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Summary

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 LA 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. 

©2016 Jensen Karp (P)2016 Random House Audio

What listeners say about Kanye West Owes Me $300

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Great fun.

As a quasi successful white rapper myself. I felt a connection to this story. Great fun, hilarious at times and well written. Thoroughly enjoyable.

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Cautionary tale

I really enjoyed listening to Jensen's story. Definitely something anyone interested in creative industries needs to hear. I won't spoil the book but it's so brutal how all his dreams were going to come true then they just didn't. Jensen reading this audiobook is the biggest asset. It's like having him there telling you the story of his life.

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Really enjoyed it - any rap fan will appreciate this insider's view!

Really good story, funny and well-produced. I'm from the UK and have never heard of this guy. I bought it because i'm a Kanye fan but I am now also a Jensen Karp fan too!

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  • Titus Smith
  • 09-06-16

Buried the lead

Pretty fun stories about an entertaining figure. The most interesting chapter (and the book's namesake) came near the end. Wish it had came sooner. Enjoyable. Worth the download.

4 people found this helpful

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  • NS3000
  • 11-06-16

Great listen to a great story!

It's a compulsive listen that flies by, a crazy trip through the just-before-the-bust music industry.

3 people found this helpful

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  • Chris Kottman
  • 10-06-16

Great book, great reading

Jensen Karp has lived the sort of life that would be hard to believe, but the story is written so earnestly and read so well that you are immediately sucked in and don't doubt for a moment anything that he says. Just an overall fantastic book!

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  • Derek S. Boyer
  • 08-06-16

Book Season in full efect!

There's not much more to say than that I'll probably listen to it again tomorrow. Thanks JK.

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  • Chad
  • 08-06-16

Great Storyteller

What made the experience of listening to Kanye West Owes Me $300 the most enjoyable?

Amazing stories. Funny, dated pop culture references. Clever battle rap punch lines.

What other book might you compare Kanye West Owes Me $300 to and why?

Gasping for Airtime by Jay Mohr

What about Jensen Karp and Chris MacDonnell ’s performance did you like?

Nailed it.

Did you have an extreme reaction to this book? Did it make you laugh or cry?

So glad Jensen read the book. I laughed throughout.

Any additional comments?

Hey Jensen, where can I hear that late 90's demo? Can't wait for the movie.

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  • Ulises Perez
  • 18-06-16

Funny, well written and interesting story.

Being a rap and hip hop fan of the late 90's and early 2000's ; I found his story fascinating. Im disappointed that I never heard of him during that time. And even more so that I will never get to hear any music from the album.

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  • jcsb805
  • 16-06-16

Fantastic!!!! Great narration.

Great look into the music industry. Highly recommend this book to anyone. Great lessons on dealing with crap life throws at you.

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  • Travis King
  • 14-05-21

Easy, Fun Listen

I had no knowledge what the book was about going into it and I found it really fun. It was a funny recount of a story of someone I've never heard of and I really enjoyed it.

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  • Justin
  • 30-08-20

Crazy story that's for sure.

It's a solid story with a good amount of humor...until towards the end. Without any spoilers you start too wonder if most of his downfall was his own fault...and he definitely alludes too it a few times without outright admitting it. He goes from a confident guy having fun too coming off as a bit needy and whiny when dealing with the label, and I also can't help but wonder if his own anxiety and paranoia also played a large role in "why it didn't work out" based on the "anonymous phone call", in addition too other (one very obvious) elements he discusses. It's a cool story though.

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  • Bill Mc
  • 18-03-19

A fun listen

perfect story to listen to for two back to back 6 hour flights. well told and easy to listen to.