If music-related memoirs are your thing, you’re in for a treat this month. A few weeks ago legendary emcee Rakim was seen doing the rounds on US TV and radio to support his memoir Sweat The Technique: Revelations on Creativity From The Lyrical Genius. Additionally, in the coming weeks we can expect memoirs from our dearly departed Prince as well as his musical brother and on and off nemesis, Morris Day. Interestingly enough, all memoirs are penned by men, a demographic that the publishing world often assume have little to interest in the written word, particularly in the genre of biography. Furthermore, it’s encouraging to see black male artists open up about their emotional inner-world and share their pitfalls, hopes, dreams and challenges that we all encounter in life. Could we be seeing a changing of the tide? We certainly hope so. Here’s a preview of the hottest 3 reads on our radar.
Prince – The Beautiful Ones
As a devoted Prince fan, there was an unwritten rule of being a member of the Purple Army – expect the unexpected. Always. From changing his name to an unpronounceable symbol, recording a racy, super provocative album and ordering it to become withdrawn before release date. Pop up concerts. A Jehovah Witness conversion – the list is truly endless. But when it was announced just months prior to his death that the notoriously private superstar would be releasing a memoir, I think that pretty much took us all by surprise. Sadly, he only managed to pen 50 pages, and those precious words form the central material of the forthcoming The Beautiful Ones (A Memoir). For an excellent back story of the events leading up to the making of this book, I recommend having a read of this article published in the The New Yorker by Prince’s collaborator, Dan Piepenbring it really does shed light on how committed Prince was to finally opening up about his life, and definitely whets the appetite for us fans who are still seeking some closure following his untimely departure.
Out 29th October, pre-order here
Morris Day – On Time – A Princely Life in Funk!
Prince’s relationship with his musical brother turned protégé, and sometimes nemesis, Morris Day, has always been complicated. We all were led to believe that the rivalry in Purple Rain was purely fictional, but there undoubtedly was real friction between the two and all is set to be revealed in Day’s memoir On Time – A Princely Life in Funk. The Time frontman is set to offer a candid portrayal of his life; opening up about his hedonistic days when he was embroiled in cocaine addiction at the height of his career, while still maintaining the façade of a sharply dressed, comedic and charismatic frontman. Despite Day’s colourful and accomplished life, no doubt it will be the vignettes about his encounters with The Purple One that will be the talk of podcasts, and Prince dedicated fan sites in weeks to come.
Out 8th October, buy here.
Rakim – Sweat The Technique: Revelations on Creativity From The Lyrical Genius
Your favourite rapper’s favourite emcee has finally decided to shed his private persona and open up about his life as well as his creative process which has led many to dub him as the greatest ever lyricist to bless the mike. Rakim AKA The GOD emcee has just released his memoir which details his rise to fame during the hip hop pioneering years of the 80s in New York City, as well as set the record straight on a number of issues that have become hip hop folklore, such as his rumoured tumultuous relationship with his musical partner, Eric B (are we seeing a pattern here?). What I find most interesting about this particular memoir is Rakim has produced this book as a part-writing guide, offering readers a template to tap into their own creative wellspring.