Yesterday, Kid Cudi announced that he’s several chapters into writing his memoir and hopes to publish it next year. The musician, actor and producer, who started as a popular rapper, promises to reveal stories that are not known to his fans or the public in general. Certainly a celebrity memoir should do that. But there’s more to his message than a bit of sensationalism or gossip.
Similarly, rapper Fat Joe released The Book of José last fall to chronicle the path he took from a tough childhood to money and fame. What can these new memoir authors teach us?
1. People Write Memoirs to Inspire
Like many of you non-famous memoir writers, Kid Cudi wants his memoir to inspire people. He tweeted:
“Anybody that has a dream or wants to do anything, especially those kids in those small towns somewhere in the United States or anywhere outside the world, in another country, that just wants to do something great with their lives. This book is gonna give you that push. This book is definitely gonna continue the same formula I started with the music and hopefully it’ll be something you can keep with you and something that can guide you and give you some inspiration and some hope.”
Fat Joe, too, includes inside info on his celebrity friends, but the book is more significant in speaking directly to the next generation to say that anything is possible when you have talent and dream big.
2. There’s No Wrong Time to Write Your Memoir
Fat Joe is 52, and Kid Cudi is 39. You might call their books their life so far. They are not finished with life or career, but the tale of how they became successful won’t change, so why not write it now?
When you have a story arch in your life, that’s fodder for a memoir. One person with only one life can write multiple memoirs, each focused on a different era of that life.
3. Other Creativity Can Accompany, But Not Replace, Memoir
Kid Cudi and Fat Joe have been rappers for a long time. Haven’t they said in song all they want to say? Kid Cudi has acted in scores of TV shows and movies, and Fat Joe created a new standup comedy routine to supplement his book. But memoir stands alone, apart from the other creative projects, because memoir is unique. It’s a book about the author by the author in the author’s voice.
You can read it on screen or hold the book in your hand. You can give it as a gift. There’s nothing like seeing your own truth on the page in black and white, available for all time.
4. The Memoir Genre Is as Hot as Ever
With all that these guys have going on, you wouldn’t think they would bother putting out a traditional vehicle like a memoir. As you authors know, it takes a lot of time and trouble to write a memoir. Even if they have a co-writer, they have to give it their attention.
But memoir—celebrity or otherwise—continues to be a popular nonfiction genre. While memoir has given Fat Joe and Kid Cudi a respected way to express themselves, they’ve given back to the memoir genre their personal stamp of approval. Their fans get to experience memoir by learning more about someone they admire. They get to have hope, because these authors give them that hope.
No wonder even in this time of texting, tweeting, TikTok and general quick fixes, a memoir—an actual book—still connects with both writers and readers.