Required Reading: Books By Rappers

Here at Flavorpill, we’re eagerly anticipating the release of Jay-Z’s memoir, Decoded, which comes out November 16th and promises to be, at the least, a lively read. But though Hova’s autobiography may be the most anticipated rapper-penned book of the year, it’s hardly the first one worth reading. From the RZA’s musings on philosophy and kung fu to Chuck D’s explanation of the racial politics of rap, there’s a surprising range of literary offerings from hip-hop stars. To tide you over for the next few weeks, we offer this curated bookshelf full of scintillating, intellectually stimulating, and just plain great books by rappers.

The Tao of Wu by The RZA

Part memoir, part compilation of kung-fu movie quotes, and part spiritual advice, The Tao of Wu is full of weird, interesting nuggets from the mythology of the Wu-Tang Clan, as well as an extended analysis of what wisdom means. There’s a story of the RZA rescuing Method Man from a haywire drug deal nestled in with chess tips and passages from scripture. It’s a fascinating document, and a look at the innards of the kind of hip-hop spirituality that the RZA has constructed through his albums and public statements.