Title: Let Me Hear a Rhyme
Author: Tiffany D. Jackson
Lyrics by: Malik “Malik-16” Sharif
Reviewed by: Michaelene M
Can you still realize your dreams when you’re no longer alive?
That’s the plot behind Tiffany D. Jackson’s Let Me Hear a Rhyme. When Steph, a Black teen from Brooklyn, is murdered, Steph’s two best friends, Quadir and Jarrell, want to make Steph’s dreams come true as a rapper. They know Steph has enough pre-recorded music that they can make it happen.
Together, they hatch a plot to get Steph signed to a label, but to do that, they need his old music. And to get to his music, they have to make a deal with Steph’s sister, Jasmine. She’ll deliver her brother’s rhymes, but only if they promise to help her discover her brother’s murderer. But where snitching will get you killed, is it a promise that Quadir and Jarrell can keep?
Let Me Hear a Rhyme is filled with an urgency that will keep readers turning the pages! All three teens have to take chances, conceal truths, and decide their futures—not only to realize Steph’s dreams and goals, but their own. I listened to the audiobook and the narration drew me in! There are three separate voices taking on Jasmine, Quadir, and Jarrell. The narrators brought the characters to life, while a fourth narrator handled the backstory and offered glimpses of Steph.
Readers will feel the pain of losing a friend and working through grief, but they’ll also experience the joy found in music, friendship, and healing. The endless pull of tension of how Quadir and Jarrell plan to convince the world that Steph is still alive also keeps everything hanging in the balance.
Jackson delivers a symphony of a novel that celebrates 90s hip-hop and its legends, sheds light on Black history and Black feminism, all the while centering and honoring the memory of Black men whose lives were cut far too short. This is a timely story filled with hope, legacies, and self-discovery.
Let Me Hear a Rhyme is available as a digital ebook and audiobook on the Hoopla Digital Library.