Rap Dad: A Story of Family and the Subculture That Shaped a Generation by Juan Vidal

The Stacks received this book from the publisher in exchange for an honest review. For more information click here.

Juan Vidal shares his own story of growing up, finding his way, and becoming a family man in his book Rap Dad. What makes this book different is that his story is framed by his relationship to hip-hop music and culture, and his love of Rap music.

Vidal doesn’t try to make his story universal. He shares his own personal development as a Colombian man, and he never pontificates on what it means to be a parent, a Christian, or an artist. He is willing to get personal, but never uses his own experiences as the model or the standard. There is no sense that Vidal knows any more than the rest of us, he just shares what he’s learned in the hopes that someone else might relate.

If I’m being honest, I didn’t always relate. I’m not a dad, a writer, a Christian, a Colombian, a man, or any of the other labels you might throw on Mr. Vidal. We do share a love of hip-hop music, but even there our tastes differ. Vidal fills the spaces between us with a humanity that I could connect with. I wanted to know Vidal and hear his story. His moral compass and compassion come shining through in Rap Dad, even if I didn’t always share his experiences.

When we talked about Rap Dad on The Stacks with actor Josh Segarra, I got to hear from someone who could identify with Vidal’s experiences and it made me appreciate the book more. I could learn from Segarra’s take-aways. It was a great reminder that not every book is for every person, and that is the beauty of art, that our experiences inform our understandings.

In Rap Dad, Juan Vidal uses his slang to tell his story, which lends the book a sense that you’re hearing from an old friend. As a lover of hip-hop I appreciated his authenticity. He talks to and about artists and songs I know and love, and introduced me to so many rappers I wasn’t familiar with. The book has an entire track list of all the songs he references (which is begging for a Spotify playlist). You get a sense for who Mr. Vidal is through his writing and his taste in music.

The structure of this book felt disjointed. I didn’t always follow Vidal’s points and often felt unfocused in reading the book. While everything on its own (Vidal himself, the stories, the conversations with hip-hop folks, etc.) were great on their own, it didn’t come together cohesively.

Rap Dad is worth your time. The content is different from most anything I’ve read. Vidal is a unique thinker, a fluid writer, and his lack of pretense is beyond refreshing. He is talking about a subculture, hip-hop heads, we so often ignore, especially in the context of parenting.

Don’t forget to listen to the The Stacks with Josh Segarra discussing Rap Dad

Hear The Short Stacks conversation with author, Juan Vidal

  • Hardcover: 256 pages
  • PublisherAtria Books (September 25, 2018)
  • 3/5 stars
  • Buy on Rap Dad Amazon

To contribute to The Stacks, join The Stacks Pack, and get exclusive perks, check out our Patreon page. We are beyond grateful for anything you’re able to give to support the production of this show. If you prefer to do a one time contribution go to paypal.me/thestackspod.

The Stacks participates in affiliate programs. We receive a small commission when products are purchased through links on this website, and this comes at no cost to you. Shopping through these links helps support the show, but does not effect my opinions on books and products. For more information click here.

The Short Stacks 4: Juan Vidal//Rap Dad

On January 30th, we’re discussing Rap Dad by Juan Vidal as part of The Stacks Book Club, and to get you ready for that chat, I talked with Juan about his process in writing Rap Dad, how he finds time to write with four children, and about his favorite rappers. And with all The Short Stacks, there are no spoilers today, enjoy.

Everything we talk about on today’s episode can be found below in the show notes. The Stacks participates in affiliate programs, and shopping through the links below (mostly Amazon) helps support the show, at no cost to you.

Connect with Juan: Juan’s Instagram | Juan’s Twitter 

Connect with The Stacks: Instagram | The Stacks Website | Facebook | Twitter | Subscribe | Patreon | Goodreads | Traci’s Instagram

To contribute to The Stacks, join The Stacks Pack, and get exclusive perks, check out our Patreon page. We are beyond grateful for anything you’re able to give to support the production of this show. If you prefer to do a one time contribution go to paypal.me/thestackspod.

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The Stacks received Rap Dad from the publisher in exchange for an honest review. For more information click here.

The Stacks participates in affiliate programs. We receive a small commission when products are purchased through links on this website, and this comes at no cost to you. Shopping through these links helps support the show, but does not effect opinions on books and products. For more information click here.

