Saturday, July 18, 2009

Re-visting "Unsigned Hype" by Booker T. Mattison

It isn't often that I revisit a book I've already reviewed. But a kind, gentle soul emailed me and requested that i take a second look at a book that had a powerful message for today's youth culture.

That gentle man was Booker T. Mattison. I will be forever grateful that he reached out to me, encouraged me, and I listened.

I still am not the target audience for his novel, "Unsigned Hype". However, I have received an education into the culture surrounding hip-hop and rap music that I will never forget.

Booker takes us inside the head of a young man with big dreams of being a musical star. He can create beats and rhythms that move people. He has a gift for hip-hop and rap, and he knows it.

Tory Tyson, known as Terror Tory, is blessed with a Moms who prays and who believes in Jesus. She is raising her three sons alone, their father gunned down before Tory ever had the chance to know him.

Mr. Lord, a man at their church, takes an interest in Tory, and he demonstrates what a difference a Godly, righteous man can make in the life of a young boy, especially one without a father.

Precious, Mr. Lord's daughter (yes, Precious Lord---it comes up frequently in the novel!), demonstrates how easy it is to influence others for Christ, without being weird or just being real to who you are in Jesus.

And the Christian rap and hip-hop culture demonstrates how needed these artists are to reach those who are enthralled by this music. For it isn't just a style of music--it's an entire way of life.

Booker T. Mattison's book must NOT be missed. We all get caught up in our favorite genres, and we tend to stick to what we love and are familiar with. This is a lesson in reading outside our comfort zone, outside the box, to learn things we might never know.

I am now better equipped to reach this generation for Jesus than I was before I read this novel. I still don't understand it all, but I don't have to. I can at least relate to their thought patterns, their choices, the why behind the behaviors, and the need for love, acceptance, family, success...and prayer.

Above all, the need for Jesus to these who love and adore this style of living, this style of music, and this way of life. Booker gave me an education that is hard to put a price on...I encourage you to read his book.

He's going on my must read list, and I plan on having my kids read his novel as well. My daughter is so into rap you'd be shocked...but she'll love this story. My son's hero is Toby Mac (even my grandson digs Toby, and he's only 3 months old!).

Let's step outside of ourselves once in a while and read beyond what we know. We might miss out on something truly unique and eye-opening if we do. For that reason, I'm giving "Unsigned Hype" five out of five bookmarks, and voting it "Best Urban Youth Fiction of 2009".

I also publicly thank Mr. Mattison for reaching out to me and encouraging me to re-visit Tory's story. His gentle spirit communicated via email has made him a dear brother in Christ and a friend to me. God bless him and his writing!

Happy Reading!


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