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Notorious C.O.P.: The Inside Story of the Tupac, Biggie, and Jam Master Jay Investigations from NYPD's First "Hip-Hop Cop" Hardcover – August 8, 2006

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Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

Parker's career with the New York Police Department from 1982 to 2002 paralleled the rise of hip-hop music and related crimes, and as a member of a "specialized, clandestine 'Rap Intel' squad" within the NYPD's elite Gang Intelligence Division, Parker investigated firsthand almost all the most famous hip-hop–related shoot-outs. This wealth of experience makes his book (the title is a play on hip-hop artist Notorious B.I.G., also known as Biggie Smalls) a powerful and fascinating—if often repetitive—account of what Parker calls "the truth about the rap music industry" as well as "the mechanisms within the NYPD and how law enforcement deals with hip-hop from the inside." He is not afraid to name the people he thinks were responsible for the still unsolved murders of Tupac Shakur, Smalls and Jam Master Jay of the rap group Run-DMC, and he also provides new details of crimes involving Puff Daddy, Jennifer Lopez, 50 Cent and Lil' Kim. Parker proves his assertion that there is a "seemingly insurmountable divide between the NYPD and the hip-hop world," but his accusations alone should ensure the book a large reception within the worldwide audience for rap music. (July)
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.

From Booklist

Parker was the NYPD's semi-official "hip-hop cop," an appellation he wears with pride. Rising fast as a case-breaking detective, he parlayed an affinity for rap and rappers into a niche specialty of which he feels the department never took full advantage. He fingered "a plausible suspect" for the confounding murder of Jam Master Jay before witnesses in his recording studio. When the department failed to follow up, and after spending more than 100 hours, gratis, on the investigation, Parker declared himself "done trying to help." Elsewhere he names the Crip he suspects was trigger man in the murder of hip-hop god Tupac Shakur and a candidate for the probably retributive slaughter of Notorious B. I. G. Full of engaging detail (e.g., Bloods-affiliated record mogul Suge Knight's office carpet is red to signify his gang loyalty), this is a gritty trip to the nexus of big-money rap and ongoing gang rivalries that Parker equates to the old time Mafia in terms of reach and power. Essential stuff on this turf. Mike Tribby
Copyright © American Library Association. All rights reserved

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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 320 pages
  • Publisher: St. Martin's Press; 1st edition (August 8, 2006)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0312352514
  • ISBN-13: 978-0312352516
  • Product Dimensions: 6.3 x 1.2 x 9.5 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.4 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 3.1 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (12 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,330,711 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

7 of 8 people found the following review helpful By AI in The Village on August 29, 2006
Format: Hardcover
Parker is a true character, and he and Diehl really make this book into a conversation between him and me (or you, when you read it). I appreciate the attention lavished on the old-school (Jay bookends the story) and the explanation of the continental divide that started in the 90s.

Parker really cares about the material -- both sides: the industry and the NYPD. Shocking (but in a good way) to hear such praise lavished on Bernie Karik.

Meantime, the pacing, the stories, the characters all make this a (sorry to use the cliche) page-turner. Can't wait until it's on the big or little screen (CSI: Adidas).

Two reasons I don't give it five stars: sad copy editing and underwhelming photos. Page-turners suffer when every page has at least one and often two no-excuse, let-me-read-that-again grammatical errors. And Parker, considering the interesting cops and music artists he's run with, ought to have a better array of photographs to complement the narrative. They'll fix this up for the second edition and get that fifth star.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful By Lior Shliechkorn on September 20, 2006
Format: Hardcover
Having read this book was quite more of an eye opener than I would have liked to think in regards to what takes place in the hip-hop realm. It is quite unfortunate to read about what goes on with many of the hip-hop artists from an insider and investigator's point of view. The self-perpetuating, and often self-fulfilling lethality of hip-hop is something one could only hope would one day cease to exist. The corruption within the police force...I suppose when one can genetically remove human nature then this could end that.

Overall, I tremendously enjoyed the book and would recommend it highly to people who want more perspective. The book takes on natural growth as Parker's outlines hip-hop's milestones that coincide with his development within the police force. Could the book be written better? Sure. The edits could have been more sensitive. However, I did not feel that anything was taken from the essence and message that Parker delivers. The truth is the truth no matter how it is written...we just won't even know it for sure.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful By Best Of All on January 2, 2007
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
The reader can avoid about the opening 26 pages in Notorious C.O.P., as Derrick Parker mentions that he was the NYPD'S "hip-hop cop" so many times that it ruins what could have been a good introduction. But putting his ego aside - or at least dishing it out in smaller doses - the compelling book becomes hard to put down.

Parker took his affinity for the music industry and his concerns about its expanding linkage to organized crime to eventually spearhead a "hip-hop" unit. He is careful to explain that he was working for the safety of the artists - which was not always the goal of other police officials - while also taking steps to clean out the criminal element that made victims of the artists, neighborhoods and others who innocently got caught up in the drama.

What I found especially interesting is the normal, daily manipulations that you may hear about, but really don't see in print; the politics from his bosses that oftentimes came from a media-hungry and -savvy City Hall, the department jealousies, the ignorance & corruption, along with the bitter racism.

Parker's growing disenchantment with the NYPD reached a boiling point when he was brought up on bogus departmental charges due to others who wanted his "hip-hop" post for all the wrong reasons and when a superior ordered him to compile a dossier on hip-hop artists that had all the trappings of COINTELPRO-styled abuse.

The sensationalistic subtitle sets those chapters up for a letdown, and that is what happened in the cases of Tupac and Biggie. Parker really adds very little to what has been made public over the past decade, but does justify his findings with credible evidence.
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Format: Hardcover
The best quality about this book is that the author doesn't hold back. He's dropping names all over the place. He's being completely open and honest with the reader. He writes to the reader like he's talking to his best friend. Sometimes, he's even ratting out his other cops. The guy was taking alot of chances with his career and his own life by writing the things he wrote. I've never seen anywhere else where a cop was so honest about what his job was.
Now, there are problems with the book. The book is long winded. It goes on much longer than it needs to. The book is very self serving. The author loves to name drop about the people he's met.
However, this seems like it's about as close to the truth as the general public will ever get to know about these murders. He's really showing outsiders what the system looks like from the inside.
Alot of the hip hop cases, the author wasn't direcly involved with. Very often he speaks of rumors that he heard regarding cases. It's alot of hearsay and supposition. On the other hand, sometimes the author is telling facts of cases that were never revealed anywhere else in the media.
I thought it was interesting that their were no arrests in any of the hip hop cases that he mentioned such as: Tupac, Biggie, Jam Master Jay, Busta Rhymes, etcetera. It's as if this was a top cop who decided he would rather be part of the hip hop scene than solve cases. I think at some point in his career he had forgotten he was a cop and just wanted to hang out with the hip hop crowd. Arresting the guilty didn't seem truly important anymore to this guy so much as serving his own personal interests.
For the no holds barred, openness and frankess of his writing; this book deserves 5 stars. The author risked everything to tell his story.
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