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Book Review - Objective Hate: The Prequel by Troi “Star” Torain

There are two books that represent my transition from youth to manhood. They are Confessions Of An S.O.B. by Al Neuharth and Manchild In The Promised Land by Claude Brown. Before reaching 20 years of age these were the books that caused me to deeply explore my behavior and attitudes; my understandings and beliefs; the essence of my mind, heart and soul.

Reading Manchild In The Promised Land was a poignant experience as Claude Brown reminded me so much of what I imagined my father – who grew up in Harlem and Brooklyn - was like, before I knew him. It was Claude Brown’s words, but it was my father’s voice that I often heard, as I compared my inner thoughts and the more private experiences of my youth, with the notes, anecdotes and jewels of wisdom from this Black man who was laying it all out for me in book form.

Confessions Of An S.O.B., provided grist for the mill of my own inner leanings toward outspokenness and entrepreneurship. The self-told story of the man who founded USA Today was also my own, I felt. This White man was giving me a picture of the path he walked to rise – in uncompromising fashion – from rags to riches, and I loved it, dug it and related to it. Perhaps, that book, had more than just something to do with fueling my passion for journalism and publishing.

Reading Objective Hate: The Prequel, the new book by Troi “Star” Torain took my mind back to those earlier and formative days, and while only a few chapters in, I soon realized the potential of this book to do for others what the previously mentioned books did for me.

In this easy-to-read manifesto, Star brings the worldview, language and wisdom heard on his radio program, but marries it with the kind of perspective and context that only a book allows. We always knew what Star stood far. Now, with Objective Hate we know much more about why he stands for it, and what he went through to be able to take that stand. That alone is worth the price of admission.

Without question one of the book’s most valuable attributes is that it takes us into one of the most brilliant entrepreneurial minds to enter the arena of Hip-Hop and the radio industry. If you suspected it, wondered about it, or could not get yourself to fully accept it, Objective Hate ends the debate. Star is one of the shrewdest, patient, aggressive, and calculating individuals you will ever want to encounter in business. This is no ordinary Negro. He knows when to ‘sell out,’ or ‘fight the power;’ cultivate or provoke; and renew and re-invent himself. In short, he seems to be aware of his relative power at all times, and aligns it with his personal motivation and goals in business.

The portions of the book that deal with how Star established and grew his controversial magazine “Around The Way Connections”; parlayed experiences working in the mailroom of music industry companies; perfected his skills through public access TV (“This path was extremely beneficial to me because it gave flight to my vision, while sharpening my tongue,” he says); dealt with the management of Hot 97 regarding the “The Aaliyah Controversy”; maneuvered to enter the cross hairs of Jewish militants; handled the transition from Emmis Communications to Clear Channel; and reconceptualized his termination by the multinational corporation; all make it clear that anyone who underestimates this man does so at their own loss. In 2003 I verified that Star’s uncertain employment status at Hot 97 had actually negatively affected the stock price of Emmis Communications. Few know that this fact was acknowledged in a court case.

If you are looking for topical items, worthy of political chatter and industry gossip, this book will more than satisfy you. Star’s rating of the female guests on his show – everyone from Mya to Eve to Jill Scott and India.Arie alone should suffice. Not to mention his critique of the “benefactors of capitalism,” which include Rev. Jesse Jackson, Madonna, and Noam Chomsky, among others.

But, if you are looking for a stimulating nexus point for your economic, political and cultural interests and personality, Objective Hate is most appropriate. You want to get an idea of who Star is looking to reach next? His book provides clues and drops plenty of crumbs for the curious mind. By all appearances Star is dead serious when he says he wants to speak to the new intellectuals.

The most political, progressive and informed man in radio has penned a literary masterpiece. Objective Hate is a definitive reference point - a lighthouse in an ocean of cultural darkness, by which this generation can examine itself, its motives and its influence. However much he may shock, or make us laugh along the way, this one man's voice, insights and accomplishments - his journey - must be taken seriously. For the illiterate and the learned, Star is an essential leader, and Objective Hate - the essential book. We are all intellectuals now.

Order your copy of Objective Hate at:

Cedric Muhammad

Friday, December 1, 2006

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