Ben Westhoff


Photo by Yana Hotter

Photo by Yana Hotter

Ben Westhoff is an award-winning investigative journalist who writes about culture, drugs, and poverty. He has infiltrated Chinese synthetic drug labs, exposed Dr. Dre's history of domestic violence, prowled the Ozarks with literary great Daniel Woodrell, spent time on dangerous St. Louis streets where fentanyl is sold, and danced with the world's most famous raver. His books are taught around the country and have been translated into many languages.

His new book Fentanyl, Inc.: How Rogue Chemists Are Creating the Deadliest Wave of the Opioid Epidemic releases September 3, 2019 in the U.S. (Grove Atlantic) and October 10, 2019 in the U.K. (Scribe). Here’s more information.

His previous book Original Gangstas: Tupac Shakur, Dr. Dre, Eazy-E, Ice Cube, and the Birth of West Coast Rap has received raves from Rolling Stone and People, a starred review in Kirkus, a five-star Amazon rating, and made numerous year-end best lists. More info can be found here.

Westhoff's work has appeared in the Library of Congress, The Guardian, The Wall Street Journal, NPRRolling StoneForbes, PlayboyViceOxford AmericanPitchfork, and others. He's been honored by the National Association of Black Journalists, the National Entertainment Journalism Awards, Religion Newswriters Association, Best Music WritingBest of Southern Food Writing, L.A. Press Club, and the Missouri Press Association.

He has been interviewed as an expert commentator for CNN, BET, A&E, and ITV, and is the former L.A. Weekly music editor and Voice Media Group Senior music editor. He's a contributor to the Smithsonian Anthology of Hip-Hop and Rap, and his 2011 book on southern hip-hop, Dirty South: OutKast, Lil Wayne, Soulja Boy, and the Southern Rappers Who Reinvented Hip-Hop was a Library Journal best seller.