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"Raw, authoritative, and unflinching ... An elaborately detailed, darkly surprising, definitive history of the LA gangsta rap era."---Kirkus, starred review A monumental, revealing narrative history about the legendary group of artists at the forefront of West Coast hip-hop: Eazy-E, Dr. Dre, Ice Cube, Snoop Dogg, and Tupac Shakur. Amid rising gang violence, the crack epidemic, and police brutality, a group of unlikely voices cut through the chaos of late 1980s Los Angeles: N.W.A. Led by a drug dealer, a glammed-up producer, and a high school kid, N.W.A gave voice to disenfranchised African Americans across the country. And they quickly redefined pop culture across the world. Their names remain as popular as ever--Eazy-E, Dr. Dre, and Ice Cube. Dre soon joined forces with Suge Knight to create the combustible Death Row Records, which in turn transformed Snoop Dogg and Tupac Shakur into superstars. Ben Westhoff explores how this group of artists shifted the balance of hip-hop from New York to Los Angeles. He shows how N.W.A.'s shocking success lead to rivalries between members, record labels, and eventually a war between East Coast and West Coast factions. In the process, hip-hop burst into mainstream America at a time of immense social change, and became the most dominant musical movement of the last thirty years. At gangsta rap's peak, two of its biggest names--Tupac and Biggie Smalls--were murdered, leaving the surviving artists to forge peace before the genre annihilated itself. Featuring extensive investigative reporting, interviews with the principal players, and dozens of never-before-told stories, Original Gangstas is a groundbreaking addition to the history of popular music.

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Genre: Music
Author: Ben Westhoff
Publisher: Hachette Books
Release: 2016-09-13
File: 432 Pages
ISBN-13: 9780316344869

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"Raw, authoritative, and unflinching ... An elaborately detailed, darkly surprising, definitive history of the LA gangsta rap era."---Kirkus, starred review A monumental, revealing narrative history about the legendary group of artists at the forefront of West Coast hip-hop: Eazy-E, Dr. Dre, Ice Cube, Snoop Dogg, and Tupac Shakur. Amid rising gang violence, the crack epidemic, and police brutality, a group of unlikely voices cut through the chaos of late 1980s Los Angeles: N.W.A. Led by a drug dealer, a glammed-up producer, and a high school kid, N.W.A gave voice to disenfranchised African Americans across the country. And they quickly redefined pop culture across the world. Their names remain as popular as ever--Eazy-E, Dr. Dre, and Ice Cube. Dre soon joined forces with Suge Knight to create the combustible Death Row Records, which in turn transformed Snoop Dogg and Tupac Shakur into superstars. Ben Westhoff explores how this group of artists shifted the balance of hip-hop from New York to Los Angeles. He shows how N.W.A.'s shocking success lead to rivalries between members, record labels, and eventually a war between East Coast and West Coast factions. In the process, hip-hop burst into mainstream America at a time of immense social change, and became the most dominant musical movement of the last thirty years. At gangsta rap's peak, two of its biggest names--Tupac and Biggie Smalls--were murdered, leaving the surviving artists to forge peace before the genre annihilated itself. Featuring extensive investigative reporting, interviews with the principal players, and dozens of never-before-told stories, Original Gangstas is a groundbreaking addition to the history of popular music.

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Genre: Music
Author: Ben Westhoff
Publisher: Hachette UK
Release: 2016-09-13
File: 432 Pages
ISBN-13: 9780316344869

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U.S. Steel created Gary, Indiana. The new steel plant and town built on the site in 1906 were at once a triumph of industrial capitalism and a bold experiment in urban planning. Gary became the canvas onto which the American public projected its hopes and fears about modern, industrial society. In its prime, Gary was known as "the magic city," "steel's greatest achievement," and "an industrial utopia"; later it would be called "the very model of urban decay." S. Paul O'Hara traces this stark reversal of fortune and reveals America's changing expectations. He delivers a riveting account of the boom or bust mentality of American industrialism from the turn of the 20th century to the present day.

