Q&A: Shea Serrano explains why he loves Wisconsin basketball, how he became a best-selling author

first_imgNew York Times Best Selling Author and popular Twitter user Shea Serrano took the time to talk about Wisconsin basketball, J.J. Watt, his latest book, “The Rap Year Book: The Most Important Rap Song From Every Year Since 1979, Discussed, Debated, and Deconstructed,” among other things, in an exclusive interview with The Badger Herald.Here is Part I of the Q&A:The Badger Herald: It seemed towards the end of the Wisconsin-Xavier game that it became apparent on your Twitter account that you were a big fan of Wisconsin basketball. How did that come about? Was it just this Wisconsin team that stole your heart?Shea Serrano: No, it was last year’s team. It was with Frank [Kaminsky] and Sam [Dekker] and all those other guys.BH: What about that team made you a fan?SS: Those two guys specifically seemed like they were really having a good time playing basketball. You can tell when somebody is out there and it is fun for them. They weren’t worried about any pressure. They wanted to win obviously, but they were excited about being on a big stage and having everybody look at them. Also, Frank was just giving everybody hell. I just was watching them and you get caught up in the tournament and you got to find a team. And then Sam ended up on the Rockets and I live near Houston, so now I follow him. He was really excited about the tournament, so I was watching what he was going to say. Then I got caught up in it, and that boy [Bronson] Koenig started going off. And here we are. Now I have a college basketball team.Men’s basketball: Koenig sinks Xavier with back to back daggersThere was no better place to end the game than from the spot where Bronson Koenig launched his three pointer as Read…BH: Sticking with Wisconsin, you, being a huge Houston Texans fan, are required to love Wisconsin alum J.J. Watt. I know you did a story at Grantland where you spent a day with him and I loved that. But I must say, I can’t stand him despite the fact Badgers are expected to love him. So, I must ask you now, do you truly love J.J. Watt?SS: You’re asking if I truly love the best football player in the league? Yes. I love him a lot.BH: So nothing about him bothers you one bit?SS: I can see where if he’s not on your team, his whole Captain American shtick can be a little much. I get that. But it’s great for me because he’s not sacking my quarterback. So, I love him.BH: Moving on to some of the cool stuff you’ve done. With “The Rap Year Book,” can you talk about how the idea to write it came about and why you wanted to do it?SS: The idea came from my editor at the book company and that was all her idea. I didn’t want to do it at first, because when she told it to me I was picturing just straight text. I didn’t know initially that they were going to let me do whatever I wanted to do. So I didn’t want to do it. I think about a month or so passed and my wife and I decided that we wanted to move. We were in a town home, we had another kid, we needed some more space, so we needed money for a house. So I called my publisher back and said that book was actually a pretty good idea after all, so let’s do that. And that’s just how it started. Once I got into it, they basically told me I could do what I want with it, do whatever I wanted. I was writing it the way I wanted to write it.BH: Now, after the book was finished, you just promoted the crap out of it, to the point where you had an army of Twitter followers that would just buy up to six books on command. Did you expect it to turn into that and at any point did you feel bad that you essentially had your Twitter follower under mind control, forcing them to go to a Barnes & Noble for the first time in their life?SS: That was just a thing that happened. When I was first trying to promote “The Rap Coloring Book,” I was trying to promote it in a traditional way. I was trying to get like Rolling Stone or MTV to write about it. That was my plan because I thought if enough people saw it that way, then people would buy it. With this one, I had maybe 30,000 or 40,000 people following me on Twitter, so I thought I should try this myself and make a little bit of noise on Twitter and then maybe news stories would come up naturally after that. It worked out way better than I thought it would. I think a big part of it was I just built up enough good will from being on Twitter long enough. You can’t just show up on Twitter without having been there for awhile and say, “Hey, buy this book.” You got to have people who feel like they are rooting for you, and I think that’s just what ended up happening there.BH: Well it clearly all worked out, because the book was a New York Times Best Seller. Can you talk about the moment when you first got that news?SS: I was in Los Angeles for a book signing, and the next day my editor called me on the day I knew the list was supposed to be announced, and at that point, it was a relief more than anything else. Because by that point, I had already said so many times that we were going to do this. We were going to be on the Best Seller’s list. I didn’t want to be the guy who says they are going to win and then doesn’t. So it was just a big release more than anything else.BH: Now, I know we are only three months into 2016, but is it possible to just call the race over and say the entire “Life of Pablo” album is the most important rap song of the year?The Badger Herald reacts: Kanye’s dropped album via live feed in signature lavish styleToday, Kanye West streamed his live album premiere from Madison Square Garden for the world to see. Four members of Read…SS: Yeah … probably not. I think a lot of people didn’t like it, or at least less people liked it than I thought they would. I liked it. But it’s going to be hard to pick one song off that album that is the most important, but if one of them has a chance, I think it’s going to be “Ultralight Beam.” I think maybe just because of the way it ties the church to rap again, and I think we are going to have this big trend where more and more rappers are going to start rapping about church. It’ll probably be Kendrick, if I had to take a guess.last_img

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