Book Reviews

Review: Let Me Hear a Rhyme by Tiffany D Jackson

Let Me Hear a Rhyme is a gripping story about grief, honoring people’s memories, and secrets. I can’t even imagine how amazing the audiobook will be when you can hear the raps.


Biggie Smalls was right. Things done changed. But that doesn’t mean that Quadir and Jarrell are okay letting their best friend Steph’s tracks lie forgotten in his bedroom after he’s killed—not when his beats could turn any Bed-Stuy corner into a celebration, not after years of having each other’s backs.

Enlisting the help of Steph’s younger sister, Jasmine, Quadir and Jarrell come up with a plan to promote Steph’s music under a new rap name: The Architect. Soon, everyone in Brooklyn is dancing to Steph’s voice. But then his mixtape catches the attention of a hotheaded music rep and—with just hours on the clock—the trio must race to prove Steph’s talent from beyond the grave.

Now, as the pressure—and danger—of keeping their secret grows, Quadir, Jarrell, and Jasmine are forced to confront the truth about what happened to Steph. Only each has something to hide. And with everything riding on Steph’s fame, together they need to decide what they stand for before they lose everything they’ve worked so hard to hold on to—including each other.


(Disclaimer: I received this book from Edelweiss. This has not impacted my review which is unbiased and honest.)

Let Me Hear a Rhyme fills your head with secrets, your ears with music, and your heart with tenderness. I can’t figure out which character I loved best in this multiple point of view story. Jasmine and her unwavering desire to speak out, to educate people. Quandir’s conflict about his future and the people he’s surrounded himself with. And Jarrell and the ways he has to challenge his own preconceptions.

The story of Let Me Hear a Rhyme is not only told with interspersed moments of time narrated by Steph, but also framed by the mystery of who killed Biggie Smalls. This writing allows the reader to glimpse snippets of who Steph was, and the passion he had in his heart for his friends, his family, and his community.


Let Me Hear a Rhyme, the title of the book, is how Quadir and Jarrell asked Steph to rap for them. It’s a way of them connecting to his memory, as well as their way to express things they feel, but don’t know how to put to the beat. The characters are truly where Let Me Hear a Rhyme shines. They are struggling with their grief, with relationships that are one-sided, with choices that are morally grey, and with their own quest for justice.


It’s a book that asks us about our individual choices. About what we will do for our family, friends, and community. A theme that is brought up is the line between snitching and protection. Between when we will speak up for our loved ones or not at all. It’s a mystery, but it’s also a story about honoring our memories of the past, about trying to gain closure, and about friendship.

Find Let Me Hear a Rhyme on Goodreads, Amazon, Indiebound & The Book Depository.


What are your other favorite books that need their own musical tracks? I also love This is What it Feels Like!

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