Carmen Bryan’s It's No Secret

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(Bryan---It's No Secret, eh?)

Hip Hop is not a one-sided story and neither are the tales that underscore the genre. Beef between artists are common in the game. It sort of comes with the territory. Rappers try to define themselves by their lyrical styles and demeanor. It's a battle and a survival of the fittest as several rap artists fall while their opponents become victors. But what do you do when the victim is a child?   

Author Carmen Bryan, ex-girlfriend to rapper Nas and mother of his only child has decided to put her story in writing. Often compared to the notorious “Superhead,� Carmen's story is quite the opposite.
She doesn't exploit the industry's sex, drugs and violence; instead, she airs her own dirty laundry to the public and conveys her take regarding what really happened during the turmoil between Nas and Jay Z before their recent united front, at Def Jam Records.

Carmen takes the audience way back to the early days of hip hop when things were just beginning for the culture. From Connecticut to Queens Bridge; from Def Jam to Capitol Records; Carmen Bryan tells all—because It's No Secret.
BSN: There were some crazy things said in the book. Not trying to give it away but the crack on Beyonce's breath was the worst. 
Carmen: I'm a Beyonce fan. Nas asked me to put that in the book. People don't know about this but Nas knew about the book from day one. He helped me outline the book. I sent him like five chapters and he was like you gotta put the Beyonce part in there. He wanted Jay Z to know that he could have had that.
BSN: Reading this book lets you in on the reality of the industry. Was that always your plan?
Carmen: One of the objectives was to expose to the public that Celebes are human too. They position them as Gods but they’re not. They are regular ordinary every day people.
BSN: It's crazy how with all of Nas' success you still had to go back to work. 
Carmen: You can have a hit single and be number one in the world and be flat broke.
BSN: When the success started to grow was it hard on your relationship? 
Carmen: Every single waking moment we were together and then it stopped. A culture shock. Any time someone starts to distance themselves from you, you become aggressive. Anytime you have real love and you feel like your losing it—
you, yourself really do lose it. When Nas' career started to peak, it hindered us from creating a loving relationship. He wanted to travel and didn't want to take us with him. And I wanted to go and bring Destiny. But he never took us. And I became resentful but I didn't leave. I wasn't at that point yet. I still loved him. But year after year, I got fed up. Once I decided to do me, first, that was all she wrote.
BSN: How is your relationship now?
Carmen: It's the same. It's up and down.
BSN: How did 50 get involved?
Carmen: I was self publishing. I had my team. I was pitching interviews. He started his own biography and they gave him his own deal so he can put books out. He read my book and he called me. At first, I was like thanks but I'm going to put it out myself. I am aware of corporate America. I know they will exploit it. I wanted it to stay true. So I thought about it and we had another meeting and I took the deal. After that, he introduced me to the editor at Simon and Schuster. It was like one day bio's done we need you to proof it cause its going to print.
BSN: Well, I don't want to talk you too much cause it will spoil the book—
which by the way was a great read. But I will ask, what's next for you?
Carmen: I'm transforming the book into a musical. I have a playwright and he's going to recreate the book in to play form. It's going to be the first real hip-hopera.

Copyright 2006 Tonisha Johnson

Note To Readers: Carmen Bryan will be available @ HUE MAN Bookstore for signings: Wednesday December 20th @ 6PM. HUE MAN BOOKSTORE, Between 124th and 125th St. (212) 665-7400.

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