Great rap stories, delivered weekly.

The AdLib

ISSUE 052 • MARCH 14, 2019
The Source

Memories of an Editor: Selwyn Seyfu Hinds on the February 99 Issue of The Source

13 minute read • The AdLib

If you read this newsletter regularly, you may have noticed that we hold hip-hop and journalism in equally high regards. For our first original story, it was only natural for us to explore the inner workings of a hip-hop magazine. We interviewed Selwyn Seyfu Hinds, the former Editor-in-chief of The Source, who walked us through an issue released two decades ago: the 1999 "Power 30" issue with cover stars Puff Daddy, Russell Simmons and Master P. 
The Women Shaping Southern Hip-Hop

Meet the Women Shaping Southern Hip-Hop

11 minute video • Red Bull Music Academy

In a new installment of their progress-minded Momentum series, Red Bull Music Academy reunites multiple generations of artists to shine a light on the trailblazing women of southern hip-hop. This episode features Tennessee's icons La Chat and Gangsta Boo, upstarts bbymutha and Rico Nasty, and a terrific cinematography, courtesy of director Danielle Oexmann.
Lil Peep

The Tragedy and Torment of Lil Peep

34 minute read • Rolling Stone

Over the last months, there has been a lot of stories about the complicated path to Lil Peep's posthumous album. This report, by Rolling Stone's David Peisner, may offer the deepest look into the late rapper's life, his aura, and his devastating drug addictions. It's a tough read filled with alarming details, and an all-too-familiar cautionary tale.
Juice WRLD

Juice WRLD Is Ready To Go From Streaming Superstar to Hip-Hop Great

15 minute read • Billboard

Last week, we talked about this Lil Pump portrait in Vulture, and how it was hard to find any depth in the rapper's rich-and-don't-give-a-fuck posturing. This piece on Juice WRLD is also set in a mansion with a young streaming millionaire, but the comparison stops there: talking to Meaghan Garvey, the Chicago rapper is poised and thoughtful, despite the lavish promises of becoming a top-tier pop icon.

+ More Lil Pump in Buzzfeed: "Remember being an 18-year-old guy and thinking the pinnacle of manhood was being able to fuck a porn star while a whole squad of people in the kitchen roll joints for your pleasure? Here, that dream is alive."
Cash Money

Can Cash Money, The Label That Launched Drake and Nicki Minaj, Strike Platinum Again?

10 minute read • Forbes

"Reimagining Capitalism" is the headline of Forbes' latest cover, as the magazine promises to present "[their] blueprint for a new American dream". Sadly, Brian and Ronald Williams, the head honchos of Cash Money Records, are not quoted, but they still get to hint at their next moves in a long digital story. How exactly does the Cash Money system works, the story doesn't really say, and the myth stays intact. "Would I ever do business with them again?" asks industry veteran Wendy Day, "Hell no. But their history and impact can’t be denied." 
2 Chainz

2 Chainz: Second Life

13 minute read • The Fader (2012)

The release of 2 Chainz's fifth solo album, Rap Or Go To The League, came with new questions on the rapper's status as an all-time great. 2 Chainz is most certainly enjoying one of the most impressive second acts in rap history, after his early years as one half of the duo Playaz Circle. Back in 2012, writer Andrew Noz profiled the Atlanta rapper, who was then on the brink of stardom.
Slippery When Wet

Slippery When Wet

In Elle • Recommended by Chris O'Connell

"I can't stop thinking about "Slippery When Wet", Kat Stoeffel's recent profile of the so-called Kayak Killer for Elle. Angelika Graswald spent a little more than two years in prison for criminally negligent homicide, after her fiance drowned during a kayak trip down the Hudson River in 2015. The piece is divisive because the subject is complex, and it touches on a variety of subjects interesting to me: the interior life of a relationship, meditations on grief, the Russian disposition, coerced confessions, and, of course, born again Christianity. There's even a cameo from Amanda Knox.

True crime is in the zeitgeist right now, but most of the more popular ones revolve around the singular question: are they guilty or innocent? While Stoeffel's story ponders the evidence—Graswald took a plea deal mainly because of a bizarre, endless interrogation in which she shows no remorse for him being dead—it's really a larger story about how women are treated differently when people die in front of them, especially men. Women, Stoeffel deftly explains, are expected to be natural caretakers, so why didn't Graswald do more to save her fiance? Did Stoeffel not grieve "the right way?" Was Graswald treated differently because this was to be her third marriage?

And then Amanda Knox, famous for being a defendant in the trials of the murder of Meredith Kercher, shows up. Knox allegedly did a cartwheel at the police station immediately after the crime (which she still denies), which is echoed in a series of Facebook posts by Graswald after her fiance's death, namely, one of her kayaking, with the caption: “If I only could have paddled harder, dammit...” and a video of her doing a cartwheel herself. You can't make this stuff up.

The story—and accompanying photo shoot—do not help Graswald's public persona. In the story, Stoeffel accompanies Graswald to the scene of the crime along the Hudson River for an interview, which I am sure some people will see as insensitive. The portrait taken in Graswald's bathtub is even more shocking: her blank face is submerged, a bubble protruding from each nostril. It's evocative and cold and loaded and perhaps in poor taste. It's illegal to kill, which Graswald may or may not have actually done, and which Stoeffel does not make a judgment on in her piece. But as we know, it's not illegal to be an asshole."

Chris O'Connell is a writer and editor based in Austin, Texas. He recently wrote a terrific piece about the Houston home of DJ Screw's legacy, Screwed Up Records & Tapes.

March 9, 2019: journalists Elliott Wilson and Keith Murphy share vintage interviews of The Notorious B.I.G., who died 22 years ago.


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