It is a cold sweat. I reach for my handkerchief in the front lapel of my jacket to dab my forehead.

I need some water. I really need some water.

“Can someone please get me some water?” I blurt.

Kenya rushes over to the two tables on the side of the room, where an assortment of fruits, bagels, and beverages are provided for the press as a complimentary breakfast. She grabs a bottle of water and races to the podium.

I start to have second thoughts. I feel I am making a big mistake. What the fuck am I doing? Am I really ready for this? The thoughts race in my head. I wish this was a dream. I need to stay King of New York. I can’t throw it all away.

My sweaty hands grip the podium. Kenya thrusts the bottle of cold water in front of me. I snatch it from her.

“Thank you.” I take a big gulp.

My legs feel as if they can no longer sustain me.

“Are you okay?” Kenya leans in and whispers.

My fingers are trembling. I close my eyes and whisper, “I’m fine.”

I take a deep breath and start again.

“As I was saying … it is with good intentions and with much love to my family, friends, fans, and the music industry that I announce …”

My eyes roll into the back of my head.

My body goes limp.

I fall backwards onto the floor.


I hear people in the room scream. Someone yells, “Oh my God!” Footsteps are scrambling near me. I am fading in and out of consciousness. A few journalists rush to the podium.

Kenya kneels next to me and frantically starts fanning me with her hands. My eyes are fluttering. I turn my head from left to right.

I see Tracey, my publicist extraordinaire, fling her Chanel bag over her shoulder and rush her tiny frame toward me. “Someone call an ambulance!” she screams. Tracey pushes her long black mane from her face. “And for God’s sake, stop taking pictures,” she orders and shoos at the photographers standing over me.

© 2011 Terrance Dean

Meet the Author

Speaker, educator, author, and hip hop head Terrance Dean is the author of the explosive and provocative memoir, Hiding In Hip Hop: On the Down Low in the Entertainment Industry from Music to Hollywood. Dean is also the author of Mogul: A Novel, Straight from Your Gay Best Friend and coauthor of Visible Lives. He has worked in the entertainment industry for over ten years with heavy hitters such as Spike Lee, Rob Reiner, Keenan Ivory Wayans, and Anjelica Houston, and with notable television and film production companies such as MTV Networks, B.E.T., Savoy Television, Paramount Pictures, Warner Bros. Pictures, and Sony Pictures.

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Mogul 4.2 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 21 reviews.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
This book was simply amazing. It gives a detailed look into the world of Hip Hop and what some people will do to have it all. I praise Terrance Dean for writing this book, and telling us lay people how the entertainment world operates. I couldn't put this book down. It's a page turner and the characters sizzle off the page. Bravo to Mr. Dean and I am fan after reading this book!
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Nothing else to say..... Must read..
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
BumbleBee19 More than 1 year ago
I must agree with the other reviewers. This book is a must read. It held my interest from beginning to end.
SoulfulReviews More than 1 year ago
The main character Big AT career soars in the music industry after he is welcomed into the secret family of the business. This family consists of top movers and shakers and all are homosexual men living on the down low. The family protects him and helps him on his quest to success. Big AT continues to live his life on the down low as he career surpass him. Being rich, famous and gay brings much drama to his life. Mogul tells a story that will grab you from the beginning and completely keep you interested until the last page. The characters seemed to be people you have read about in magazines or watched on music videos. This was an interesting book and the characters seem really familiar. I can’t wait to read his next book.
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Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Please, please, please keep writing !! I need a part 2 to this book ASAP! This author is now officially in my top 10. Thanks Mr. Dean!!
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
RWA_Bookclub More than 1 year ago
Big A.T. has everything at the palms of his hands, but still he cannot experience true happiness because in essence, he is living a lie. With the power of pretty much being on top of the music industry, he is forced to hide the fact that he is in love...with another man. In fact, in his entire lifetime he has only loved men, his body has only craved men. He knows in his heart that he is a gay man, but the hip hop world is not ready for the King of NY to be an openly gay man. Not an industry that makes most of its money off of bravado. So what is a man to do when he is faced with coming out himself or being put out there in the worst way? Well, let the chips fall where they may. This is the most exciting read that I have encountered in a long time. Anyone who might have doubted the writing skills of Terrance Dean before, now need to understand that he is on top of his pen game! I read this book literally in less than twenty four hours. This is one of those books that I have desperately craved for, something that I couldn't put down. This was the type of book that had me cancel all of my plans, read all day and I even went out to dinner and gave the waitress my entire order before she said hello just so I could have more time to read at the table! There is not a moment in this book that will disappoint. Reviewed by: Nikkea Smithers RWA Bookclub President
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
MsLoveaBook More than 1 year ago
I could not put it down.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
GregRW More than 1 year ago
I like Dean Terrance book "Hidding in Hip Hop". But Mogul is a book you can not stop reading until you are at the end! I know so many young men like Big A. T. dealing with the love for men. The Author wrote a book telling you what can and will happen when we are trying to live on the DL! But Big A. T. and his family handled it well. I know and hope Terrance Dean is working on part 2 of this book. We all like to know what happen with him and his wife! Keep writing good books my man!
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Flawless28 More than 1 year ago
There has got to be a part two. I just dont want the story to end! First. Im a single working mom with a two year old, so anytime i finish a book in 24 hours, it has got to be good. I made time to read it when there wasnt any to spare. The story wasnt far fetched at all! Everything was so realistic and gives enough details without going overboard about the struggles of coming out, especially as a celebrity. Theres a lesson from every point of view,, the homophobe. The woman. ITS JUST GOOD!
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
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