Rap Capital: An Atlanta Story

S. & S. Oct. 2022. 400p. ISBN 9781982107888. $28.99. MUSIC
In his first book, Coscarelli (culture and music reporter for the New York Times) beautifully describes the push-and-pull magnetic triangle that engulfs rap (specifically trap music, a rap subgenre from the southern U.S.), Atlanta, and generational trauma. Coscarelli’s compelling and insightful book resulted from four years of research, during which he conducted more than 100 interviews and was totally immersed into Atlanta’s rap scene. Atlanta is as central a character as the artists in this narrative, but it’s also the glue that holds it all together—the backdrop against which stories of success, demise, historical wounds, pride, and legal proceedings play out. Coscarelli captures the streets of Atlanta, charts the trajectory of the city’s rappers (including established stars like Migos and Lil Baby, and lesser-known artists like Lil Reek and Marlo), and delves into the quest for a way out of the pain-feeding-pain cycle encompassing some of its neighborhoods. Some of these stories have uplifting endings, while others culminate in untimely loss (incarceration; death), restarting the traumatic loop.
VERDICT Coscarelli’s book is the ideal vehicle to acknowledge Atlanta’s influence on modern-day storytelling through trap and rap music.
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