Read A Book: J Cole, Ice Cube & Other MCs Share Their Favorite Literary Works

Rapper J. Cole Talks His New Full-Length LP '2014 Forest Hills Drive' In Conversation With Frannie Kelley & Ali Shaheed Muhammad On NPR's Microphone Check.


Hip-hop’s love affair with the literary arts is well documented, from Nas‘s voracious reading during his teenage years to Tupac‘s life-long appreciation of poetry and Shakespearian drama. Now, GQ has asked some of today’s most well-established MCs to share their must-read lists of beloved books. A$AP Rocky, J Cole, Ice Cube, Childish Gambino and more all participated in the story, which featured plenty of wordy surprises.

J Cole:

Eye Of The Hurricane by Rubin Carter. I never saw the movie with Denzel Washington, but the book [on which it is based] is incredible. It’s about a boxer who is a hometown hero in New Jersey because he went to juvie, then the army, made it big as a pro and then was wrongly accused of a triple murder. It’s kind of inspiring – and it makes me think, ‘Man, what have I really done?’

A$AP Rocky:

I love Harry Potter and JK Rowling – don’t laugh at me! Either The Sorcerer’s Stone, The Chamber Of Secrets, The Prisoner Of Azkaban, The Goblet Of Fire or The Half-Blood Prince. I’m the biggest Harry Potter fan in the f***ing world. Does that freak you out? You’ve gotta be yourself. I love Harry Potter and JK Rowling – don’t laugh at me!

Ice Cube:

Quincy Jones‘ autobiography Q is very good. Because he’s a master at music, he’s one of our greatest composers and its good for him to have a book and tell the good ole days when he was with Duke Ellington, Count Basie, Sarah Vaughan and Ray Charles. The reason he got to work with so many people was because he was one of the few musicians around who could write out the arrangements. He was in everybody’s session. He learned so much.

Childish Gambino:

I have an obsession with books about kids with Asperger’s syndrome. I like the way they think – it suits me. The Curious Incident Of The Dog In The Night-Time by Mark Haddon is great. That and [Jonathan Safran Foer‘s] Extremely Loud And Incredibly Close – they’re on a separate bookshelf. They don’t understand what the other books are saying by their facial expressions, but they’re perfectly lined-up.

Other MCs featured in GQ’s piece include Azealia Banks, Kreayshawn, Trey Songz and more. Read the full literary roundup here.

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