After a Brooklyn teen is murdered, his sister and best friends set out to launch his rap career.
Stephon “Steph” Davis could’ve been one of the hottest emcees to come out of Brooklyn, just like his inspiration and fellow Bed-Stuy rapper, the Notorious B.I.G. Unfortunately, like Biggie, Steph was murdered. His grieving best friends, Quadir and Jarrell, discover a treasure trove of tapes and CDs of Steph’s music in his bedroom. With the help of Jasmine, his socially conscious sister, Quadir and Jarrell hatch a plan to promote Steph’s music. With lyrical finesse (penned for the novel by Sharif) and beats that can rock a party, Steph is “killing them while he’s dead.” Soon, Steph’s demo catches the attention of a well-known rep for a major record label who wants to meet hip-hop’s newest rising star. The three teens must keep up the charade while also trying to uncover the truth about his murder. Exceptional storytelling, well-crafted, true-to-life dialogue, and the richly drawn Brooklyn landscape will draw readers into this fast-paced blend of mystery, budding romance, and social commentary. Quadir, Jarrell, and Jasmine are endearing, tenacious, and memorable. Hip-hop lovers of all ages will appreciate this homage to rap legends from a bygone—but not forgotten—era.
Thoroughly engrossing and as infectious as Steph’s lyrics: a testament to the unbreakable bonds of friendship and a love letter to Brooklyn and hip-hop in the late ’90s. (Fiction. 13-18)