Memphis, TN emcee/activist/lecturer Marco Pavé is busy preparing for his upcoming project, Perception.  When he’s performing or giving TEDx talks or lecturing at universities, we’re pretty sure he’s reading. That’s why we’ve selected Marco to give us his to reads for our Rawroots readers.

Marco Pavé breaks down his top 5 reads and why they are important for you to read!


First of all, this is a great topic to dive into. Especially for me, growing up I wasn’t the biggest reader on the planet, But people used to always tell me that reading would make me a better songwriter and rapper, I took heed.


These first few books are MUST-reads in my opinion.


51MPEvnmF+LLong Division By Kiese Laymon is currently my top pick. I am reading this book with my Hip-Hop class that I teach at Carver High School and Booker T. Washington. The book is great, it tells a story that young black kids from the south can really relate to. The setting is in a post-Katrina Mississippi. Long Division is about time traveling. If you could go back in time and change your past so you would have a better future would you? That’s what this book does; it’s like the modern day invisible man, with a hip-hop twist. I feel like anyone in the hip-hop industry should read this book.



517XVBy1t1L._SX306_BO1,204,203,200_This Ain’t Chicago By Dr. Zandria F. Robinson is another Must-Read book on my list. For me being from the South and specifically from Memphis, this book was eye-opening for me. This Ain’t Chicago tells our stories. It gives validity to the south as a region of creatives, thinking and highly intuitive individuals. A lot has happened in the last 50+ years since the civil rights movement and the soul music era. No has covered that history, until NOW. This Ain’t Chicago is a must have for southerns and all Americans to learn about the region that has so much impact on the entire country.



410IsDfT0DL._SX320_BO1,204,203,200_Hip Hop Matters By S Craig Watkins is a great book that tells the real history of hip-hop. It tells the good, the bad, and the ugly. But it also reminds us how powerful hip-hop is and how much thought goes into putting out the narratives that we have grown to know and love. It explains the truth behind NWA’s success; it talks about the rise of Master P in the late 90’s. It covers the full 40+ years of hip-hop in one book.




51zk+BxHWCL._AA160_How to Slowly Kill Yourself and Others in America By Kiese Laymon is life changing. It tells the truth of being depressed and oppressed in this country and the toll that it takes on your life. Many people are not strong enough to take their life immediately so they slowly kill themselves. We all know someone that is on this path, hell; we might be in this path right now. The moral? Hurt People, Hurt People. Most of the hurt that we try to put on to others usually comes back to us 10 fold.



drownDrown By Junot Díaz is about immigrant life in the Dominican Republic. The stories are as vibrant, tough, unexotic and beautiful as their settings. It gives a real inside look of how tough it is growing up in poverty and also being an immigrant. These are the marginalized people that Hip-Hop originally spoke for and still does, that’s why this book is so important.







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