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BOOK REVIEW: Still Hood

stillhood

For the glamorous world of street fiction, the vendor tables on 125th Street in Harlem are the fledgling genre’s version of Soundscan. Famed author K’wan newest book, Still Hood (St. Martin’s Press), sells like hot cakes. K’wan’s first book, Gangsta, about a deft killer-for-hire who decides to turn it all around, is a mainstay in the street fiction canon. The independently released black book novels blitzed the world of urban readers and now anything that this man’s name is branded on sells like dollar waters on a hot Caribbean day.  K’wan does not disappoint. Still Hood tells three interweaving stories of Dena Jones; who plays guys to get what she wants. True, who has microphone dreams. And Jah and Yoshi’s urban romance. The book starts off with two sexy video vixen like girls who flirt their way into a late night club and begin to fall for the game of a pimped out dude named Ice. Deep in the book, Sha Boogie pummels his mother’s boyfriend, holding the barrel of the 9mm to his face of tears. There are hood tournaments, recording sessions, and enough adulterous punani to give NBC fodder for an entire season of a ghetto soap opera to give Days of Our Lives a run for its money.  Each section is filled with drawing setups and descriptions. Here’s an example: “’Look at that b***h,’ Roxy whispered to Sugar. For the past few minutes or so she had been shooting daggers at Dena and Black Ice while they mingled in the crowd, and it made her sick. ‘She hanging all over the n***a like that’s her man, thirsty b***h.’”   It is not rare for K’wan to be strolling on Lenox Avenue, bumping into fans who don’t recognize his face but worship his name. With Still Hood the talented writer can cross “procuring a major publishing” off his checklist and start concentrating on that Hollywood money. 

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