Kanye West Owes Me $300 & Other True Stories From A White Rapper Who Almost Made It Big by Jensen Karp (2016)

jensen karp kanye large cover

L: 9/10

M: 10/10


Analysis from a chapstick that accidentally went through the dryer:

From a bar mitzvah to a Jamaican wet t-shirt contest breakdown, Jensen Karp’s well-written adventure of almost stardom is such an accessible read. My high (and probably diagnosable) tendency to be easily distracted was muted as I quickly absorbed his bright and breakneck odyssey as a professional rapper. Jensen may have the capability to destroy you in a rap battle, but he can also craft a compelling story.

The bulk of the book deals with a little over a year in his life, after signing a lucrative record deal with Interscope Records and working on a never to be released rap album. Bits and pieces of the album can be found using Mr. Robot like internet scouring, but the songs largely go on unheard. The celebrities that fall in and out of the pages of this book are a polaroid of the late 90’s and early 00’s, making Jensen’s life as much of a time capsule as his buried album. Each chapter was filled with so much nostalgia, that anyone who has an affliction for the TRL days or frequents the 90’s hip hop and r&b radio channels on Apple Music will eat this up.

As a longtime listener to his Get Up On This podcast, I’ve followed Jensen’s post rap career pretty closely. From his articles in Rolling Stone and The Hundreds to his super niche enamel pin company, I’ve found his post-Karl life just as interesting. I hope he finds another book’s outlet, although a work of fiction may be less interesting than his actual life encounters.

Analysis from a lyric whore who has never liked rap before:

Dayyyuuummm, son!! Good pick on this L! I was sold on the title. How could I not want to read more? Then from the first page, he had me. The clever wit and storytelling seem honest and vulnerable. There is enough name dropping to make you feel like you’re on the inside track, but he does keep it classy. (If anyone knows which Hollywood hussie gave him the stank eye, that would be cool.) I honestly have nothing negative to say. If you read, then get it. If you’re not into this scene, then all more reason! Jensen writes with the perfect balance of ego and humility. Clearly, he has an edge to take down his competition with some pretty sharp rhetoric, but enough decency to know he can’t ruin another rapper’s career. Getting a glimpse into this short period of his life makes you long for the rest of the story. Though I can’t judge his rapping game, it read well. I realize handing out a 10 makes me seem like a soft critic, but it’s well deserved. I didn’t want the book to end and am now obsessed with the author. What more could you want in a book?


jensen black white

 Jensen Karp

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