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Posted by Robert
Rap News Network
7/27/2004 10:44:05 AM

Tags and topics realted to this article include Various Artists.

Some state and local law enforcement agencies have been trying to buy up
copies of a gang-themed coloring book in order to keep them off the
streets, according to employees of a Columbia bookstore.
At least two people identifying themselves as State Law Enforcement
Division officers approached employees of a Barnes & Noble bookstore on
Harbison Boulevard several weeks ago and asked if the store stocked
Gangsta Rap Coloring Book by Aye Jay Morano. "They were wanting to buy
them all up and demand we didn't carry them again," says Matt Boyleston,
an employee of the store who lives in Columbia.
Boyleston says he searched for the coloring book but didn't find it in
the store. "They didn't want to believe me," he says of the SLED agents.
On June 30, Boyleston says, a SLED officer returned to ask about the book.
SLED spokeswoman Kathryn Richardson says she hasn't heard about any
efforts to buy up Gangsta Rap Coloring Book.
Julie Ellis, manager of the Harbison Barnes & Noble, says she had an
encounter similar to Boyleston's with someone claiming to be from the
Lexington County Sheriff's Department. "It was a couple of onths ago,"
Ellis says. "They called and asked that we not carry it. They said there
was too much gang activity in Lexington County and they didn't want us
to promote it. I told them it depends on what the company wants to do."
Capt. John Allard, spokesman for the Lexington County Sheriff's
Department, says the department's gang investigators have heard about
the coloring book but haven't tried to stop it from being sold.
At the Richland County Sheriff's Department, spokesman Lt. Joseph
Pellici says, "This is not even on our radar screen."
Gangsta Rap Coloring Book has created quite a stir since Morano, a
California-based freelance artist, self-published it in 2001. The book
has been reviewed in GQ and JANE magazines and has been picked up by San
Francisco-based publisher Last Gasp.
Morano says the content was not targeted at children. "It was meant for
the mature customer," he says, adding that most movies have far more
violence in them than his coloring book does.
The 48-page book features black and white line drawings in the style of
a children's coloring book, but focusing on gangsta rappers and
producers like DMX, 50 Cent and Suge Knight. In some drawings, the
subjects wield guns or knives, often in poses echoing famous album covers.
Morano's success with Gangsta Rap Coloring Book has encouraged him to
work on follow-ups, including Heavy Metal Fun Time Activity Book and
another volume of his earlier Indie Rock Connect the Dots. In his books,
Morano balances tongue-in-cheek humor with a genuine affinity for his
subjects.
Ironically, Boyleston says, law enforcement's attempts to buy up the
book at Barnes & Noble only increase demand for it and encourage the
bookstore chain to carry more copies. "If you buy it up," Boyleston
says, "we're going to get it right back."
Morano is grateful for the interest in his book and the publicity
generated by efforts to keep it under wraps. "I still make my 63 cents
per copy," Morano says.

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