After the Beastie Boys and Vanilla Ice, but before Eminem, there was “Hot Karl,” the Jewish kid from the LA suburbs who became a rap battling legend—and then almost became a star
When twelve-year-old Jensen Karp got his first taste of rapping for crowds at his friend’s Bat Mitzvah in 1991, little did he know that he was taking his first step on a crazy journey—one that would end with a failed million dollar recording and publishing deal with Interscope Records when he was only nineteen. In Kanye West Owes Me $300, Jensen will finally tell the true story of his wild ride as “Hot Karl,” the most famous Jewish rapper you’ve never heard of.
Along the way, we’ll see Jensen’s struggles with his ska- and rock-listening southern California classmates, who tell him that “rap is for black people”; his record-breaking rap battling streak on popular radio show Roll Call; his rise in the LA club scene; and the double life he leads the whole time. We’ll also meet his supportive mother (who takes him to clubs and announces him at gigs); his rap partner Rickye (an African American kid who formed the other half of their group, XTra Large); and the performers he recorded with, including soon-to-be household names Kanye West, Redman, Fabolous, Mya, Will.i.am; and then we’ll enjoy rollicking stories of sex, drugs, and hip hop from his close brush with fame. Finally, we’ll learn why his album never saw the light of day (two words: Slim Shady), his downward spiral after, and what Jensen found instead of rap glory.
This hilarious memoir will be perfect for the person who reads Rap Genius, impresses friends with “Nuthin’ But a G Thang” or “California Love” at karaoke, watches “Epic Rap Battles of History” videos, and perhaps bought Jeff Chang’s Can’t Stop, Won’t Stop and RZA’s The Tao of Wu. But this book also has a broader appeal as a quirky, fish-out-of-water memoir about a guy who follows an unlikely passion, despite what everyone else says. It’s 8 Mile for the pitch perfect crowd. Download and start listening now!