A genre of fiction that usually centers on the dark side of urban life. Largely written by and for the African-American community, Urban Fiction novels commonly include frequent profanity, violence, graphic sex and crime. While often criticized for portraying the “ hood ” or urban “ lifestyle ” as glamorous, many of the novels end on a positive note – often with a plot that involves a moral or ethical dilemma not unlike less graphic novels considered to be “ mainstream. ”
Iceberg Slim Aka Robert Beck August 4, 1918 – April 28, 1992
Pimp Trick Baby Long White Con The Naked Soul Of Iceberg Slim Mama Black Widow Airtight Willie and Me Deathwish Doom Fox
Donald Goines December 15, 1936 – October 21, 1974 Aka Al C. Clark
DopefiendWhoreson Black Gangster Street Players White Man's Justice, Black Man's Grief Black Man's Grief Black Girl Lost Eldorado Red Swamp Man Never Die Alone Crime Partners Death List Cry Revenge Kenyatta's Escape Daddy Cool Kenyatta's Last Hit Inner City Hoodlum
Ice-T releases his debut album Rhyme Pays in 1987, containing (arguably) the first “ gangsta rap ” song – “ 6 n the mornin. ”
“ Once you open an Iceberg Slim book, you ’ re instantly taken into a world of hustlers, pimps, con-artists, and bad, fast women. The stuff I loved! My friends and I felt like we were part of this cult-like underground, ‘ cause they let us in on something real – Iceberg ’ s words. These words had a profound effect on my career and life. ” – Ice-T, introduction to Doom Fox
N.W.A Boogie Down Producti ons Publi c Enem y Too Short Tupac Dr. Dre Snoo p Dogg Onyx Notoriou s B.I.G Raekwon Mob b Deep
“ If Black people kill Black people every day, why not have a week and kill white people? ” - Sister Souljah, 1992. Those words are "filled with the kind of hatred that you do not honor today. “ – Bill Clinton, in response to Sister Souljah ’ s comments regarding the 1992 Riots in Los Angeles. Sister Souljah
The Coldest Winter Ever and True to the Game, both published in 1999, are widely considered responsible for the renewed popularity in Urban Fiction today.1999
An Overview of Modern Urban Fiction Often referred to as street lit, hip-hop books, black pulp fiction, ghetto lit/ghetto books, gangsta lit The average protagonist is an African-American female between the ages of 15 and 25 Common subjects featured in urban fiction: abortion, crime, premarital sex, incarceration, violence, murder, rape, abuse, pregnancy, drugs Written in first person, non-standard English, prominently featuring the use of slang and frequent profanity. Money and sex are most often the means used by the female protagonist in order to gain power and dominate others. Most of the more popular titles are actually “cautionary tales,” as the protagonist learns from his/her experiences or mistakes and offers words of advice for readers.
Readers of Urban Fiction The average reader is female, African-American, between the ages of 15 and 30. Readers come from a wide range of socioeconomic backgrounds – the audience is not limited to poor/working class communities (which most of the stories focus on. ) The novels seem to satisfy a natural curiosity for taboo subjects – drug use, sex, sensuality, and abuse. The subject matter can also inform readers on issues such as love, relationships and escape from traditional gender roles. May provide the reader a more “honest” depiction of the African-American female, as opposed to stereotypical roles in traditional media.
Popular authors T.N. Baker Tracy Brown Chunichi Wahida Clark Eric Jerome Dickey Keisha Ervin Nina Foxx Shannon Holmes La Jill Hunt Brenda Jackson Jihad Solomon Jones Dwayne S. Joseph K'wan Thomas Long Victor L. Martin Noire Gary Phillips Daaimah S. Poole Sister Souljah Vicki Stringer Nikki Turner Omar Tyree Carl Weber Tu-Shonda Whitaker KaShamba Williams Teri Woods Zane
Publishers Triple Crown Publications Macavelli Press Q-Boro Books Ghetto Heat Kensington Books Dafina Simon and Schuster’s Strebor line Melodrama Publishing St. Martin’s Griffin Imprint Urban Books Press Cartel Publications Gorilla Convict Publications Wahida Clark Publishing
A “ starter-Kit ” Collection of titles Brown, Tracy (2003). Black: A street tale. Brown, Tracy (2007). White lines. Goines, Donald. (anything by) Holmes, Shannon (2003). B-more careful Holmes, Shannon (2007). Dirty Game. Jones, Solomon (2001). Pipe dream King, Deja (2005). Bitch K'wan (2003). Gangsta: An urban tragedy. (and anything else by K'wan) Slim, Iceberg. (anything by) Souljah, Sister. (anything by) Stringer, Vickie (2006). Dirty red Stringer, Vickie (2002). Let that be the reason. Stringer, Vickie (2008). Still dirty. Styles, T. (2007). Black and Ugly Swinson, Kiki (2005). I'm still Wifey. Swinson, Kiki (2007). Life after Wifey. Swinson, Kiki (2008). Still Wifey material. Swinson, Kiki (2004). Wifey: A novel. Teague, Kwame. (anything by) Tyree, Omar (2005). Boss Lady. Tyree, Omar (1996). Flyy girl. Tyree, Omar (2000). For the love of money. Williams, KaShamba (2003) Blinded. Woods, Teri (1994). True to the game: Woods, Teri (2007). True to the game II. Woods, Teri (2008). True to the game III.
A “ starter-Kit ” Collection of “ safe ” YA titles Booth, Coe. Tyrell. Curtis, Christopher Paul. Bucking the Sarge Flake, Sharon. The Skin I’m In Frost, Helen. Keesha’s House Grimes, Nikki. Bronx Masquerade James, Brian. Tomorrow Maybe Johnson, Angela. The First Last Part Langan, Paul. Blood is Thicker Lipsyte, Robert. The Brave Myers, Walter Dean. Monster Myers, Walter Dean. Dopesick Ortiz Cofer, Judith. An Island Like You: Stories of the Barrio Pearsall, Shelley. All of the Above Schraff, Anne. A Matter of Trust Sitomer, Alan. Homeboyz Soto, Gary. Buried Onions Strasser, Todd. Can’t Get There From Here Strasser, Todd. If I Grow Up Van Diepen, Allison. Snitch Van Diepen, Allison. Street Pharm Wolff, Virginia Euwer. True Believer Woodson, Jaqueline. Autobiography of a Family Photo Wright, Bil. When the Black Girl Sings