From Booklist, Copyright © American Library Association. Used with permission.
This homage to street entrepreneurship focuses on accumulating bling, stock options, marketing, and the amassing of personal fortunes via heady business dealings rather than musical breakthroughs. Perhaps that's how the overculture finally comes to grips with rap's meteoric rise to the top of the charts. Oliver and Leffel more-or-less chronologically recap how the rap business evolved, and they tell the success stories of the likes of he who was once known as Sean Combs and multimillionaire Russell Simmons. Their disquisition on the arc of Percy Master P Miller's under-the-radar success story is perhaps particularly enlightening for budding Horatio Algers of urban music. These performers became wealthy marketing their once-underground music and its myriad offshoots and commercial tie-ins, employing business finesse rather than the strong-arm tactics famously applied to managing the talent. Engrossing and vital in a be-all-you-can-be sense, this is a unique take on a huge sector of the pop-music industry. --Mike Tribby Copyright 2006 Booklist
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The maturation of the over-20-year-old hip-hop culture is evidenced by the recent proliferation of books about it, notably Jeff Chang's Can't Stop Won't Stop: A History of the Hip-Hop Generation. But Oliver (CEO, American Learning Solutions; The Shape of Things To Come), with Leffel (managing editor, Journal of Business Strategy), takes a different tack by delving into the reasons why the kingpins of rap have been such successful entrepreneurs. Applying his business background, Oliver details how hip-hop's main players employ such business strategies as leadership, partnering, empowerment, sensing trends, and building and leveraging brands to build their hip-hop empires. Oliver shows that hip-hop is not all about the music, though the music does provide the essential hook into the culture and a platform from which to launch into other areas of selling to mainstream populations. Oliver acknowledges the negative aspects of hip-hop, including the offensive lyrics and ties to criminal elements, but his mission, handily accomplished, is to reveal those strategies that hip-hop business people instinctively use to attain unarguable success. Purchase where demand warrants.-Peter R. Latusek, Stanford Graduate Sch. of Business Lib., CA (c) Copyright 2010. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.