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Genre: History
Author: S. Paul O'Hara
Publisher: Indiana University Press
Release: 2011-01-06
File: 208 Pages
ISBN-13: 9780253004994

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A deeply human story, Fentanyl, Inc. is the first deep-dive investigation of a hazardous and illicit industry that has created a worldwide epidemic, ravaging communities and overwhelming and confounding government agencies that are challenged to combat it. “A whole new crop of chemicals is radically changing the recreational drug landscape,” writes Ben Westhoff. “These are known as Novel Psychoactive Substances (NPS) and they include replacements for known drugs like heroin, cocaine, ecstasy, and marijuana. They are synthetic, made in a laboratory, and are much more potent than traditional drugs”—and all-too-often tragically lethal. Drugs like fentanyl, K2, and Spice—and those with arcane acronyms like 25i-NBOMe— were all originally conceived in legitimate laboratories for proper scientific and medicinal purposes. Their formulas were then hijacked and manufactured by rogue chemists, largely in China, who change their molecular structures to stay ahead of the law, making the drugs’ effects impossible to predict. Westhoff has infiltrated this shadowy world. He tracks down the little-known scientists who invented these drugs and inadvertently killed thousands, as well as a mysterious drug baron who turned the law upside down in his home country of New Zealand. Westhoff visits the shady factories in China from which these drugs emanate, providing startling and original reporting on how China’s vast chemical industry operates, and how the Chinese government subsidizes it. Poignantly, he chronicles the lives of addicted users and dealers, families of victims, law enforcement officers, and underground drug awareness organizers in the U.S. and Europe. Together they represent the shocking and riveting full anatomy of a calamity we are just beginning to understand. From its depths, as Westhoff relates, are emerging new strategies that may provide essential long-term solutions to the drug crisis that has affected so many.

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Genre: Social Science
Author: Ben Westhoff
Publisher: Atlantic Monthly Press
Release: 2019-09-03
File: 341 Pages
ISBN-13: 9780802147950

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Now in a revised edition, this book is the only published study devoted to Larry Cohen and his significance as a great American filmmaker. The first edition is long out of print and often sought after. This edition covers all the director’s films, television work and screenplays, and contains an updated interview with the director as well as interviews with his colleagues Janelle Webb Cohen, Michael Moriarty and James Dixon. The filmography and bibliography are also updated.

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Genre: Performing Arts
Author: Tony Williams
Publisher: McFarland
Release: 2016-04-18
File: 380 Pages
ISBN-13: 9781476618197

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A suspenseful memoir from the real life American gangster, Frank Lucas In his own words, Frank Lucas recounts his life as the former heroin dealer and organized crime boss who ran Harlem during the late 1960s and early 1970s. From being taken under the wing of old time gangster Bumpy Johnson, through one of the most successful drug smuggling operations, to being sentenced to seventy years in prison, Original Gangster is a chilling look at the rise and fall of a modern legacy. Frank Lucas realized that in order to gain the kind of success he craved he would have to break the monopoly that the Italian mafia held in New York. So Frank cut out middlemen and began smuggling heroin into the United States directly from his source in the Golden Triangle by using coffins. Making a million dollars per day selling "Blue Magic"—what was known as the purest heroin on the street—Frank Lucas became one of the most powerful crime lords of his time, while rubbing shoulders with the elite in entertainment, politics, and crime. After his arrest, Federal Judge Sterling Johnson, the special narcotics prosecutor in New York at the time of Lucas' crimes, called Lucas and his operation "one of the most outrageous international dope-smuggling gangs ever, an innovator who got his own connections outside the U.S. and then sold the narcotics himself in the street." This powerful memoir reveals what really happened to the man whose career was dramatized in the 2007 feature film American Gangster, exposing a startling look at the world of organized crime.

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Genre: True Crime
Author: Frank Lucas
Publisher: St. Martin's Press
Release: 2010-06-08
File: 320 Pages
ISBN-13: 9781429923859

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Best Film Book - The Phantom's Annual "B"wards 2017 Larry Cohen: The Stuff of Gods and Monsters traces the extraordinary career of the legendary writer/producer/director responsible for such cult and classic films as Black Caesar, It's Alive, God Told Me To, The Private Files of J. Edgar Hoover, Q - The Winged Serpent, The Stuff, Maniac Cop, and Phone Booth. Creator of some of the most diverse and thematically rich genre films that have been made in American independent cinema, Cohen's oeuvre has embraced horror, science fiction, thrillers, Westerns, comedies, the biographical film, and blaxploitation gangster movies. At turns provocative, disturbing, and humorous, his distinctly personal works in film, television, and theater are distinguished by their ferocious intelligence, biting satire, and powerful emotionalism. Over the course of 28 chapters, this in-depth career-length interview is an entertaining, enlightening, and gripping account of the singular career of a true American original. "For those of us who love the works of Larry Cohen, this is the most revealing and informative material ever published about him. And if by some chance you don't know about Larry's remarkable career, take this opportunity to learn how one maverick writer/director/producer has been able to survive and flourish in the ever changing madhouse of show biz." -- Joe Dante, director of The Howling, Gremlins and The 'Burbs "Basically a 600-page Q&A followed by extensive notes and appendices, Larry Cohen delivers the longtime maverick moviemaker’s story straight from the auteur’s mouth. Following a recounting of Cohen’s youth, early success as an episodic TV writer, and subsequent work as a big screen scenarist, Cohen and Doyle explore the writer/director’s prolific output film by film, from his provocative 1970 racial fable, Bone, and subsequent Blaxploitation fare (Black Caesar, Hell Up in Harlem), through such subversive scare classics as the It’s Alive trilogy, Q:The Winged Serpent, The Stuff, and the Maniac Cop series, up to his 2005 Masters of Horror episode, “Pick Me Up.” Having interviewed the auteur during his Phone Booth and Cellular thriller resurgence (VS #48), we can attest to the filmmaker’s storytelling skills, on more than ample display in this massive volume. Cohen-heads will not want to miss." -- Videoscope

