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Triksta
Life and Death and New Orleans Rap
Written by Nik Cohn

Triksta
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Category: Music - Rap
Imprint: Vintage
Format: Trade Paperback
Pub Date: April 2007
Price: $13.95
Can. Price: $17.95
ISBN: 978-1-4000-7706-9 (1-4000-7706-0)
Pages: 256
Also available as an eBook.



 
In Triksta, a masterful observer of movements that emerge from dark corners to become worldwide phenomena—early rock ’n’ roll and “Saturday Night Fever,” to name but two—gives us a mesmerizing account of a city, its music, and a way of life that often embraces death.

Nik Cohn’s love of hip-hop goes back to its beginnings, and his love of New Orleans even further, to when he passed through on tour with The Who and discovered a place whose magic has never failed to seize him. As a white, foreign-born writer without money or bling, he would seem the least likely rap impresario imaginable, yet he plunges into this violent and poverty-ravaged world as a would-be producer. His passionate involvement with the music and the people who make it leads him through a New Orleans—wards, clubs, and projects—hidden from anyone not born to it: a journey into the heart of the hip-hop dream. En route, he immerses us in lives we scarcely think about, and then only with ignorance and fear, lives at once desperate, heroic, and endlessly enterprising as these men and women driven by talent and passion struggle to survive. Cohn captures a music that’s hugely popular but rarely understood, and with transcendent humanity he reveals this beloved city in all its tragic beauty.

"Rich . . . Poignant . . . Triksta is less about nostalgia for the past than engagement with the city's present (or what it had been until August), and how the rap-game players he meets there--to use hip-hop parlance--roll . . . He captures the game's street-level desperation [and] tells their stories in an energetic, empathetic shorthand [that is] infused with love and respect . . . A very good book." —Will Hermes, The New York Times Book Review

"A rowdy celebration of the anti-tourist Crescent City, a town of falling-apart projects where every block has its own nascent rap label and promising young stars fall victim to violence—or apathy . . . Painting a portrait of himself as an "Anglo-Irish Russian German South African Jew" and outsider, [Cohn] captures with vivid strokes a gallery of other characters: an entire universe of strivers and dreamers celebrating the very same ghetto life they were fighting to escape. A unique and intoxicating blend of personal and urban history, music-biz thrill ride and unintentional elegy for a way of life now wiped from the earth." —Kirkus


"A British rock journalist based in New York, Cohn artfully chronicles his recent infatuation with New Orleans's rap scene . . . He immerses himself in this Southern gangsta hybrid [and] gains a mark of authenticity from the musicians and even works as a well-meaning talent scout for DreamWorks (the rappers call it DreamShit) . . . This heart-heavy patchwork proves especially elegiac in Katrina's catastrophic wake." —Publishers Weekly


"Cohn's journey through the world of teenage rappers, rickety studios, and crumbling housing projects is a human and fascinating view of a culture that isn't widely known . . . A heavyhearted memorial." —Michael Endelman, Entertainment Weekly


"Mr. Cohn is a natural memoirist, adept at braiding his own story into bigger events . . . But [Triksta] is in equal measure about New Orleans hip-hop—bounce, as it was locally known—and may be the only such in-depth look at the other New Orleans musical culture, the one that has been largely overlooked in the months since Katrina." —Ben Ratliff, New York Times


"Evocative . . . a rare glimpse inside an inscrutable American city and an inadvertent elegy to it . . . The story winds through the clubs, the parties, the backroom studios, offering a guided tour of the impoverished wards that would be hit hardest after Hurricane Katrina . . . Cohn is a venerable cultural witness, [and] he nails New Orleans, this strange outpost, a place like nowhere else on the planet." —Lynell George, Los Angeles Times Book Review


"A fine book . . . Cohn is a lovely writer, and there are priceless scenes on knackered studio couches and sagging porches as 'Nik da Trik,' fedora jammed defiantly on his Lear-like head, buggers about in the turgid undercurrents of New Orleans rap." —James Parker, Boston Phoenix

"Compelling . . . Triksta give a face and a voice to the people of
New Orleans." —Deirdre Donahue, USA Today



ABOUT THE AUTHOR

 
Nik Cohn is the author of six previous books, as well as two collaborations with the artist Guy Peellaert. He was born in London, raised in Northern Ireland, and now lives on Shelter Island, New York.





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