Koontown Killing Kaper
by Bill Campbell
When I first copped "Koontown Killing Paper," I assumed that Bill Campbell was going to produce another book overflown with senseless caricatures of modern day minstrels and mammies. Then I had to really think that the last mainstream cultural references to any minstrels and mammies in parody form was The Boondocks. So something like this has been a long time coming.
Campbell introduces the reader to the city of Koontown with was formerly known as Negrovillea. Koontown is where all the hottest rappers are from and currently reside. Just think of 34 year old grandmothers, crack babies, sky rocketing unemployment rates, and a city morgue that uses conveyor belts and robotic arms to process bodies. Enter, Genevieve Noire, an original super model turned private dick. After recovering from gunshot wounds, she is hired by hip hop mogul Hustle Beamon to learn who is murdering all of Beamon's artists. As soon as Noire starts the case, the bodies continue to pile up.
The reader will definitely enjoy the story. Campbell doesn't just provide laughs, there is several scenes where the characters provide social commentary without sounding too preachy. For example, there is a scene where Noire is being joked by a villain and asked to join the revolution and she declines by saying "I am petty... and bourgeois." Or how many of the rappers Noire interviews graduated from an Ivy League school yet claim to hail from Koontown.
The author doesn't just fill the reader's head with cultural references and social commentary. The writing is actually dope. "Koontown Killing Kaper" is not just a parody of minstrelism, it is also part historical fiction. Survivors of Reaganomics will get it. Campbell does a great job tying all the plot lines together.
The scary part of "Koontown Killing Paper," is how close the parody is to reality. While we might balk at artist names such as "Niggasippe" or "Yo!Nutz," it's not far from the truth. I think this is part of what Campbell is trying to convey. While it's one thing to laugh and point fingers, but often we should pay attention to what we listen to before we negatively criticize what the next generation is listening to. Finally through Noire, the writer asks the question "who should be doing the policing?" It's easy to claim one thing as high brow art and something else as low brow, but who are the gate keepers? Who are we to claim what is civilized and what isn't. Through all the characters in "Koontown," the reader is forced to ask that question.
Even if you want to avoid the socio-political back drop of the book, it is still fun. If you dig a mystery or want to read about a sister fighting enemies with a bo and katana, "Koontown..." is where it's at. If you want to piss your elders or your teenagers off, then purchase a copy. As the author implies, "if you ain't koonin,' you ain't tryin."