Ben Westhoff has infiltrated Chinese drug labs, investigated corrupt trucking schools and recycling programs, squared off with NHL enforcer Tony Twist, exposed Dr. Dre's history of domestic violence, investigated the Nation of Islam's quest to cure Eazy-E of AIDS, prowled the Ozarks with literary great Daniel Woodrell, uncovered exotic new synthetic Balkan drugs, breathed the fumes at the famed laboratory of psychedelic chemist Sasha Shulgin, danced with the world's most famous raver, and hit the club with 2 Live Crew's Uncle Luke. He's an award-winning investigative journalist, cultural reporter, and college professor whose books have been translated into multiple languages. His most recent book Original Gangstas: Tupac Shakur, Dr. Dre, Eazy-E, Ice Cube, and the Birth of West Coast Rap's overwhelmingly positive reviews included raves from Rolling Stone and People, a starred review in Kirkus, a five-star Amazon rating, and made numerous year-end best lists.
Westhoff's work has appeared in the Library of Congress, The Wall Street Journal, NPR, Rolling Stone, Forbes, Playboy, Vice, Oxford American, Pitchfork, and others. He's been honored by the National Association of Black Journalists, the National Entertainment Journalism Awards, Best Music Writing, Best 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.