Han's Hip-Hop Report: 'mogul' Book Review
"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..."
There are few situations left that would send shockwaves through the urban music industry. The death of a legendary artist? Nope! Sorry, Tupac. Sorry, Biggie. I mean, you’re both sorely missed but we handled. The retirement of a superstar? C’mon Jay-Z, precisely who you thought you were kidding I do not know. No, there is only one scenario that could shake the rap world to its very core: the public announcement of one of the hip-hop elite’s homosexuality.
This controversial, but very plausible, subject matter provides the narrative framework for Terrance Dean’s latest book, 'MOGUL'. The novel is a gripping and fast-paced journey through the exhilarating evils of the entertainment industry, demonstrating Dean’s progress as a fiction writer. His characters are likeable and relatable – regardless of the reader’s own background or sexuality – and as the story draws to its dramatic climax, he evokes empathy for the protagonist’s plight.
It is, however, his management of this controversial topic that renders 'MOGUL' so significant within the contemporary African-American literary canon. The novel has succeeded in narrowing the gulf between the hip-hop and gay communities, which will hopefully spark a dialogue between these two strangely co-dependent, conflicting worlds.
Like it or not, the down-low or homosexual sub-culture within the world of hip-hop is alive and well. Contrary to popular belief, they are not just the stylists or publicists, but rather the top executives, the platinum-selling producers and – shock horror – even the hypermasculine artists. These people carry significant clout within the business, although the consequences of coming out of the closet and into the booth could be of epic proportions in terms of their career.
As 'MOGUL' outlines, however, it is surely only a matter of time before the game is faced with this unprecedented situation. Dean’s novel has shown that the scene is set for hip-hop to face its final taboo, but is it ready to embrace it?
The book covers a plethora of issues that are particularly relevant for our generation; it’s not a 'queer novel' but rather a novel about life, love and loss in the contemporary consumer-driven world. 'MOGUL' is a thrilling and important read that will lead any hip-hop aficionado - gay, straight or Martian - to question the fundamental ideologies and perceived identities, on which the culture has been built.
The E-book version of 'MOGUL' is currently available for purchase and hard copies can be pre-ordered in the UK from August 25.
Words: Hannah O’Connor (@HipHopSuperhan)
Online editing: Joseph 'JP' Patterson (@Jpizzledizzle)