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Black musicians and their co-authors are stepping up to tell their versions of what really goes down when you’re climbing the charts this year. We love a tipsy podcast interview that lasts the length of our cardio session and then some as much as the next person, but there is nothing like Black music memoirs. They fill you with energy in a way that no other medium can.

Why We Love Music Memoirs

Books like The Making of Mariah Carey, Let Love Have The Last Word, and The Beautiful Ones can provide the level of detail we crave about our favorite performers. It might seem like those in the spotlight are an open book. But their journeys often have a bit more peaks and valleys than can fit in a quick screenshot. 

Behind the soundtrack to every kickback, girls’ trip, and breakup in your life is an artist. It is exciting to get their perspective on the moments that make up the culture. There’s variety among the artists teaming up with other storytellers to share their points of view this year. 

Who Is Telling Their Stories This Year?

A Miami titan is taking her turn to share how she became a mother figure to a generation of mic-toting baddies with their eyes on big Birkins. Staten Island’s own is breaking his silence. We want to learn how he went from a shadowy schemer to one of the most respected emcees of all time. 

There’s a seventies heartthrob whose supple looks and smooth voice made him a household name. He is taking us back to the beginnings of Black Hollywood. A rapper sitting on the edge of the Big Three is allowing us into the mentality that took him from a Midwestern upstart into a hip-hop tour de force. Finally, a pitbull in a skirt is taking us inside a record-smashing career with some glamorous detours. 

See the five Black music memoirs we can not wait to add to our bookshelves and beach bags below. 

Related: World Book Day: 15 Books By Black Women That Changed My Brain Chemistry

5 Black Music Memoirs We Can’t Wait To Add To Our Bookshelves  was originally published on

1. Da Baddest – Trina with Sesali Bowen

Da Baddest - Trina with Sesali Bowen Source:Simon & Schuster

The first lady of Slip-N-Slide Records is ready to spill about how she became the baddest in the MIA. Fittingly, she teamed up with Sesali Bowen, the writer who coined Trap Feminism, to tell the tale through a culturally informed lens. As her legacy becomes more and more evident, it is the perfect time to look back on how she furthered the legacy of women in rap. 

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2. Whose That Girl – Eve

Whose That Girl - Eve Source:Harper Collins

Eve turned a charged-up cypher into smash records, a television series, and a surprisingly catchy rebuke of domestic violence we had no choice but to stand for. She finally lets us know how she did it by teaming up with journalist Kathy Iandoli to write a memoir. We can’t wait to hear about the journey that led Philly’s favorite daughter across the pond. 

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3. Rise of a Killah – Ghostface Killa

Rise of a Killah - Ghostface Killa Source:Macmillan Publishers

Everyone has a take on how the Wu-Tang Clan came together to dominate hip-hop, and Ghostface Killa is finally sharing his story for the record. After dozens of interviews and a Hulu television series, he shares how he assumed his role in the legendary group and went on to create some unforgettable chart toppers. 

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4. Go Higher Five Practices for Purpose, Success, and Inner Peace – Big Sean

Go Higher Five Practices for Purpose, Success, and Inner Peace - Big Sean Source:Simon & Schuster

Big Sean is taking the 50 Cent and Young Jeezy approach to storytelling by infusing wisdom into his book. The rapper is one of many hip-hop performers advocating for mental health, and here, he shares his best practices for chasing success without crashing out. He usually slips the lessons into the lyrics, so we are excited to hear from him in a different capacity. 

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5. What Have We Here Billy Dee Williams

What Have We Here Billy Dee Williams Source:Penguin Random House

Williams will walk us through decades of show business in this highly anticipated tale from the star at the center of The Lady Sings The Blues. Not only will this story have cameos from icons like Diana Ross, but it will also have important context about typecasting and genre limitations. Hollywood may be going through significant changes, but its roots remain, and there is no one better to tell us what its aims have always been than someone who has been in the mix for eighty years. 

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