Adam Mansbach is most known for his children's book for adults, Go The F--- To Sleep, but his new novel, Rage Is Back, looks to further cement the New York Times bestselling author as an innovative writer. The book -- in which the reader is submerged into the world of graffiti -- has received positive reviews so far, yet it's the author's full-on embrace of graffiti culture in the marketing campaign that is most intriguing: Mansbach is coupling Rage Is Back with a hip hop mixtape companion piece.
While many of the details about the release are still unknown, what we know so far is that J.PERIOD is producing the album, which will drop later this month. And now we have have a first taste with "Rage Is Back (Freestyle)," a track that features The Roots' Black Thought freestyling some hot fire over the beat from Nas' classic “N.Y. State Of Mind.”
The track itself is intriguing, but it’s the overall concept of a mixtape accompanying a book that's more noteworthy.
The mixtape may seem like a marketing ploy to some (and, to be fair, it very well could be), but if it is, it's a smart and creative one. Rapping has become synonymous with hip hop, but in reality, rap is only one of four elements that comprise hip hop culture. The others are DJing, breakdancing, and graffiti. A mixtape -- especially one created specifically for the book -- enhances the reading experience by not just explaining hip hop culture but also by guiding and immersing readers in the sounds, culture, and setting in which the characters live and breathe.
Of course, pairing books with music is hardly a new idea, but few feel as organic and brimming with possibility as Rage Is Back. If the book takes off, publishers might look to tap musicians to help promote new releases. But for now, it's an exciting and intriguing concept for two industries desperately in need of some innovation.