Heru Ptah
MTV/Pocket Books / Trade Paperback
ISBN: 0743483235


Written by twenty-something, originally self-published author, Heru Ptah, A Hip Hop Story is an eclectic novel written in a style that intertwines a collection of rhymes and prose, thereby creating a rhythmic story about the seedy side of the music business.

Flawless and his rival, Bull, are locked in a struggle over a record contract.  Much like the rap battles made public in the movie 8 Mile, the two men rhyme it out over a record contract and when Flawless ultimately wins the life-changing contest, his word of words with his rival only escalates.  Readers watch Flawless rise to fame and fortune while his rival continues to sling drug and toil in his ghetto haven.  Throughout the course of the novel, the two menís rivalry continues to grow until it reaches a tragic conclusion.

Moreover, the book shows the perils of love and loyalty. When Erika, Flawlessí sister and Bullís friend, Micah, meet and fall in love, the pair must keep their love and relationship a secret from their friends and family.  Unfortunately, when their forbidden romance is discovered, the two must also deal with the deadly consequences of their union.

And, if all of that was not enough, what truly makes this story remarkable is not only the words on the page, but Heruís own story.  For the reader who is not familiar with Heruís story, the vivid detail, which he uses to describe scenery, locations and actions, may seem merely like and author's attention to details, but rather it speaks to the authorís own struggles to see after being diagnosed with a rare disorder which was robbing of his sight.

Although not overtly obvious in the novel, many of the characters suffer from blindness of sorts, as well.  Flawless, Erika, Micah and Bull are all blinded by their immediate need for happiness, which for each is described in varying ways.  Whatís unfortunately is that at the conclusion of the story, it is clear that each begins to see a way out, but it is too late.

A Hip Hop Story speaks to a generation lost looking for a quick way out of their downtrodden lives and miracle way out of a miserable life.  The only characters that truly discover this are Erika and Bull, who must live with the aftermath of their actions.

By Mtamanika C. Beamon