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Publisher Description

“Kanye West Owes Me $300 might be the funniest rap memoir ever.” –LA Weekly

After Vanilla Ice, but before Eminem, there was "Hot Karl," the Jewish kid from the L.A. suburbs who became a rap battling legend—and then almost became a star.

When 12-year old Jensen Karp got his first taste of rapping for crowds at his friend's bar mitzvah in 1991, little did he know that he was taking his first step on a crazy journey—one that would end with a failed million-dollar recording and publishing deal with Interscope Records when he was only 19. Now, in Kanye West Owes Me $300, Karp finally tells the true story of his wild ride as "Hot Karl," the most famous white rapper you've never heard of. 

On his way to (almost) celebrity, Jensen shares his childhood run-ins with rock-listening, southern California classmates, who tell him that "rap is for black people," and then recounts his record-breaking rap battling streak on popular radio contest “The Roll Call”—a run that caught the eye of a music industry hungry for new rap voices in the early ‘00s. He also introduces his rap partner, Rickye, who constitutes the second half of their group XTra Large; his supportive mom, who performs with him onstage; and the soon-to-be-household-name artists he records with, including Kanye West, Redman, Fabolous, Mya, and will.i.am. Finally, he reveals why his album never saw the light of day (two words: Slim Shady), the downward spiral he suffered after, and what he found instead of rap glory. 

Full of rollicking stories from his close brush with fame, Karp’s hilarious memoir is the ultimate fish-out-of-water story about a guy who follows an unlikely passion—trying to crack the rap game—despite what everyone else says. It’s 30 Rock for the rap set; 8 Mile for the suburbs; and quite the journey for a white kid from the valley.

Biographies & Memoirs
Jensen Karp
hr min
June 7
Random House Audio

Customer Reviews

Brosuffs ,

Kanye West Owes Me 15 Tubmans provides a rare perspective on the industry in the late '90s

After reading the book (great to binge in a sitting or two), and as an avid bunhead, I felt obliged to pick up the Audiobook to hear the familiar voice from the Get Up On This podcast tell his story. Pick it up.

Goldgluv2001 ,

"Used to be dope but got dropped by inter scope"

Please do not purchase this book. I gave it a shot thinking it would be interesting and it ended being a sap story about a never was. Couple funny lines and clever thoughts but for the most part missed the mark on a compelling story.

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