This is a review of the book Kanye West Owes Me $300: And Other True Stories from a White Rapper Who Almost Made It by Jensen Karp.
At the onset, I want to get somethings out of the way. This book is everything I look for in a memoir: humor, riffs on pop culture, obscure movie/music references, a good turn of a phrase, poignant writing, and a good story. Establishing these points, I had trouble getting into Kanye West Owes Me $300. The humor was so well phrased on the page and the story was so anti-climactic, I was waiting for a punchline. The whole time I was waiting for Karp to end up saying something like, “Yeah… I was just messing with you.” Because I was waiting for it, I ended up not able to appreciate the book until after I finished it.
Karp writes a lively, engaging narrative about being a young Jewish boy who falls in love with hip-hop and then begins to pursue it as a career. The individual pieces of the story seem almost too coincidental to be believable, and by the end the reader ends up crushed when things don’t quite work out for him like they did for Eminem. Or Vanilla Ice for that matter. But such is life.
And that’s what makes this story good. Karp doesn’t gloss over or romanticize any of what happens, which even then the honesty makes it a little hard to take. That level of humor and honesty with so little disappointment resonating through the words is admirable.
In the end, Kanye West Owes Me $300 is worth the time invested in reading. I will revisit this story at least a couple more times before I pass it off to a friend because I enjoy the humor and the story.
I received my copy of this book for free through the Blogging for Books program. I was not obligated to post a positive review; the opinions expressed are mine.