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Queens Reigns Supreme

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Queens Reigns Supreme

A hip-hop history that interestingly casts rap stars like 50 Cent, Run-DMC, and Ja Rule in secondary roles, Queens Reigns Supreme boldly spills the bloody secrets of street-hustler legends like Lorenzo ”Fat Cat” Nichols and Kenneth ”Supreme” McGriff, who emerged from criminal-minded Queens neighborhoods during the urban drug epidemic of the 1970s and ’80s. Unspooling chronologically with an impressive arsenal of sources, this family-tree-like overview recounts graphic details of routine violence (like the 1988 murder of NYPD rookie-turned-martyr Edward Byrne), while also tracing the ascension of the NYC borough’s aforementioned hip-hop royalty. But while Ethan Brown avoids glamorizing the thug life with even-keeled journalistic chops, the dense roster of slightly underwritten characters often induces fatigue rather than fascination.