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Genre: Biography & Autobiography
Author: Michael Doyle
Publisher: BearManor Media
Release: 2015
File: Pages
ISBN-13:

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The History of Gangster Rap is a deep dive into one of the most fascinating subgenres of any music category to date. Sixteen detailed chapters, organized chronologically, examine the evolution of gangster rap, its main players, and the culture that created this revolutionary music. From still-swirling conspiracy theories about the murders of Biggie and Tupac to the release of the 2015 film Straight Outta Compton, the era of gangster rap is one that fascinates music junkies and remains at the forefront of pop culture. Filled with interviews with key players such as Snoop Dogg, Ice-T, and dozens more, as well as sidebars, breakout bios of notorious characters, lists, charts, and more, The History of Gangster Rap is the be-all-end-all book that contextualizes the importance of gangster rap as a cultural phenomenon.

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Genre: Music
Author: Soren Baker
Publisher: Abrams
Release: 2018-10-02
File: 304 Pages
ISBN-13: 9781683352358

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Street gangs are a major concern for residents in many inner-city communities. However, gangs’ secretive and, at times, delinquent tendencies limit most people’s exposure to the realities of gang life. Based on eighteen months of qualitative research on the streets of Indianapolis, Real Gangstas provides a unique and intimate look at the lives of street gang members as they negotiate a dangerous peer environment in a major midwestern city. Timothy R. Lauger interviewed and observed a mix of fifty-five gang members, former gang members, and non-gang street offenders. He spent much of his fieldwork time in the company of a particular gang, the “Down for Whatever Boyz,” who allowed him to watch and record many of their day-to-day activities and conversations. Through this extensive research, Lauger is able to understand and explain the reasons for gang membership, including a chaotic family life, poverty, and the need for violent self-assertion in order to foster the creation of a personal identity. Although the book exposes many troubling aspects of gang life, it is not a simple descriptive or a sensationalistic account of urban despair and violence. Steeped in the tradition of analytical ethnography, the study develops a central theoretical argument: combinations of street gangs within cities shape individual gang member behavior within those urban settings. Within Indianapolis, members of rival gangs interact on a routine basis within an ambiguous and unstable environment. Participants believe that many of their contemporaries claiming gang affiliations are not actually “real” gang members, but instead are imposters who gain access to the advantages of gang membership through fraud and pretense. Consequently, the ability to discern “real” gang members—or to present oneself successfully as a real gang member—is a critical part of gangland Indianapolis. Real Gangstas offers an objective and fair characterization of active gang members, successfully balancing the seemingly conflicting idea that they generally seem like normal teenagers, yet are abnormally concerned with—and too often involved in—violence. Lauger takes readers to the edge of an actual gang conflict, providing a rare and up-close look at the troubling processes that facilitate hostility and violence.

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Genre: Social Science
Author: Timothy R. Lauger
Publisher: Rutgers University Press
Release: 2012-09-01
File: 272 Pages
ISBN-13: 9780813553757

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A founder and former CEO of Ruthless Records traces his four-decade career in the music business, describing his role in the careers of such artists as Elton John, Van Morrison, and Marvin Gaye, revealing his efforts to promote the New Wave and rap music genres, and relating his insider witness to and participation in numerous edgy deals. Reprint. 30,000 first printing.

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Genre: Biography & Autobiography
Author: Jerry Heller
Publisher: Simon and Schuster
Release: 2007-08
File: 325 Pages
ISBN-13: 9781416917946

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