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Kanye West Owes Me $300
Cover of Kanye West Owes Me $300
Kanye West Owes Me $300
And Other True Stories from a White Rapper Who Almost Made It Big

"Kanye West Owes Me $300 might be the funniest rap memoir ever." –LA Weekly
After Vanilla Ice, but before Eminem, there was "Hot Karl," the Jewish kid from the L.A. suburbs who became a rap battling legend—and then almost became a star.


When 12-year old Jensen Karp got his first taste of rapping for crowds at his friend's bar mitzvah in 1991, little did he know that he was taking his first step on a crazy journey—one that would end with a failed million-dollar recording and publishing deal with Interscope Records when he was only 19. Now, in Kanye West Owes Me $300, Karp finally tells the true story of his wild ride as "Hot Karl," the most famous white rapper you've never heard of.
On his way to (almost) celebrity, Jensen shares his childhood run-ins with rock-listening, southern California classmates, who tell him that "rap is for black people," and then recounts his record-breaking rap battling streak on popular radio contest "The Roll Call"—a run that caught the eye of a music industry hungry for new rap voices in the early '00s. He also introduces his rap partner, Rickye, who constitutes the second half of their group XTra Large; his supportive mom, who performs with him onstage; and the soon-to-be-household-name artists he records with, including Kanye West, Redman, Fabolous, Mya, and will.i.am. Finally, he reveals why his album never saw the light of day (two words: Slim Shady), the downward spiral he suffered after, and what he found instead of rap glory.
Full of rollicking stories from his close brush with fame, Karp's hilarious memoir is the ultimate fish-out-of-water story about a guy who follows an unlikely passion—trying to crack the rap game—despite what everyone else says. It's 30 Rock for the rap set; 8 Mile for the suburbs; and quite the journey for a white kid from the valley.


From the Hardcover edition.

"Kanye West Owes Me $300 might be the funniest rap memoir ever." –LA Weekly
After Vanilla Ice, but before Eminem, there was "Hot Karl," the Jewish kid from the L.A. suburbs who became a rap battling legend—and then almost became a star.


When 12-year old Jensen Karp got his first taste of rapping for crowds at his friend's bar mitzvah in 1991, little did he know that he was taking his first step on a crazy journey—one that would end with a failed million-dollar recording and publishing deal with Interscope Records when he was only 19. Now, in Kanye West Owes Me $300, Karp finally tells the true story of his wild ride as "Hot Karl," the most famous white rapper you've never heard of.
On his way to (almost) celebrity, Jensen shares his childhood run-ins with rock-listening, southern California classmates, who tell him that "rap is for black people," and then recounts his record-breaking rap battling streak on popular radio contest "The Roll Call"—a run that caught the eye of a music industry hungry for new rap voices in the early '00s. He also introduces his rap partner, Rickye, who constitutes the second half of their group XTra Large; his supportive mom, who performs with him onstage; and the soon-to-be-household-name artists he records with, including Kanye West, Redman, Fabolous, Mya, and will.i.am. Finally, he reveals why his album never saw the light of day (two words: Slim Shady), the downward spiral he suffered after, and what he found instead of rap glory.
Full of rollicking stories from his close brush with fame, Karp's hilarious memoir is the ultimate fish-out-of-water story about a guy who follows an unlikely passion—trying to crack the rap game—despite what everyone else says. It's 30 Rock for the rap set; 8 Mile for the suburbs; and quite the journey for a white kid from the valley.


From the Hardcover edition.
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About the Author-
  • Jensen Karp, formerly known as Hot Karl, is a writer, comedian, and co-owner of Gallery 1988, the nation's leading destination for pop culture–themed artwork. He hosts the Get Up On This podcast on the Earwolf Network, co-owns Patti Lapel pins, and has written and produced for The Late Late Show with James Corden, the MTV VMAs & Movie Awards, Rolling Stone, WWE Raw, The Hundreds, and the ESPYs. As an actor, he's appeared on VH1's Barely Famous, NFL on FOX, Comedy Central's @Midnight, and Candidly Nicole. He is currently an Executive Producer, writer, and coach on Drop the Mic on TBS. He was influenced by early Tom Hanks comedies, Chino XL, and Dennis Miller (before Dennis became a real piece of shit).
    jensenkarp.com
    @Jensenclan88
Reviews-
  • Kevin Smith "The funniest person I follow on Twitter finally got smart and wrote a bunch of words about his unlikely--and hilarious--odyssey as teenage rapper Hot Karl. As revealing as it is about the collapsing music industry of old, Kanye West Owes Me $300 is also a heartfelt (and heartbreaking) look at what happens when the mercurial spotlight of celebrity blows a bulb, leaving a once white-hot artist out in the cold. Karp's sharp wit and gossipy giggles keep you turning pages, but what lingers is the story of a survivor. This book should be mandatory reading for or anyone who has ever wanted to be famous."
  • Hannibal Buress "I met Jensen a few years ago and I have to be honest, my first thought wasn't, 'This guy will probably write a great book one day.' But he's a vivid writer--and funny! If I had kids, I'd read passages from this to them at night."
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Kanye West Owes Me $300
Kanye West Owes Me $300
And Other True Stories from a White Rapper Who Almost Made It Big
Jensen Karp
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