Despite the often-truculent image portrayed in the media, hip-hop artists have been known to lend a hand when it comes to educating, helping and inspiring the world’s next generation. And one lane rappers frequent is the the realm of children’s books. Pharrell Williams is the latest to annex his name to the growing list with the “Happy” children’s picture book hitting shelves. Take a look at some of the other hip-hop icons who can add author to their resume.
On Tuesday (Feb. 17), Putnam Books for Young Readers announced that Pharrell has signed an agreement to produce four children’s picture books with the publishing company. The first in the series is inspired by his Grammy-winning record “Happy” and will hit shelves on Sept. 22. The book will feature “photographs of children from around the world ‘celebrating what it means to be happy,’” according to Billboard.
Texas’ Bun B released Bun B’s Rap Coloring and Activity Book in conjunction with writer/illustrator Shea Serrano back in 2013. Amazon cites The Washington Post as describing the book as “what every hip-hop head wishes they had as a child.”
At the turn of the year, Danny Brown announced that he was working on a children’s novel intended to promote self-esteem in young Black women. His vision of the book? “Real Dr. Seuss-y.”
“You know how black women do so much? Process their hair, change their eye color, do so much,” Danny Brown said at the time. “It’s really about a little girl who does all these things to herself and changes herself and she realizes she’s just better off the way she is.”
LL Cool J
In 2002, LL Cool J released And the Winner Is…, a novel centered on a burgeoning basketball player and their quest to learning the invaluable trait of good sportsmanship — no matter the result of the game. The narrative explores the importance of handling oneself gracefully, both on and off the court, and still resonates with kids today, over a decade after initially hitting the shelves.