Reaction videos started flooding TikTok this summer, all of them with the same question: Who is Quan Millz?
The answer varied depending on the person, but each new response carried with it some variation of curiosity, shock, and excitement. “If you enjoy watching shows like Paternity Court,” one TikTok user commented, “or old school Maury Povich, if you’re old enough to remember Jenny Jones and Ricki Lake, you too might enjoy this reading experience.” Read another caption: “Quan Millz is so unhinged we must protect him at all costs.”
There seemed to be no corner of the internet Millz had not reached. On the podcast Sleeping In Mom’s Bed, rapper Danny Brown recited some of his favorite books to host Christina B. “I want to collect every book this motherfucker got,” he said, laughing, as they scrolled through Millz’s eye-popping, sometimes X-rated book titles. There was Pregnant By My Husband’s Granddaddy and Tax Season Thot. So, Hoe Yo Coochie Stank: A Bacterial Vaginosis Love Story. And who could forget, Let Me Smell Your Dick. “All Black men have been through these things,” Brown joked. “I don’t even really want to read them. I’m gonna start collecting them like Pokémon cards.”
Brown’s point being this: Very little is known about Millz except for the fact of his prolific output. He is an author who has self-published dozens of books but, until very recently, has evaded real mainstream attention. The bulk of Millz’s books are available on Amazon for less than $1, and fall squarely within the subgenre of street lit, a category of American literature known for its controversial and confrontational realism of Black life in the “inner city.”
Buzz around Millz’s work started in July, when a TikTok user by the name of @justdesean posted a Video to his page. He wondered if his 223,000 followers knew who Millz was. At the time, most people outside the very-insular worlds of street lit, urban fiction, and Black romance hadn’t. “I want to know which book you’re likely to pick up and read,” he said. “Are you braced?” What followed was the discussion of group chats and comment sections for weeks to come. The books he highlighted are some of Millz’s most polarizing titles, like Becky Put Raisins in the Potato Salad, to which @justdesean exclaimed, “Look at the potato salad! Hell no!” When he got to Old Thot Next Door—if social media is any indication, Millz’s most recognized title—he wondered, “Whose grandma is that?” The video exploded across TikTok, seemingly reaching Twitter and Instagram feeds overnight, and has since garnered more than 2.1 million views.
As online chatter intensified, the mystery of Millz’s identity persisted. Who was he?
Raised in Miami, Millz first started writing in 2014 on the advice of a friend, his former business partner and coauthor N’Dia Rae. (Rae is also a fairly prolific author in the genre whose Ashes to Ashes, Dust to Side Chicks trilogy, a story about sisterhood and the loss of trust, was described on Goodreads as “a page-turning jackpot.”) He wasn’t that far out of college, and was working various odd jobs. Rae convinced him that this was an easy way to earn passive income. Millz dabbled in romance writing at first, writing under a different pen name, but found a more energized readership in street lit. In 2017, he officially went solo, carving out a unique niche in a genre already overflowing with stories of visceral originality.