Growing up in a housing project in Brooklyn in the 1960s and '70s, Nelson George devoured Ernest Hemmingway novels... And album liner notes.
In his memoir, City Kid, George tells the story of his determination to become a writer. He stalked the Village Voice's famous critic Robert Christgau with his review clips, and took a shift on the heavy metal beat at Billboard.
Shortly thereafter, George's friendship with Russell Simmons took off, and with Simmons and other friends, George dug into the burgeoning NYC hip-hop scene. He writes of those early days, "there was a mix of fear and freedom" that made him feel "totally alive," as if he "could die at any moment or experience a rush of joyous adrenaline."