Raw Is Raw

My husband loves Wu-Tang Clan. I did not know much, if anything, about them when I met my husband. But, being with him, I have come to like them. So, when I saw that U-God wrote a memoir, I was totally down to read it. Full disclosure, U-God is not my favorite Wu-Tang dude. And no, my favorite is not Method Man, or Ghostface, or Rza, who are arguably, the most popular members of the group. My favorite is Inspectah Deck, who rap on Triumph is one of the best ever laid down.

Lamont Hawkins (U-God) grew up in NYC. He moved to Staten Island and lived in the projects. He was friends with Method Man and the rest of the crew growing up. They lived a hard life – drugs, guns, jail, poverty. But they never gave up on rapping. Eventually, with some hard work, they hit the big time.

I listened to this on audio book. And U-God reads it, which is interesting because he has a fairly thick accent. I found it interesting to hear stories of those guys coming up and getting his perspective on the other guys. I found some parts of the book grating. I don’t know if that’s a product of the writing style or the audio style, but I was annoyed at points by the rhythm.

Overall, however, I found this book interesting. I like reading memoirs and this one was good for putting me into a place totally out of my known world. U-God paints a vivid picture of the life he lead prior to the Wu-Tang Clan hitting the big time. You feel like you are on the streets and in the tenements with him. He is a story teller. And the stories are, for the most part, pretty fascinating. My favorite parts of this book are the ones where he talks about his life before fame and fortune. It gives you an understanding of what that life was like. The soul-crushing poverty, the crime (because there’s nothing else), the weird people, jail, the police. It’s all really vivid.

I would recommend this book, not necessarily if you are interested in the history of rap or Wu-Tang Clan, but if you are interested in reading about rising above adversity, it’s a good book.

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