Dan Charnas presents his new book, The Big Payback: The History of the Business of Hip-Hop. Charnas takes us from the first "rapping DJ" in 1970s New York, through the secret histories of Sugar Hill Records and Grandmaster Flash, the marketing of gangsta rap, and the rise of artist/ entrepreneurs like Jay-Z and Sean "Diddy" Combs.
Dan Charnas -- journalist, screenwriter, record producer, teacher -- was one of the first writers for The Source and part of a generation of young writers who helped create hip-hop journalism.
Charnas penned cover stories, features, reviews and columns for a variety of publications on artists like L.L. Cool J, Ice Cube, A Tribe Called Quest, N.W.A. and Public Enemy.
Currently, Charnas writes about culture, race, and politics for a number of publications, including the Washington Post and the New York Press. His writing has also appreared in the Chicago Tribune, the Austin American Statesman and dozens of other newspapers.
Charnas is a graduate of Boston University. His thesis, 'Musical Apartheid In America,' examined white America's 400-year-long relationship of ambivalence to Black culture; the legacy of racial segregation in the music industry; and the potential of hip-hop in resolving that ambivalence, transforming the industry and the entire culture.
Charnas received his Master's degree from Columbia University's Graduate School of Journalism, where he won a Pulitzer Traveling Fellowship, the school's top honor. Charnas was also awarded the Lynton Fellowship for Book Writing, and the Sackett Graduate Award.
His book, The Big Payback: The History of the Business of Hip-Hop, is the epic, 40-year narrative of the executives, entrepreneurs, hustlers and handlers who turned rap music into the world's predominant pop culture. Culled from over 300 interviews with top industry figures and artists, and nearly a decade of research, The Big Payback was published by New American Library/Penguin in 2010.
Dan Charnas, author of The Big Payback: The History of the Business of Hip-Hop, argues that hip-hop "desegregated American pop culture and the American music business." Charnas explains the rarity of seeing black artists on the pop charts in the late 1970s and early 1980s. "By contrast, just before President Obama got elected, every single artist on the top ten list was black," explains Charnas.