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am 13. Juni 2000
Ronin Ro's "Have Gun, Will Travel" chronicles the metoric rise and tragic fall of the top rap label of the '90s. In this compelling page-turner, Ro charts the label's very beginnings, from Suge Knight's college days as a football player/drug dealer at UNLV through it's untimely demise mired in legal troubles and federal inquiries. This book is must for Death Row fans. Ro's writing style has been criticized as "repetitive" by some, and while he does repeat a few anecdotes, it doesn't make this book any more difficult to follow. In addition, Ro shies away from making judgements about his subject matter. Instead, he lets their (alleged) actions speak for themselves. For example, Suge Knight appears to earn his reputation as a violent thug, first, businessman second, while the late Tupac Shakur comes across as a wanna-be gangsta in search of street acceptance. The most unflattering portrayal is saved for R&B crooner, Danny Boy, whose relationship with Suge Knight is called into question. All of the acts that the label's fans love are given equal time. Dr. Dre, Snoop Dogg, Tha Dogg Pound, Nate Dogg, Lady of Rage, etc. In addition, there are numerous questions that longtime Death Row fans have wanted answered and they'll find them here. Including the NWA reunion that nearly happened while Eazy-E was still alive, the truth behind the departures of Warren G, Dr. Dre and Sam Sneed, and the story of Gina Longo, who was Death Row's first (and only) white singer. The only criticism I had is that Ro relies on a few too many "un-named sources". While it's understandable, given Suge Knight's feared reputation, it makes a few of the stories seems a tad far-fetched. As a longtime Death Row fan, however, I give this book my highest recommendation.
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am 19. November 1999
This book leaves me with a lot of mixed feelings. There is a lot of interesting insight into Death Row that you probably don't know. It connects the different 'eras' if you will of Death Row, from the Chronic to All Eyez on Me and does a fine job of putting Death Row in its place in the rap game. It flows easily and is a very interesting read. However, it is not without flaws. First, Ronin Ro tends to repeat things. He'll tell the same anecdotes multiple times in the book, which really comes across as amateurish. Moreover, I think a lot of people are buying this to read more about 'Pac. I know that was a large part of my motivation. However, that is not a good reason to get this unless you're interested in the bigger picture. Ro paints a very unflattering picture of 2Pac (and just about everyone on Death Row in one form or another except Dre). And, if you want to hear the cricisms of the man, "Rebel For the Hell of it" is more direct on 'Pac. The strongest part of the book, however, is the looks into how Suge built his business which is really interesting. No one else would say all this about Suge, and I'm betting Ro will be moving to another country by the time Suge is set free. If you're a rap fan, get this book. If you're not, or you're more into just 2Pac, you might want to think a bit about it, although I think most anyone would enjoy this.
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am 1. April 1999
I expected Have Gun Will Travel to be another book which denounces Death Row and Marion "Suge" Knight.I was surprised. Author Ronin Ro made this book an objective look at the label, its roster and its CEO. Author Ro also took me behind the scenes, and showed how, were it not for Suge Knight, Death Row would never have been as successful as it became. According to Ro, Suge Knight was a highly-intelligent, handsome, kind and generous person. Ro also notes that Knight was single-handedly responsible for getting the mainstream media, and Middle America, to accept hard-edged rap music. In this book, Knight is presented as a businessman who is as driven as Trump. Ro also details Suge's remarkable life and career with respect, honesty and admiration. Suge Knight, the book repeatedly points out, is not the villain the mainstream media makes him out to be. To Ro, Suge Knight is a decent man with a dream who was led down the wrong path by advisors, some of his artists and producers and others. Knight, this book points out, was only trying to help people out. In the end, the people he tried to help led to Knight's downfall and imprisonment. For his objectivity, Ro is to be commended.
