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Bling Hardcover – June 16, 2004
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In her debut novel Bling, Erica Kennedy exposes the dark underside of the hip-hop recording industry in the same way The Nanny Diaries outed the Park Avenue elite. Kennedy charts the course of Mimi, a small-town girl from Ohio who is discovered by Lamont Jackson, a hip-hop mogul who discards of gym clothing after one use and sends potential bedmates to his personal physician for a full work-up before hitting the sheets. Secondary characters like Lena Whitaker, the spoiled daughter of an LA lawyer who unknowingly foots the bill for trinkets like a $15,000 diamond necklace for Crazy G, Lena's booty call of the month, and Lamont's cocaine-snorting, Gucci-wearing, sister-in-law Vanessa de la Cruz, quickly become Mimi's image and social consultants. Rounding out the crew are a host of rappers who work for Lamont, including Ernesto, aka Phat E, a bear of a man who "raps about his slick girl-getting abilities" yet goes home every night to his high-school sweetheart Renee, who "was proud to walk the halls with Ernesto even though he had ballooned to 280 pounds by senior prom."
Bling takes readers on an insider's tour of the world of parties in the Hamptons, VIP lounges, fashion shows, and Tribeca penthouses. In fact, the tour is so intimate that many readers will recognize thinly veiled faces along the way, like Ally C., the blond-haired, blue-eyed publicist from Long Island, and Irv Greene, the aging music executive from Brooklyn. Kennedy leaves no stone unturned; there's even a prepubescent rapper aptly named Billy Tha Kid. All these details make for a very long book, and by the end, readers may find themselves skimming the pages to find out what eventually happens. Still, for anyone who has ever wondered what goes through the minds of P. Diddy and his entourage as they emerge from the Escalade, Bling promises to enthrall and entertain. --Gisele Toueg
From Publishers Weekly
Hip-hop's sexed-up commercial side meets its gangsta roots in this sassy beach read debut. Eternal playboy Lamont Jackson is the larger-than-life head of hip-hop label Triple Large Entertainment, and Mimi Jean, a sexy, naïve 20-year-old with golden pipes, is his newest protégé. Mimi's whirlwind life among New York's glitterati is paved with Lamont's money and guided with either love or malice by his many hangers-on, including wild child Lena, level-headed assistant Imani and height-challenged A&R rep Daryl. Mimi gets the makeover of her life in her rise to the top—a vocal coach, a new wardrobe and a boob job—as Lamont grooms his star. The label's gangsta-style rappers (Flo$$, Radickulys, MC Grimy, etc.) introduce a bit of badass into Mimi's glossy world. And it doesn't take long until Lamont and sweet little Mimi are burning up the sheets. The writing is pretty pedestrian, but who cares? Kennedy offers salacious details to spice up the already over-the-top premise. A firmer editorial hand could have chopped out a couple hundred pages and made the tale sleeker and just as lip-smacking. But then readers wouldn't get to play as many games of who's-really-who: was Lena inspired by Nicole Richie? Is Mimi Mariah Carey and Lamont Sonny Mottolla? Entertainment journalist Kennedy should find her own star rising with this urban fairy tale.
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.
Top customer reviews
Main character is Mimi Jean--a young, beautiful naive biracial girl from Toledo, Ohio. Mimi is part of a singing trio who are determined to make it big...with the help of their questionably well-connected manager Kenny. When an audition is arranged with Lamont Jackson, the head of Triple Large Entertainment, the girls think that their dreams have finally come true. But according to the big boss the only one of the three that shows any promise is Mimi...and after much consideration and a series of events, Mimi drops her friends and signs the contracts to begin her solo career.
Dubbed the Princess of the label, Lamont takes her under his wing and begins the task of making her over--vocal coaches, shopping sprees, personal trainers. And when Mimi and the big man become romantically involved, the gifts never stop coming....
Everything however comes to a head when a promising young star from the label, young Billy Da Kid, and disgraced TLE producer Daryl aka Country D have a climactic meeting of disastrous proportions..and Mimi is forced to take a hard look at the turn that her life has taken and a even harder look at her husband-to-be.
Clearly written by a true hip-hop insider, Bling offers us peek into the music industry's most popular culture....hip-hop. Fans of the genre will find themselves trying to put real-life names to Kennedy's fictional (?) characters. With never a dull moment, Bling is a truly satisfying, fun, and at times laugh-out-loud read. How smart of Kennedy to capitalize on two of the hottest things going right now...the popularization of African-American writers and novels (they're just discovering that we do read!!) and hip-hop culture....move over Ms. Collins, this one is every bit as good as one of yours.