Kanye West Owes Me $300: And Other True Stories from a White Rapper Who Almost Made it Big – by Jensen Karp

I had never heard of Jensen Karp. The main reasons I picked this book were:

  1. The title was really catchy;
  2. It was the first book I saw on the Random House website

It is usually a good idea to read a book who’s author you are not familiar with as that reduces the possibility of any bias arising.


The writing style is quite fluid and easy to follow. I was able to read the 320 paged book in one sitting (I mean, I ate and drank coffee in between). The writer conveyed his history in a simple, clear, and convincing manner. He made me go through a range of emotions but not necessarily feel sorry for him.


Jensen was an accidental rapper who started his career as a white Jewish kid rapping at a friend’s bar mitzvah in the early ‘90s. It was all fun and games until he became the winner of a rap battle on a radio show. Things quickly escalated from there and he got signed to Interscope records as “Hot Karl” for half a million dollars.

Initially, he was skeptical about the whole deal but went ahead with the support of his parents. His initial skepticism was because he was signed to Interscope at the same time as Eminem. He was pretty sure his record deal was a ploy to eliminate him as a competition but he chalked it up to paranoia.

He worked hard on his debut album with the Kanye, Will.i.am, Mya, Fabolous and Redman. He partied like the rap star he was slated to be but just as he was about done with the album, Intescope pulled the plug on his album. His instincts were right after all.


If you are looking to read a book that will make you laugh, cry and think at the same time; you’ve got it here. I particularly like the fact that even though his record deal did not fall through, he was able to pick himself up and did different things. He had a podcast, an art gallery, wrote for WWE and is an author.





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