Shea Serrano is a music writer for various websites, the author behind Bun B's Rap Coloring And Activity Book, and the perfect candidate for our Read Your Heart Out series here on the blog. For this series, we've been reaching out to some of our favorite people to ask for themed book suggestions that we then make available for you to purchase online. Easy! What better way to get to know some authors you might have overlooked?
For our first installment, and in honor of his Rap Coloring And Activity Book, we asked Shea to recommend some of his favorite books about music. Here's what he picked. —Katie
Mo' Meta Blues: The World According To Questlove
"This is probably this year’s most enjoyable music nerd book to read if you are a music nerd. Questlove is great and super charming and he tells a bunch of great stories and I really can’t think of too many ways that this book could be better. I joked with him on Twitter that our only goal was to sell more copies of our book than he did of this one (because his is fairly new and so is ours). I think he maybe sold, like, 60 million copies already though, so I’m not sure if we can catch him anymore."
Love Is A Mix Tape: Life And Loss, One Song At A Time
"Oh man. This one is just heartbreaking to read. It’s about Mr. Sheffield and the sudden death of his wife and how everything changed after that and it really is just a remarkable thing. I’m lucky enough to be married to a woman that I love desperately and so I couldn’t help but put myself in his spot while reading this and, I mean, I don’t even know. It’s just brutal. You have to read it. And then you have to tell other people to read it."
Dirty South: Outkast Lil Wayne, Soulja Boy, And The Southern Rappers Who Reinvented Hip-Hop
"I picked this one in part because I am mentioned in it, and that’s definitely the easiest way to get me to say that your book is good, but mostly I picked it because it’s a recap of the rise of southern rap but it’s written around a bunch of enjoyable, well-written anecdotes. The author, Ben Westhoff, drove around the bottom of the United States and met up with rappers and hung out with them and then wrote about it and that’s the sort of thing that’s always interesting to me. It never seems like enough people are doing proper reporting."
Ego Trip's Book Of Rap Lists
"I’d once considered doing a book of rap lists but then I found this one and was like, “Well there goes that idea.” This is a lot of fun to read. I’m hoping that they do a new version again soon."