Fallin’ Up: My Story
Keep It on the Positive
364 pages, Illustrated
Book Review by Kam Williams
“When I was young [my] Nanny Aurora hung a dream catcher above my bed. She would read me a story, then tuck me in, kiss me on the check and wish me good dreams. I didn’t know back then what this Native-American charm meant. I now believe it was there to catch my dreams before others crushed them…
Somewhere between chasing my dreams and making them a reality, my grandmother passed away and joined the man she spoke with every day: God. I didn’t know back then what her death meant. I now believe that she passed on to become the angel who saved me from myself; to stop me from taking a wrecking ball to the very dream she helped build…
God doesn’t always give second chances. Not unless you’re really lucky and walk with angels. And believe me, I was one of the lucky ones, performing and dancing with a dream catcher called Nanny whose wings helped me fly and, more importantly, allowed me to remain midair, soaring.”
-Excerpted from the Dedication (pg. xiii)
Jaime Gomez, aka Taboo, is a member of the Black Eyed Peas, the hip-
hop quartet which just performed earlier this month during halftime at this year’s Super Bowl. Despite presently appreciating the group’s stratospheric perch atop the music industry, it wasn’t very long ago that this once-reckless rap star came perilously close to blowing it all.
In his heartfelt autobiography, Fallin’ Up: My Story, Taboo recounts in entertaining fashion how a skinny, half-Chicano/half-Native-American kid raised by his grandmother in the modest Dog Town section of Los Angeles managed to overcome such humble origins and emerge a revered one-name icon with adoring fans the world over. However, part of what makes his rags-to-riches tale unique is the fact well after he was already famous a substance abuse problem almost cost him his career.
Taboo hit rock bottom after being arrested on March 27th of 2007 for rear-ending another driver with his Range Rover while under the influence of a drug cocktail. When he came out of his stupor behind bars hours later, he didn’t know where he was and couldn’t remember what had transpired. But after the cops helped fill in the blanks, he felt so humiliated and disgusted with himself that he says he wanted “to pull off my head and throw it against the wall.”
He credits the spirit of his late grandmother with putting him on the road to redemption at that juncture, a path which would lead to sobriety, reconciliation with his son, Josh, marriage to the love of his life, Jaymie, and then the birth of another son, Jalen. His checkered past fading away in his rearview mirror, this moving memoir reveals the more mature Taboo to be a well-grounded superstar with both his feet now firmly planted on the ground.