Thugs. Drug deals gone awry. Passionate romance. Readers can find all of these things and more in the popular urban fiction genre. Urban fiction, also known as “street literature” or “hip-hop lit,” acts for some as a depiction of inner-city life that other books don’t represent; for others, as a fun and sensational guilty pleasure. With steamy sex scenes that could make Harlequin fans blush, loose usage of swear words and raw violence, these titles are not recommended for those who may be easily offended.

Listening to the audiobook for Justify My Thug by Wahida Clark is like listening to a radio dramatization or a stage play. The narrators are voice actors who bring life to each character. There are even sound effects (a fist fight, a cell phone ringing, a door slamming) to add dramatic flair. The story is told from alternating points of view between a large cast of characters, including Tasha, Angel, Kaylin, Kyron, Trae, Jaz, Faheem, Oni and Trina. Clark calls her stories “hip-hop soap operas” and that’s an accurate description with infidelity, imprisonment and intrigue being a running theme through all of her titles. Justify My Thug is the sixth book in the Thug series, which began with Thugs and the Women Who Love Them.

In Heartbreak of a Hustler’s Wife, Nikki Turner continues her Hustler’s series with a story of family man and preacher, Des – who also happens to be the head of a crime ring. His estranged daughter, Desember, comes to join the family and brings her own baggage, including a pension for robbery, selling stolen goods and dating bad boys. The titular Hustler’s Wife Yarni is a lawyer, trying to keep her family together as they are surrounded by drama and violence. Other popular titles from Nikki Turner include Black Widow and Ghetto Superstar.

Writing team Ashley & JaQuavis present a series of short action-packed stories in Girls From da Hood 6. The first tells the tale of the “Red Bottom Bandits” – friends Raegan, Gucci and Chanel who support their “hood-rich” lifestyle by robbing drug dealers and other big name hustlers wearing their red bottomed Christian Louboutin heels. Girls From da Hood 6 also includes The Takedown about childhood friends Javona and Lisette, who steal money from rich men until it goes too far … and Shaquille O’Neal’s fictional brother winds up dead! The book wraps up with Beauty and the Streets, a love story tangled in drugs, domestic abuse and other “sheisty” behavior.

Check out the Urban/Street Lit suggested title list in Content Reserve for even more great titles to add to your collection!

*Title availability may vary by geographic location.

Melissa Work is a marketing & outreach associate at OverDrive.

5 Responses to “Every day I’m hustlin’: Urban Fiction eBooks & audiobooks”

  1. Diana Dillinger

    I have another question. Is there a good way for our patrons to search for Urban fiction? The only way I’ve found so far is go to advance search and put African American in the keyword search box. There appears to be no subject heading for this.