PERFORMING ARTS

Hurricanes: A Memoir

Hanover Square: Harlequin. Sept. 2019. 288p. ISBN 9781335999283. $27.99; ebk. ISBN 9781488053634. MUSIC
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No one can accuse William Leonard Roberts II of living an uninteresting life, and his appropriately titled memoir is one wild ride. Under the name Rick Ross (taken from drug kingpin “Freeway” Rick Ross), the hip-hop star has achieved chart success, fame, notoriety, and personal wealth, all of which is explored in great detail in this account cowritten with Martinez-Belkin (coauthor, The Autobiography of Gucci Mane). Ross has fiercely crafted his persona, to the point in which he was caught denying—despite ample evidence to the contrary—his work as a corrections officer, just one of many episodes addressed here. At times the boasting and self-justification threaten to overwhelm the story, but there is sufficient description of the creation of Ross’s recordings and collaborations to provide a fascinating window into the contemporary rap music scene. Considering that the author has “the gift of foresight,” it’s particularly fascinating to see the choices he’s made, the accomplishments he’s had, and the legacy he’s creating.
VERDICT A roller-coaster ride. Fans of Ross’s work as well as his music-making projects with some of hip-hop’s most acclaimed artists will race through this one.

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