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am 13. Dezember 1999
Ronin Ro has always delivered heartfelt writing, when he's chosen to write, that is; and Have Gun Will Travel was nothing less than his best. His kaleidoscopic history succeeds not only in being the definitive work on Death Row-- beating out coverage from every major newspaper in America--but also in bringing us details about Biggie Smalls, Tupac, Dr. Dre and other celebrities that have never appeared in print and would have remained a mystery. As for the so-called repetitions, they helped me keep track of what starts small and becomes a true Shakespearian epic. If anyone is at fault, it would be his editors, I presume. Before Ro, rap books were nothing but photos and cheesy grafitti covers. Ro elevated rap writing to an artform and led to it being published in hardcover. Have Gun Will Travel, his final word it seems on the gangsta rap he worked for years to destroy, shows why he is not only one of America's most talented writers, but also one of its most compassionate. Let's hope this already-legendary enigma gets another book out soon!
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am 15. Mai 1999
anybody who is curious as to how Death row records managed to survive and succed built on criminal and gang links. from an insight into the massive Suge Knight, to early insights into the forerunners of death row The book is fantastic for both hardcore fans to those just curious however it does have one irritating habit, it tends to jump back and forth a little too often, the book would be better in chronological order. the author pulls no punches and this book is certainly not a rose tinted view of the label, what it is however is a very balanced perspective of the ups and downs of the label from early begginings with Dr Dre and the DOC thru to suge knights incarceration. On the whole this book is great for the fans of dre,pac ,snoop etc or those who are intrigued by the labels success, only four stars but definitely worth a read of the 600 or so pages.
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am 8. Januar 1999
I have been a fan of Ro's since his days at The Source, when he was the first writer in America to speak with Dre about Death Row, right before Dre formed it. Then he tackled the Death Row issue in his book Gangsta. But nothing he's written compares to this book. It's good to see Ro complete the Death Row story: he goes where no other music writer has gone before, and offers us facts about Death Row no one else in the media could get. Those who speak out against this book must be gangsta rap fans, or upset with Ro's accurate depiction of the life of Tupac Shakur. For anyone interested in the real story, and in reading for the first time anywhere, the secret history of Death Row (when it was called Future Shock Records), this is the book to read. Ro's book Have Gun Will Travel is one you'll never forget. I can't wait to see the movie!
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am 26. Mai 2015
There are 2 good reasons to read this book: 1) you like hip-hop or gangsta rap; or 2) you could care less about them. Fans will find the book a storehouse of detail, some now historical, on performers, labels, music videos. You others will learn from the book why you can’t and should not ignore a booming revolution in popular music, in which crime and violence are not simply lyrics, but the marketing tools, so to speak, of key industry figures like Suge Knight and his Death Row Records firm. Behind the competition to sell the most CDs is the more sinister competition between the Bloods and the Crips and their respective and mutually hostile empires on the Atlantic and Pacific coasts of the USA. This book debunks the myth that “crime doesn’t pay”.
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am 9. Juni 1998
All I have to say, is that if a guy who lives in New York doesn't know that "Dr. J", Julius Erving played for the 76er's not the Knicks(page 23)I can't trust anything else he writes. How did the editor and the publisher, based in New York miss this small detail. If they missed this you can't trust anything this guy writes. I grew-up a stones throw from Compton in Long Beach and this author should have went out and talked to the real OG's if he wanted to be creditable. Mr. Ro needs to really be careful when writing about peoples lives ,this is no joke. It has grown to organized crime and no one is untouchable. END
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am 24. März 1999
Apart from what I know of the author of this book, I have to say it has got to be the best thing I hav ever read. When I first heard of the book I was expecting a Rap Journal like all the Hip Hop books I have read in the past, and by now I am tired of them. After reading it (all in one night) I have to tell you it goes on like a movie. Ronin Ro put alot of blood and sweat into this book and you can tell. He has been put down (BET), and had threats made by other writers talking about "wait till Suge gets out". Ronin, one question -When is the movie comming out???- another thing, Whats next?
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am 13. Mai 1998
Ronin Ro does an adequate job of detailing Death Row Records, though the book lacks new information. I rate this book so highly primarily because of the quality of information about the history of Death Row, its artists, and its business. As a reader that is interested in the makings of "gangsta rap" and the motives behind this artform, I couldn't put the book down. Ro does a good job of presenting a wealth of information in the book, though was weak in organizing the book. A Must Read for any Death Row fan or anyone that is curious about the label and its artists.
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