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Kanye West Owes Me $300

And Other True Stories from a White Rapper Who Almost Made It Big
Length: 6 hrs and 4 mins
4.5 out of 5 stars (32 ratings)

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Summary

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

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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 of 4 people found this review 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 of 3 people found this review 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!

3 of 3 people found this review helpful

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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.

2 of 2 people found this review helpful

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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.

2 of 2 people found this review helpful

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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.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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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.

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  • Aaron Guzman
  • 27-01-19

Just when you thought it couldn’t get better...

Jensen Karp tells an AMAZING story that all of us whose we could tell. From being young and famous to growing and learning. It features countless cameos from celebrities that we’d all be incredibly humbled to meet. His story telling is what makes him such a great radio host today!

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  • Austin Gonzalez
  • 26-10-18

Get Up On This!

Jensen delivers some incredible stories that are uplifting, heartbreaking, inspiring and hilarious which fully draws you into the book. I learned about Jensen's hip hop background through his podcast and he has become someone whose opinion I greatly appreciate and respect. With the honesty of this book it not only gives you captivating stories but gives you an insight into a world that most hip hop heads fascinate about. He is no stranger to audio so he makes it an easy listen. Well done, I am glad he shared his story.