BLACK MUSIC MONTH READING LIST #4
The world of D Hunter
During the height of her first round of celebrity I saw a photo of Britney Spears in a newspaper. There short singer was moving from her car to a posh party and she was accompanied by a huge black man in a t-shirt. I’d always gotten along well with the big doormen and security guards outside venues. They were often black, big (and sometimes huge) and tended to watch music documentaries, which I was often a talking head in. So, even if my name wasn’t on the list, they’d say “He’s good” and grant me entry. But this photo of this white pop Princess and her black guardian stuck a special chord. I’d enjoyed The Bodyguard and thought, “What if I flipped the script?”
The result was novel called The Accidental Hunter, which starred a bodyguard named D Hunter and was published in 2004. The character was a product of my old Brooklyn neighborhood, Brownsville, and had a family background marked by tragedy and heartbreak. His role as a protector of artists and amateur detective is, to me, an extension of the idea of the bodyguard — the person who literally puts their body between their client and danger. Moreover the best way to help someone is to be proactive in stopping the person or people attacking them.
Each of the five books in the D Hunter “music noir” series is built around some genre of music: in The Accidental Hunter it is R&B and pop, The Plot Against Hip Hop, The Lost Treasures of R&B, To Funk and Die in LA and The Darkest Hearts it is trap. The lore and values of each genre is embedded in the storytelling. A lot of tales I couldn’t tell in my non-fiction work has found its way into the five D Hunter novels. Though my reputation has been built on music history, I probably have had the most fun working in this space where crime, music and character meet. It’s also been a joy to work with Brooklyn based Akashic Boosk, a great independent publisher who’ve done so much to support noir and music based writing.