Dan Charnas Decodes Jay-Z and Reveals Hip-Hop Tragedies In “The Big Payback” Video Series

The Big Payback: The History of the Business of Hip-Hop by Dan Charnas

Dan Charnas, author of The Big Payback:
The History of the Business of Hip-Hop
has launched a companion video series to accompany
the critically acclaimed new book.

Dan Charnas

View the First Installments of the Nine Videos

· Jay-Z, Really Decoded
· 5 Hip-Hop Business Tragedies
· A Controversial Moment: Russell Simmons vs. Quincy Jones
· A Controversial Moment: Cash Money vs. Wendy Day
· What’s Alexander Hamilton Got To Do With Hip-Hop?
· Why I Wrote The Big Payback
Coming Soon:
· 5 Biggest Hip-Hop Deals
· The Future of Hip-Hop

Meanwhile, The Big Payback continues to

generate great reviews and accolades:


“A constant revelation. Every page is loaded with fresh, acutely detailed, great stories

delivered in bite-size, and Charnas’ snappy pace makes getting through its 650-some

pages a pleasure.”  — Onion A/V Club


“Charnas’ epic account of the music’s rise from Bronx parks to Wall Street is

gripping, stylish, impossible to put down” —Flavorpill


“Hands-down, one of the best books ever written about hip-hop…

The level of reporting is staggering.” —Oliver Wang, SoulSides


Check out Dan’s radio appearances on NPR here:

Fresh Air

All Things Considered

“A classic of music business dirt-digging… a pulp epic” –-Rolling Stone

“Focuses not on the beefs you know but on the back-room battles you don’t.” –Details
“As gripping and dense as a prime Jay-Z rhyme” –New York Daily News
“Pultzer-level reporting” –-Spin Magazine

Pick up THE BIG PAYBACK today at Amazon.com, Borders.com, Barnes & Noble, IndieBound.org and fine bookstores everywhere!

The Big Payback by Dan Charnas

How did street music from the
South Bronx and Harlem evolve
over forty years into a
multi-billion dollar global industry?
It wasn’t an accident.
In The Big Payback, Dan Charnas chronicles the volatile history of the rap industry through its key players-hungry hustlers, innovative entrepreneurs, visionary handlers, and shrewd executives who had the business acumen to take the music of a marginal urban subculture and transform it into a mainstream pop culture phenomenon.
Spanning an epic forty years-1968 to 2008-from the early long-shot successes of Sugar Hill Records and Grand Master Flash & the Furious Five to Run DMC’s crossover breakthrough on MTV to the marketing of Gangsta Rap and the rise of stars like Jay-Z and Sean Combs, who head multimillion-dollar businesses, The Big Payback is a raw, real blow-by-blow tale of inspiration and treachery-of how hip-hop records got made and marketed, how the deals were done, and who won and lost in this epic struggle.
Focusing on successful marketing strategies-from the branding of hip-hop artists by labels like Profile and Def Jam to the key management choices that broke through the color barrier on radio and MTV, Charnas provides an insider’s analysis of what has allowed Rap to not only endure but dominate. Culled from more than three hundred revealing interviews with key industry players like Russell Simmons, Rick Rubin, Warner Records executive Lyor Cohen, and more, The Big Payback is both a fascinating narrative and a provocative primer on hip-hop ‘s compelling paradigm for business success in a new, multicultural America.
For more info, please visit:
Over 300 Interviewed + Sources!
About the Author: Dan Charnas

The Big Payback Is available through Amazon, Borders, Barnes & Noble & fine bookstores worldwide

by Dan Charnas

The first definitive history of the business side of hip-hop, the stories of the executives, entrepreneurs and hustlers who fought through the resistance to turn Rap from a streetcorner phenomenon into a multi-billion-dollar industry.


Over 300 Interviewed + Sources!



About the Author: Dan Charnas



Just some of the interesting facts revealed in the THE BIG PAYBACK!


For A Brief Time, Lyor Cohen Owned Half Of The Source

After the founding editors of The Source magazine walked out in a dispute with publisher Dave Mays, a friend stepped in to negotiate on their behalf. But what Lyor Cohen ended up doing was not the act of a friend…

The Big Payback: pages 472-473


New York’s Hot 97 Was Not

The First Pop Station Where Hip-Hop Lived

In 1994, Hot 97 became the first pop station in New York to feature a hip-hop format. But they weren’t the first large pop station in the country to do so, and they didn’t even invent the slogan that they made famous…The Big Payback: pages 341-344


Cash Money Records Stiffed The Woman Who Got Them Their Landmark Deal

Wendy Day worked for free for the better part of a decade, helping rap artists out of bad deals and helping them negotiate good ones. But the first time she charged a fee, she got stiffed. And that’s when things got complicated…

The Big Payback: pages 522-528


Eminem Refused To Betray His Original Producers After Signing With Dr. Dre

The Bass Brothers shepherded the career of Eminem from his earliest days in Detroit. But when Eminem was offered the deal of a lifetime, he refused to leave his old partners in the dust…

The Big Payback: pages 521-522


Damon Dash Founded

Rocawear For Spite

Some people are crushed by rejection, and others motivated by it. Damon Dash founded Rocawear when a well known clothing company rejected his client Jay-Z’s endorsement offer. Of course, Rocawear now dwarfs that other company…

The Big Payback: page 598


L.L. Cool J.’s “Going Back To Cali” Is Not About L.L. Cool J.

The title for the landmark song from 1987’s Less Than Zero soundtrack was suggested by the song’s producer, Rick Rubin, and had a very personal meaning for him…

The Big Payback: pages 188-189


Vibe’s Original Name

Was Not Vibe

The magazine that became Vibe was originally named Volume. But when a British magazine laid claim to the trademark in America, Quincy Jones and crew had to scramble. The new name was suggested by the same person who gave Sean Combs his first shot at stardom. The Big Payback: pages 454-458


Fab 5 Freddy’s Name

Is A Mistake

Young artist-provocateur Fred Brathwaite’s graffiti “tag” was “FRED FAB 5.” But then a very close friend who happened to be a big pop star got it twisted on one of her records…The Big Payback: pages 53-58


The “Bridge Wars” Were

Started By Two Guys Who Hated Hip-Hop

Hip-hop fans and New Yorkers especially remember the battle between Mr. Magic’s Juice Crew and Red Alert’s associates, Boogie Down Productions. But not many people know that the battle between Red Alert and Mr. Magic’s crews was set off by an even more venomous rivalry between two radio programmers: Barry Mayo and Frankie Crocker-both of whom had little love for rap… The Big Payback: pages 81-86, 96-98

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