Let Me Hear a Rhyme
Let Me Hear a Rhyme
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Annotation: Tells the story of three 1990s Brooklyn teens who plot to turn their murdered friend into a major rap star by pretending he's still alive.
Catalog Number: #183944
Format: Publisher's Hardcover
No other formats available
Publisher: HarperCollins
Copyright Date: 2019
Edition Date: 2019
Pages: 380 pages
Availability: Available
New Title: Yes
ISBN: 0-06-284032-0
ISBN 13: 978-0-06-284032-5
Dewey: Fic
LCCN: 2018968472
Dimensions: 22 cm.
Language: English
Publishers Weekly
Jackson (Monday-s Not Coming) deftly chronicles the timely story of bold young talent gone too soon and the survivors who struggle to keep it alive. The year is 1998 and aspiring teen rap artist Stephon Davis Jr. is dead in Brooklyn, the victim of an apparent street shooting perpetrated by persons unknown. Determined not to let his musical genius die with him, Steph-s heartbroken best friends, Quadir and Jarrell, and his grief-stricken sister, Jasmine, hatch a plan to pretend that Steph is still alive in order to turn him into a rap superstar like his recently slain idol, Biggie Smalls. As Quadir and Jarrell hawk Steph-s posthumous demos (with lyrics written by Malik-16) and a record label rep shows interest in meeting the young artist, an increasingly haunted Jasmine delves into the suspicious circumstances surrounding her brother-s murder. From obscure rap and hip-hop references to invocations of scalding hot combs, Jackson scores a bull-s-eye with her passionate homage to black city life in the late -90s, yet it-s her earnest takes on creativity, love, and loss that are timeless. Ages 13-up. Agent: Natalie Lakosil, Bradford Literary Agency. (May)

Starred Review for Kirkus Reviews
After a Brooklyn teen is murdered, his sister and best friends set out to launch his rap career.Stephon "Steph" Davis could've been one of the hottest emcees to come out of Brooklyn, just like his inspiration and fellow Bed-Stuy rapper, the Notorious B.I.G. Unfortunately, like Biggie, Steph was murdered. His grieving best friends, Quadir and Jarrell, discover a treasure trove of tapes and CDs of Steph's music in his bedroom. With the help of Jasmine, his socially conscious sister, Quadir and Jarrell hatch a plan to promote Steph's music. With lyrical finesse (penned for the novel by Sharif) and beats that can rock a party, Steph is "killing them while he's dead." Soon, Steph's demo catches the attention of a well-known rep for a major record label who wants to meet hip-hop's newest rising star. The three teens must keep up the charade while also trying to uncover the truth about his murder. Exceptional storytelling, well-crafted, true-to-life dialogue, and the richly drawn Brooklyn landscape will draw readers into this fast-paced blend of mystery, budding romance, and social commentary. Quadir, Jarrell, and Jasmine are endearing, tenacious, and memorable. Hip-hop lovers of all ages will appreciate this homage to rap legends from a bygone—but not forgotten—era. Thoroughly engrossing and as infectious as Steph's lyrics: a testament to the unbreakable bonds of friendship and a love letter to Brooklyn and hip-hop in the late '90s. (Fiction. 13-18)
Starred Review ALA Booklist
*Starred Review* Jackson repeatedly proves that she is a titan among her peers, and her latest novel is no exception. It whisks readers away to a 1990s Brooklyn, where hip-hop pulses through life. Quadir, Jarrell, and Stephon are the tightest of friends, and when Stephon is murdered, Quadir and Jarrell refuse to let his stunning talent for words die with him. With the help of Stephon's younger sister, Jasmine, they embark on a mission to elevate their fallen comrade to stardom and gift the world his rhymes. Their plan involves circulating Stephon's music under a new persona they call the Architect, not revealing that the songs are, in fact, posthumous releases. However, the trio doesn't share the same ultimate goal. Quadir and Jarrell want to boost their dead friend to fame and, perhaps, find a way out of the projects, while Jasmine wants to discover who killed her brother. When their scheme takes off, the pressure of keeping their secret mounts, as does danger the nearer they get to the truth behind Stephon's murder. Jackson weaves the three points of view together seamlessly, creating richly drawn and authentically real teens characters. Hip-hop is more than a musical genre; it's a culture and a way of life. Jackson embraces that truth and explores it with uninhibited style in her new novel.
Reading Level: 5.0
Interest Level: 9-12
Lexile: HL610L

In this striking new novel by the critically acclaimed author of Allegedly and Monday’s Not Coming, Tiffany D. Jackson tells the story of three Brooklyn teens who plot to turn their murdered friend into a major rap star by pretending he's still alive.

Brooklyn, 1998. Biggie Smalls was right: Things done changed. But that doesn’t mean that Quadir and Jarrell are cool letting their best friend Steph’s music lie forgotten under his bed after he’s murdered—not when his rhymes could turn any Bed Stuy corner into a party.

With the help of Steph’s younger sister Jasmine, they come up with a plan to promote Steph’s music under a new rap name: the Architect. Soon, everyone wants a piece of him. When his demo catches the attention of a hotheaded music label rep, the trio must prove Steph’s talent from beyond the grave.

As the pressure of keeping their secret grows, Quadir, Jarrell, and Jasmine are forced to confront the truth about what happened to Steph. Only, each has something to hide. And with everything riding on Steph’s fame, they need to decide what they stand for or lose all that they’ve worked so hard to hold on to—including each other.

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