By Biba Adams
Photo: Rare Bird Books
(AllHipHop Features) Once in a generation a brand-new voice emerges that transforms the landscape. It happens in music, films, and in literature. Popular culture loves and respects people who shake them up, make them think, and perhaps even challenge their very beliefs. For years as a radio host on Shade 45, Rude Jude has been spinning hip-hop records and making people laugh with his witty commentary. However, with the release of his second book, Hummingbird, Jude’s true legacy may be defined as an author.
Hummingbird is a collection of personal essays from Jude Angelini’s life that are engaging and captivating. The book is easy to read with short sentences that are as impactful as jab blows to the face and body. He spends most of the book talking about his drug-fueled escapades in a way that makes him endearing as an author and as a person.
“It’s been months since I talked to Taz, so when he calls I pick right up. The only problem is I just did half a gram of ketamine ten minutes ago.
My brain’s like soup. I barely know where I am and my mouth’s not working right. Had I been less fuc*ed up I’da been smart enough to not pick up the phone.” (p. 103)
Jude Angelini writes with a boldness and unapologetic spin that will continue to earn him comparisons to Eminem. Two white boys growing up poor in suburban Detroit, and Angelini’s first book, Hyena (2014), does in some ways feel like a novelization of 8 Mile. The book seemed to talk mostly of his hard life as the odd man out among all these black kids. But with Hummingbird, he deviates some from that narrative of making himself a victim of circumstance. Instead, he is a much more accountable character of his own creation. He is a drug user who doesn’t bemoan his condition. The book isn’t filled with regrets and NA meetings. Honestly, he makes his life sound tragically funny as hell.
Personal essays are the perfect vehicle for a hip-hop DJ to tell his life stories. The essays are like songs that play into the larger theme. Angelini doesn’t waste time retelling events like interviewing rappers, but instead he talks about the darkest times in his personal past and present. He tells his darkest secrets and somehow makes you laugh and cry at the same time. Hummingbird is beautiful and haunting. It is a quick read, but is a book that stays on your mind for a long while afterward.
Jude Angelini’s books, Hyena and Hummingbird are both available now wherever books are sold. Hyena has been optioned by Mark Wahlberg as a series for HBO. The All Out Show with Rude Jude is on every weekday afternoon on Shade 45.