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I seem to be over urban books.

I went through a phrase when I loved watching gangsta movies and reading books. Now it's all called urban but at first it was gangsta then hip hop now urban. Change the cover  but the content is still the same.

I remember my college friends getting my Juice - with Tupac, Omar Epps and Kardeem Hardison. I collected Menace II Society which featured a young Jada Pinkett and also Poetic Justice, Friday and a few others. It was the hey day of VHS.

From them I discovered that the genre went far back and so I watched early on like Super Fly, Foxy Brown Philly High and a few others. I read Pimp by Slim Iceberg and a few others.  After a while I stopped and other things took my interest - I sort of do that in my reading.

Then zoom a few years later there was a new wave of writers all starting with Sista Soulja's The Coldest Winter Ever and then Wahida Clark's Thug Trilogy. Clark's books were easier to read though at the same time followed a simple premise and were quite formulaic.

It was at this point the genre because urban and a very good hustle to making money. It was the time hip hop was reaching a wider audience and featuring in the main commercial charts and getting play on main stream radio. Some Hip Hop became pop and it was no longer an underground sound.

The books became a serous hustle and ghetto fabulous was in. Writers were getting on the New York Times best sellers list and this was when it became a formula and no longer original works - a bit like reality TV or romance novels. At some point urban books became pure escapism in the way of Harlequin romance novels (including the Kimani brand).

Everything was pretty much the same stuff. It was only different locations and character names but same old situations be it a street soldier, pimp or dealer with some ride or die chick and a babymama in some corner. Lots of gun action and dead bodies when at some man decides he want to go legit - or basically a different take on that situation. The book always needs a strong woman who is doing it for herself and riding & dying with some man.

 Anyway I recently picked up another called Street Soldier 2 Silhouettes. It's an imprint and copyright of Urban Books.  This means Urban Books commissioned a professional writer and paid them for writing the book. Also the writer gets no credit in the book. All publishers do it from time to time. They may give the writer a storyline, characters and a word count. Street Soldier 2 was well written but it just wasn't exciting any more. Maybe I'd just grown up.


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