• THE BIG PAPERBACK! :: The soft cover of the hardest-hitting hip-hop book is here...
  • PAY IT FORWARD! :: Wear your heartlessness on your sleeve with gifts featuring these outrageous quotes from the book...
  • BOOK OF THE YEAR... :: The Independent UK calls <em>The Big Payback</em> 'the most compelling pop publication of the year.'
Dan Charnas hosts <em>The Big Payback</em> video series
  • WHO SAID THAT? :: 
Take <em>The Big Payback</em> Quote Quiz
  • RAVE REVIEWS! :: Read the latest clips here
  • AND FOR YOUR COFFEE TABLE... :: <em>Def Jam: The First 25 Years Of The Last Great Record Label</em>, coauthored with Bill Adler and Cey Adams...

Latest From The Blog...

Come have a laugh at my expense tonight: I’ll be telling my personal stories from the “Baby Got Back” era tonight at The Soundtrack Series (alongside luminaries like Maura Johnston and Sasha Frere-Jones) at New York City’s Le Poisson Rouge (The Red Fish, for you Freedom Fries folks), 158 Bleecker Street in money makin’ Manhattan.


PICTURED: The “Butt Balloon” makes its street debut in San Francisco, February 1992; and it’s Hollywood debut in the movie “Falling Down” with Michael Douglas.

On Friday, I’ll be heading to SxSW in Austin, Texas for two panels.

Saturday at 11a, Steve Stoute and I will be having a conversation about America’s multiracial future.

And a few hours later, at 1:30p, myself and Tony Cornelius — son of the legendary Don Cornelius — will celebrate the legacy of Soul Train with some moving and incredible clips from the show’s 35 year history.

See you there. Hit me up at @dancharnas on the Twitters. And read a bit of my interview with Chase Hoffberger in the Austin Chronicle here:

“Don’t say multicultural,” Russell Simmons once told journalist Dan Charnas. “Say multiracial. It’s one culture.”

Simmons is partially responsible for the latter point being more true today than it’s ever been. As the founder of pioneering hip-hop label Def Jam Recordings, he played an integral role in black music crossing over into mainstream culture. Think the Beastie Boys, Run-DMC remixing Aerosmith’s “Walk This Way,” or LL Cool J’s premiere on MTV.

Dan Charnas reported on all of it for The Source, the first major-market magazine to exclusively cover hip-hop. Last year, he published the mind-bendingly detailed The Big Payback: The History of the Business of Hip-Hop, a 672-page analysis of every rap deal that made America the colorful society it is today. He knows a thing or two about the power of the crossover.

Read the rest here

Meet Dan

Dan Charnas official author photo 2010Dan Charnas is a veteran of the hip-hop music business. He worked for the seminal rap label Profile Records and for Rick Rubin's Def American Recordings. Dan penned some of the first cover stories for The Source magazine and was part of a generation of young writers who created hip-hop journalism. Discover more about Dan here.

Pay It Forward!

Check out Big Payback products and gifts in our store! Click here to shop.

Who Said That?

Think you know who uttered these words in the pages of The Big Payback? Click here to take the Quote Quiz!

The Big Feedback

Pulitzer-level reporting” —Spin

[An] exhaustive, engrossing history of the genre.”” —Entertainment Weekly

There has never been a better book about hip-hop” —The Onion A.V. Club

Detailed and colorful…a must-read for fans of the music industry” —Los Angeles Times

The most comprehensive journalistic account of hip-hop ever written” —The Boston Phoenix

See collected reviews and raves here

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Visit The Archives


The best of the blog, since 2005.

Minding My Own Business, Part One
Minding My Own Business, Part Two
Minding My Own Business, Part Three

My debut posts, rethinking what it means to write about hip-hop.

Blacks and Jews, Part One
Blacks and Jews, Part Two

An untouchable subject, touched.

White People, Get Over Yourselves
A video reaction to candidate Obama's "race speech"

America's Two Destinies
A marination on the legacy of 9-11

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