His name is Toure--just Toure--and like many of the musicians, athletes, and celebrities he's profiled, he has affected the way that we think about culture in America. He has profiled Eminem, 50 Cent, and Alicia Keys for the cover ofRolling Stone. He's played high-stakes poker with Jay-Z and basketball with Prince and Wynton Marsalis. In Toure's world, Dale Earnhardt, Jr. sits beside Condoleezza Rice who sits beside hip-hop pioneer Tupac Shakur, and all of them are fascinating company.
Never Drank the Kool-Aid is the chronicle of Tour�'s unparalleled journey through the American funhouse called pop culture. Its rooms are filled with creative, arrogant, kind, ordinary, and extraordinary people, most of whom happen to be famous. It is Tour�'s gift to be able to see through the artifice of their world and understand the genuine motivations behind their achievements--to see who they truly are as people. This is a searingly funny, surprisingly unguarded, and deeply insightful look at a world few of us comprehend.
In a varied collection of lucid, colorful pieces, journalist Tour�, author of the novel Soul City and the story collection The Portable Promised Land, takes readers from the inner sanctum of Prince's Paisley Park to Jennifer Capriati's practice court, Lauryn Hill's Christmas party and beyond. Deftly organized by theme, the book comprises mainly magazine articles dating from 2005 to the mid-'90s, and its title refers to the author's insistence that he never bought into the philosophies of the people he profiled but rather aimed "to understand who they were beyond the image they want us to think they were." He succeeds with meteoric personalities, like Eminem and Al Sharpton, and with people like junior-tennis phenom and eventual professional bust Al Parker Jr. Tour� has a knack for putting his subjects at ease, and he blends their intriguing candor with apt observations on the nature of their careers. He describes his own place in events without overshadowing the story itself. He's just interested in bringing us along for the ride, even if that means sitting shotgun while DMX pulls a full-speed 180 in a Cadillac Escalade on Sunset Boulevard. (Mar.)
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February 20, 2006
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