Reverse-Gentrification of the Literary World

Akashic Books

||| |||

Catalog » Browse by Title: P » The Plot Against Hip Hop

The Plot Against Hip Hop


A bad-ass noir novel set in hip hop culture, by best-selling and critically-acclaimed author Nelson George.

$15.95 $11.96

Available as an e-book for:

What people are saying…

Finalist for the 2012 NAACP Image Award in Literature

“George is an ace at interlacing the real dramas of the world . . . the book’s slim length and flyweight depth could make it an artifact of this particular zeitgeist in American history. Playas and haters and celebrity cameos fuel a novel that is wickedly entertaining while being frozen in time.”
Kirkus Reviews

“This hard-boiled tale is jazzed up with authentic street slang and name-dropping (Biggie, Mary J. Blige, Lil Wayne, and Chuck D) . . . George’s tightly packaged mystery pivots on a believable conspiracy . . . and his street cred shines in his descriptions of Harlem and Brownsville’s mean streets.”
Library Journal

“George is a well-known, respected hip-hop chronicler . . . Now he adds crime fiction to his resume with a carefully plotted crime novel peopled by believable characters and real-life hip-hop personalities.”

“George’s prose sparkles with an effortless humanity, bringing his characters to life in a way that seems true and beautiful. The story—and the conspiracy behind it—is one we all need to hear as consumers and creators in the post-hardcore hip-hop world.”
Shelf Awareness

“Part procedural murder mystery, part conspiracy-theory manifesto, Nelson George’s The Plot Against Hip Hop reads like the PTSD fever dream of a renegade who’s done several tours of duty in the trenches . . . Plot‘s combination of record-biz knowledge and ghetto fabulosity could have been written only by venerable music journalist Nelson George, who knows his hip-hop history . . . The writing is as New York as ‘Empire State of Mind,’ and D is a detective compelling enough to anchor a series.”
Time Out New York

“A breakbeat detective story . . . George invents as much as he curates, as outlandish conspiracy theories clash with real-life figures. But what makes the book such a fascinating read is its simultaneous strict adherence to hip-hop’s archetypes and tropes while candidly acknowledging the absurdity of the music’s current big-business era. There’s a late-capitalism logic at work here. If this book had been written in the early ’90s, it would have been about the insurgent artistry of hip-hop musicians and the social-justice strides the genre was effecting. Today, it’s a procedural about the death of principles.”
Time Out Chicago

“Like good hip hop, there is social commentary and a blurring of the lines between great storytelling and all-to-real happenings. The Plot Against Hip Hop reads almost like Thomas Pynchon’s Inherent Vice, but in the world of rap music. Brilliant prose, vast conspiracy, (at times) borderline trippy narrative. If you love crime fiction and you love hip hop, this book is a must read.”
BookRiot, one of 7 Indie Horror, Mystery, and Crime Novels for Music Lovers

The Plot Against Hip Hop is a quick-moving murder mystery that educates its audience on Hip Hop’s pioneer generation along the way . . . it is a nostalgic look at a magical and manic moment in time.”
New York Journal of Books

“George very masterfully has created a novel that informs as well as entertains.”
Huffington Post

“A welcome nostalgic trip.”
Chicago Tribune

“Nelson George comes from an older generation that still remembers Hip Hop as the vital and dangerous voice it once was. This feeling for the past carries throughout the novel, and manages to convey the weight and importance of this profound shift in values without being nostalgic . . . The Plot Against Hip Hop is a fine piece of ‘edutainment’—both exciting and thought provoking . . . it’s great to finally have a novel about Hip Hop written by one of [its] original documentary journalists.”
ABORT Magazine

“One of our coolest cultural critics has written a mystery page-turner about the underbelly of hip hop, and it’s woven with signature whip-smart insights into music. Nelson George’s smooth security-guard-turned-detective, a.k.a. D, scours a demimonde as glamorous as Chandler’s Los Angeles. This plot has more twists and turns than a pole dancer, and D definitely needs an encore—he’s destined to become a classic.”
—Mary Karr, author of The Liars’ Club

“There are few people who can put the past seventy years of urban reality into the perspective of the most recent hip minute like Nelson George. The Plot Against Hip Hop is no exception. Nelson George braids actual facts and fictional characters flawlessly into a time-tunneled walk along various developments in this now-megabusiness called hip hop. For those that say they love hip hop as well as the total legacy it evolved from, it bodes well for them to keep this very close to their head, heart, and attention.”
—Chuck D, Public Enemy

“Nelson George is one of my greatest influences as a writer . . . He inspired me in many ways, and he continues to inspire with The Plot Against Hip Hop.”
—Talib Kweli

“The most accomplished black music critic of his generation.”
Washington Post Book World

Praise for Nelson George:

“Perhaps one of the seven greatest books ever written. It has the realness of The Autobiography of Malcolm X, the warmth of The Color Purple, and the page count of Tuesdays with Morrie. It’s a must read.”
—Chris Rock, on City Kid

“Reads like a hip-hop answer to Nick Hornby’s High Fidelity.”
New York Times, on One Woman Short


The Plot Against Hip Hop is a noir novel set in the world of hip hop culture. The stabbing murder of esteemed music critic Dwayne Robinson in a Soho office building is dismissed by the NYPD as a gang initiation. But his old friend, bodyguard/security expert D Hunter, suspects there’s much more to his death. An old cassette tape, the theft of a manuscript Robinson was working on, and some veiled threats suggest there are larger forces at work.

D Hunter’s investigation into his mentor’s murder leads into a parallel history of hip hop, a place where renegade government agents, behind-the-scenes power brokers, and paranoid journalists know a truth that only a few hardcore fans suspect. This rewrite of hip hop history mixes real-life figures including Jay-Z, Kanye West, and Russell Simmons with characters pulled from the culture’s hidden world, such as the Illuminati, FBI agents, and West Coast gangstas that roam the hard streets D Hunter walks down.

D Hunter is a tough, black-clad product of crime-ridden Brownsville, Brooklyn, a man whose family has been devastated by violence and who has dedicated himself to protecting people in an age of insecurity. Hunter has his own secrets, his own vulnerabilities, which he fights to overcome as he becomes a reluctant private eye. After reading The Plot Against Hip Hop, you’ll never hear the music the same way.

View the book trailer for The Plot Against Hip Hop:

Book Details

  • Paperback: 220 pages
  • Published: 11/1/11
  • IBSN: 9781617750243
  • e-IBSN: 9781617750823


NELSON GEORGE is an author, filmmaker, and lifelong resident of Brooklyn. His books include the first four novels in his D Hunter mystery series: The Accidental Hunter, The Plot Against Hip Hop, The Lost Treasures of R&B, and To Funk and Die in LA, all available from Akashic Books. Among his many nonfiction works are The Death of Rhythm & Blues, Hip Hop America, and The Hippest Trip in America: Soul Train and the Evolution of Culture & Style. As a filmmaker he has directed the documentaries Brooklyn Boheme, Finding the Funk, and A Ballerina’s Tale. He was also a writer/producer on the Netflix series The Get Down. The Darkest Hearts is his latest novel.

More info »