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ISSUE 046 • JANUARY 28th 2019
When Hip-hop Lyrics Become Criminal-Trial Evidence

When Hip-hop Lyrics Become Criminal-Trial Evidence

10 minute read • Playboy

Ever since N.W.A., hip-hop artists have been indicted for words they put on records. This worrying trend hasn't died down, even as hip-hop grew to reach global mainstream acceptance. For Playboy, Jeff Weiss speaks to rappers, defense attorneys and university scholars to understand the deeper implications of this judiciary double standard, and what it means for freedom of expression in the US.

  + A new magazine edited by Jess Weiss and a group of independent journalists in Los Angeles, the LAnd has officially published its first issue.
Cardi B

Tomi Lahren and the Right’s Desperate Thirst for Cardi B

14 minute read • The Daily Beast

"The far right doesn’t have a profound philosophy, it has a media strategy" wrote journalist Laurie Penny last year, in an excellent piece on the weaponization of debating by Twitter-era fascists. Her quote comes to mind when seeing the reactions to Cardi B's comments on the US government shutdown, which attracted the same old bunch of alt-right pundits looking for a larger share of voice. In The Daily Beast, Amy Zimmerman explains a moment that, in a way, feels like the negative of Kanye West's MAGA epiphany of 2018.
Lil Tay

The Making and Marketing of a 9-Year-Old Meme Machine

21 minute read • The Cut

Take the most desperate extremes of celebrity culture, the surreal ecosystem of teenage influencers, the irresistible appeal of hip-hop, and you end up with Lil Tay, the 9-year-old daughter of a real estate broker engineered into a viral loudmouth. Her rise to fame – already and thankfully interrupted – feels like an appropriate prelude to the end of the world.
Dame Dash

How Jay Z and Damon Dash's Split Still Impacts Hip-Hop

8 minute read • Trapital

By observing Jay-Z and Dame Dash's diverging business approaches over the last years, Trapital's Dan Runcie brilliantly demystifies the idea that Dash was on the losing side of the Roc-A-Fella split. His analysis doubles as a good case study on two strategic principles: one about partnership, the other about ownership.
Ariana Grande

To Whom Does Ariana Grande’s ‘7 Rings’ Owe Its Sound?

8 minute read • Vulture

"In the new millennium, the aesthetics of pop, of female empowerment, of shining, of flossin’, of poppin’, are now indistinguishable from the look, sound, and language of hip-hop culture" writes Vulture's Lauren Michele Jackson. Diving in the multiple references behind Ariana Grande's latest single, she notes the increasingly blurred lines between appreciation and appropriation – and why the singer might have a pass here.

The True Story Behind DMX's Flesh Of My Flesh, Blood Of My Blood

20 minute read • The Fader (2016)

In March last year, DMX was sentenced to one year in prison for tax evasion. Last Friday, he has been released from Gilmer Federal Correctional Institution in Glenville, West Virginia. As rumors of biopics and new music fly around, let's look back at DMX's signature year of 1998, when the Yonkers MC released back-to-back albums in May and December, and collected seven platinum plaques in the process.

Of Mics and Men is the (quite perfect) title of the upcoming Wu-Tang documentary series. The trailer is here.

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