Great rap stories, delivered weekly.

The AdLib

ISSUE 047 • FEBRUARY 5th 2019
SoundCloud Rap

How SoundCloud Rap Took Over Everything

29 minute read • GQ

In June of 2017, The New York Times' Jon Caramanica wrote about "The Rowdy World of Rap’s New Underground". It was one of the first major stories on a phenomenon that would become known as SoundCloud Rap. After two years mired with controversies, deaths and billions of streams, the genre is the music industry's hottest commodity. From live shows to label headquarters, Carrie Battan circles back with the key players of a movement that keeps getting high on its own supply.
A Tribe Called Quest

The Paths of Rhythm

17 minute read • Longreads

In what appears to be the opening chapter of his new book Go Ahead in the Rain: Notes to A Tribe Called Quest, writer Hanif Abdurraqib convenes the tragic journey of black music and his own discovery of jazz to offer a deep narrative about identity, family, resilience and the transformative power of music. If someone ever asks you What Is Rap?, his words might be a right place to start.
Los Angeles Rap

The New Generation of LA Rap Is Changing Everything

48 minute read • Noisey

L.A. writer (and recent AdLib guest) Torii MacAdams: "For a month-and-a-half during an infernal summer, I drove around Los Angeles asking young men in Compton, Gardena, Hawthorne, Hollywood, Woodland Hills, Playa Vista, and Lancaster to tell me about how their experiences inform their music and, more simply, what the fuck they call it." The output is riveting and rich in details, an immersive study of a city's culture, pitfalls and mutations.
Travis Scott

Is Travis Scott’s Super Bowl performance a misstep, a crowning jewel or history repeating itself?

9 minute read • The Undefeated

As you read this story, the results are in: Travis Scott didn't use his Super Bowl platform to make any major statement, retreating instead in a brief "Sicko Mode" cameo. This essay by Justin Tinsley still provides valuable insights by reminding that Scott is not the first black artist to "cross the metaphorical picket line" in an era of political and racial turmoil.
Cancel Culture

Loving XXXTentacion – how Generation Z are rejecting woke Millennials’ ‘cancel’ culture

12 minute read • NME

There's a lot going on in that NME article that simultaneously addresses the art‑versus‑artist conundrum, generational divides, filter bubbles and the overall weirdness of adolescence. It somehow brings to light the paradoxes of a "cancel culture" that seems equally loud and ineffective, at least to younger audiences.

+ Keith Pille in Slate: What Louis C.K. Could Learn From the Beastie Boys Book

Soulja Boy

The Influencer: A Decade of Soulja Boy

15 minute read • Pitchfork (2015)

Over the last weeks, Soulja Boy had made the rounds to reassess his influence on today's rappers, and gifted the world with at least one meme for the ages. Four years ago, Meaghan Garvey was already championing the pivotal role of the Internet-born rapper. "[He] was the ultimate representation of a brain that had grown up and found solace online" she wrote, "restless, resourceful, chameleonic, quick-witted, with zero patience for anyone unable to keep up."

Our January playlist is here, featuring new tracks
by DaBaby, Chris Crack and Maxo Kream.

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