“I’m going to sound like a traitor by saying this, because The Hate U Give was so inspired by Tupac, but On the Come Up is inspired by Biggie Smalls.” —Angie Thomas
We are so close to the release of On the Come Up, book nerds. So. Close. We over here at Epic Reads HQ have been celebrating by having *epic* rap battles (okay, not really), but we HAVE been taking a lot of pride in our official rap names. Haven’t found yours yet? You’re welcome.
Obviously, a huge part of this new book is Bri’s journey as a rapper—it’s about her come up, after all. And as we all know, Angie finds a lot of her inspiration through rap and hip-hop. For this new book, from Biggie Smalls. You can check out more about what she has to say in this video!
How Biggie Smalls Inspired ‘On the Come Up’
We don’t know how we’ve been #blessed enough to have Angie give us so much insight to her stunning books, but everything she says makes total sense. The song “Juicy” really relates to Bri. She gets thrust into the limelight and works really hard to make something out of it, and we love her for it. A lot. Another killer lyric from this song is:
“Yeah, this album is dedicated to all the teachers that told me/I’d never amount to nothin'”
Bri gets a lot of flack from her teachers in On the Come Up. Like Bri says, “Nothing I do is enough. I’m not enough. Except for when I’m too much for my teachers to handle and they send me to the principal’s office.” Bri is pigeonholed as “aggressive,” or disrespectful for finding her voice and using it. Most of her teachers don’t have faith in or patience for her.
Another song Angie talks about is “Sky’s the Limit,” which is Bri and Aunt Pooh’s (AKA the-world’s-most-supportive-aunt) motto.
“Sky is the limit and you know that you can/have what you want, be what you want, have what you want, be what you want”
They want so much for Bri’s career to take off—and they know it can! Bri also takes some other wisdom from “Sky’s the Limit” to heart:
“Only make moves when ya heart’s in it”
Later in the book, you’ll see Bri take a big risk and choose to do what she knows is right for HER—regardless of the consequences. It’s an epic moment and we can’t wait for you to see it!
“Ten Crack Commandments” is yet another Biggie song that relates to On the Come Up. Or, to hear Bri tell it, the ten SNACK commandments.
“I been at this game for months, and the money’s been gradual/So I made some rules, using Big’s manual” —Bri Jackson
Her business plan for her snack-selling business is pulled straight from Biggie’s wisdom. Her hilarious spin-off kills us!
Obviously, Angie’s admiration for the Notorious B.I.G. affected this amazing book, and his lyrics are super inspirational. But (and don’t judge us!) we’re even more in love with Bri’s own lyrics! On the Come Up is filled with epic songs straight from Angie herself, and if that gets you as hyped up as it gets us, don’t forget to read the first five chapters here, and don’t miss On the Come Up—on sale February 5th!
About On the Come Up
This is the highly anticipated second novel by Angie Thomas, the author of the #1 New York Times bestselling, award-winning The Hate U Give.
Sixteen-year-old Bri wants to be one of the greatest rappers of all time. Or at least win her first battle. As the daughter of an underground hip hop legend who died right before he hit big, Bri’s got massive shoes to fill.
But it’s hard to get your come up when you’re labeled a hoodlum at school, and your fridge at home is empty after your mom loses her job. So Bri pours her anger and frustration into her first song, which goes viral…for all the wrong reasons.
Bri soon finds herself at the center of a controversy, portrayed by the media as more menace than MC. But with an eviction notice staring her family down, Bri doesn’t just want to make it—she has to. Even if it means becoming the very thing the public has made her out to be.
Insightful, unflinching, and full of heart, On the Come Up is an ode to hip hop from one of the most influential literary voices of a generation. It is the story of fighting for your dreams, even as the odds are stacked against you; and about how, especially for young black people, freedom of speech isn’t always free.