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Life and Def: Sex, Drugs, Money, and God

Posted Apr 1 2006

In spite of the title and the fact that Simmons is a key figure responsible for hip-hop’s growth, this book is rather bland.

In spite of the title and the fact that Simmons is a key figure responsible for hip-hop’s growth, this book is rather bland. Simmons weaves his personal life with his professional life in his storytelling, but doesn’t really delve into either one enough to make it interesting. Whether it be details about his business ventures or particulars about his new commitment to social justice, this book would have done well to move beyond the surface and really get into Simmons’ head. He does bring up some interesting conflicts he’s had with others behind the scenes, but for the most part, the book comes off as a promotional piece for him, Def Jam, Phat Farm, and his various ventures. Considering that well-respected author/activist Nelson George co-wrote this book, it’s surprising that this book is so shallow. There’s no denying that Simmons’ contributions to hip hop are unparalleled, but maybe focusing on a few key elements of his career, rather than listing all of his accomplishments would’ve helped this book move beyond mediocrity.

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