"A classic of music business dirt-digging as well as a kind of pulp epic."
-Rolling Stone (4-star review)
"As gripping and dense as a prime Jay-Z rhyme...Charnas has done a real service to pop history."
-New York Daily News
"Essential...The Big Payback focuses not on the beefs you know but on the back-room battles you don't."
"[An] exhaustive, engrossing history of the genre"
"In a year that has seen plenty of hip-hop books, The Big Payback stands out as a must-read for any fan - or detractor - of the genre."
"The riveting dialogue culled from more than 300 interviews makes it seem as if Charnas was in the room for every deal that ever went down in hip-hop, and sometimes he was."
"Dan Charnas captures an epic story full of joy and pain, triumph and failure, grace and greed with the skills of a journalist, the wisdom of an insider, and the passion of a microphone fiend. Call The Big Payback a hip-hop version of David Halberstam's The Reckoning."
-Jeff Chang, author, Can't Stop Won't Stop: A History of the Hip-Hop Generation
"With an insider's connections and an outsider's perspective, Dan Charnas has written the otherwise untold story of the business of hip-hop. His cast of characters -- producers, agents, label executives, talent scouts -- is every bit as compelling and dramatic as the musicians themselves. In the tradition of such great music journalists as Fred Goodman and Frederic Dannen, Charnas takes us way behind the scenes. It's an unforgettable odyssey."
-Samuel G. Freedman, New York Times columnist and author of Upon This Rock, Who She Was, and Jew vs. Jew
"The Big Payback is a stunning achievement. Not only does it manage to pack in countless unprecedented anecdotes about hip-hop that you can't find anywhere else, the read is effortlessly smooth. First there was David Toop's Rap Attack, Ego-Trip's Book of Rap Lists, then Jeff Chang's Can't Stop, Won't Stop, and now this book, the one ring that rules them all."
-Cheo H. Coker, co-screenwriter of Notorious and author of Unbelievable: The Life, Death, and Afterlife of the Notorious B.I.G.
"How did hip hop's shoot-from-the-lip outlaws and go-for-broke gamblers become the entertainment industry's new landed gentry? Dan Charnas brings a fan's devotion, an industry insider's savvy, and a reporter's unblinking eye to chronicling a cultural revolution that is as contradictory and complex as the country that produced it. Payback is a bitch."
-Fred Goodman, author of Fortune's Fool and The Mansion on the Hill
About the Author
DAN CHARNAS scouted talent and promoted records for the seminal rap label, Profile, and was Vice President of A&R for Rick Rubin’s Def American Recordings. His writing has appeared in the Washington Post, the Chicago Tribune, and the Village Voice. Charnas holds a master’s degree from the Columbia Graduate School of Journalism, and was awarded a Pulitzer Prize Fellowship. This is his first book.