For the few that don’t know, there is a huge difference between Rap and Hip Hop. If you don’t know, I won’t go into some big explanation about it. Just know that there is a wide canyon of difference between KRS-1 and Soulja Boy. Trust me…..
Sentences is the story, so far, of one such hip hopper named MF Grimm. Not your everyday household name, but very respected and accomplished in underground circles. Most notably, Grimm was the early rhyming partner and collaborator with metal face hip hop hero and abstract lyricist MF Doom. The story starts out in the early days of Grimm in Manhattan, living with his mother, getting into trouble at school and getting introduced to the genesis of hip hop, block parties and grabbing the mic. The story takes you on a journey not unlike yours or mine at one point or another: dreaming of being someone special and doing something extraordinary.
Stories of getting shot at a party trying to do the right thing to following childhood friend, King Sun, out to Iowa to do a show with MC Lyte are only some of the experiences Grimm had early on, shaping him as an adult as well as an artist. The real draw of the book is the feeling of “realness” you get from Grimm as he succeeds in the rap game, meeting and working with Dr.Dre and Death Row Records, performing with Tupac and the Dogg Pound and putting out his own records. Yet, also feeling the disappointment in coming in third in the Battle for World Supremacy freestyle battle in NY. And you then feel the warmth that he felt afterward, getting props from Chuck D from Public Enemy and others on his performance. It’s the story of an artist trying hard to make something out of nothing that is the unifying theme through out the book.
The art style by Ronald Wimberly is very exaggerated and cartoony, but fits the storytelling and the tone. Grimm (real name Percy Carey) sets the tone very well. His pacing and flashing back really adds to parts of the story that need quick clarification. His recounting of his time in prison is very moving and sometimes, hard to read at times. It’s this quality that really brings out the emotion. By the middle of the book, you really start rooting for him and want to see him succeed.
The book is a must read for hip hop fans and anyone that loves underdog stories. So much in the music industry is trapped under the guise of “keepin’ in real” and it usually is nothing close. Think 50 Cent owns 5 Ferrari Enzos? I’ve got some real estate to sell you. The realness of hip hop is in this book. And I recommend you read it.