Ep 11. Talking Books and Soccer with Aaron Dolores Founder of Black Arrow FC

cropped-TheStacks_logo_final.jpgThis week we’re joined by Aaron Dolores, founder of Black Arrow FC, a lifestyle brand that focuses on the intersection of soccer and Black culture. The World Cup starts tomorrow, so we’re talking about Soccer and how it relates to the Black experience. We also discuss story telling in the Black community, when reading doesn’t come so easily, and how challenges in your reading life can effect your relationship to books.

 

Check out everything we discuss right here in the show notes.

BOOKS

BDF1512D-132E-4D9D-8B35-9F1D7D7779E4EVERYTHING ELSE

 

 

Connect with The Stacks: InstagramFacebook | TwitterGoodreads |Traci’s Instagram|iTunes| The Stacks Website|Patreon

Connect with Aaron & Black Arrow FC: Black Arrow Website | Black Arrow Instagram | Black Arrow Facebook | Black Arrow Twitter |Aaron’s Instagram

To contribute to The Stacks, join The Stacks Pack, and get exclusive perks, check out our Patreon page. We are beyond grateful for anything you’re able to give to support the production of this show. If you prefer to do a one time contribution go to paypal.me/thestackspod.

Thank you to this week’s sponsor Audible. To get your FREE audiobook download and FREE 30 day trial go to audibletrial.com/thestacks.

The Stacks participates in affiliate programs in which we receive a small commission when products are purchased through some links on this website. This does not effect my opinions on books and products. For more information click here

Killing Pablo: The Hunt for the World’s Greatest Outlaw by Mark Bowden

24576BC9-7AA9-4F0A-9BF7-B97FAC7376BA.JPGI’m a few weeks away from my first trip to Colombia. I am super excited about this trip and wanted to read up a little on the country and its history. There is no more famous Colombian than Pablo Escobar, so I thought this book would be a good place to start.

Here is a little more on this book

A tour de force of investigative journalism- Killing Pablo is the story of the violent rise and fall of Pablo Escobar, the head of the Colombian Medellin cocaine cartel. Escobar’s criminal empire held a nation of thirty million hostage in a reign of terror that would only end with his death. In an intense, up-close account, award-winning journalist Mark Bowden exposes details never before revealed about the U.S.-led covert sixteen-month manhunt. With unprecedented access to important players—including Colombian president Ceasr Gaviria and the incorruptible head of the special police unit that pursued Escobar, Colonel Hugo Martinez-as well as top-secret documents and transcripts of Escobar’s intercepted phone conversations, Bowden has produced a gripping narrative that is a stark portrayal of rough justice in the real world

This book is a very straight forward look at the manhunt for Pablo Escobar. Bowden has zeroed in on a very short time period for the majority of the book, 1989-1993, and is looking at the downfall of Escobar and the different groups and individuals that made his assassination possible.

The book is dealing with very complex issues, however Bowden barely skims the surface of the contradictions and hypocrisies that are throughout this book. While Escobar was no doubt a villian and a terrorist, the same can be said of the actions by both the US and Colombian governments, something Bowden glosses over.

The book is jammed packed with facts and details about the process of finding and killing Escobar, Bowden does little analysis of this information. It is as if he is relying on the sheer amount of detail to hide from having to grapple with the problematic elements of this story. There are issues at play, related to race and world policing, that would have added a nice layer to this book. Instead, this book feels as if it barely scratches the surface of all that could be said. Killing Pablo is an in depth and well researched look at exactly what happened, it does not go into detail about the much more interesting, why, and how it continues to happen.

If you’re a fan of The Narcos  Series, you may enjoy this book. The show uses this book as some of its main source materials. However I feel that the show is more exciting and engaging than I found this book. It is also worth reading if you are interested in Colombia, mostly to get a sense of how their government functioned in the late 1980s and early 1990s.

If you do pick it up, let me know what you think in the comments.

  • Paperback: 304 pages
  • Publisher: Grove Press; Reprint edition (July 14, 2015)
  • 2/5 stars
  • Buy Killing Pablo on Amazon

The Stacks participates in affiliate programs in which we receive a small commission when products are purchased through some links on this website. This does not effect my opinions on books and products. For more information click here.