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ISSUE 044 • JANUARY 14th 2019
 
Earl Sweatshirt
PORTRAIT

Earl Sweatshirt Does Not Exist

16 minute read • Pitchfork

Earl Sweatshirt is an operation, a thing. Thanks to Pitchfork's Sheldon Pearce, we get to know Thebe Kgositsile, the human, and his creative inner workings. Evocative details and vivid quotes abound, like when Earl – or rather, Thebe – calmly describes making music as his "contribution to the tapestry." 
 
Travis Scott
COVER STORY

Travis Scott: In Orbit With Rap's Newest Superstar

21 minute read • Rolling Stone

Fresh off the monstrous success of Astroworld, Travis Scott makes the cover of Rolling Stone for one of those great behind-the-glamour profiles. Journalist Jonah Weiner gets to follow the rapper from his Houston home base to Kylie's Jenner private jet, and miraculously steps out of the rapper's Lamborghini unscathed.
 
Jay-Z
PERSPECTIVE

Before ‘Lemonade,’ Before Fatherhood, Jay-Z Tried to Crush the Youth With “D.O.A.”

8 minute read • The Ringer

In hindsight, a lot of confusing things happened in Jay-Z's music during the decade that separated his 2006 return from the redemptive 4:44 in 2017. In The Ringer, staff writer Tirhakah Love provides many refreshing observations on Jay's 2009-2013 period, where the rapper found himself in a transitional limbo between high-art aspirations and newfound conservatism. The point on Jay-Z's refusal to embrace vocal effects is particularly spot-on.
 
Black Star
CLASSIC

An Oral History of Black Star

30 minute read • Passion of the Weiss

Catching up with great pieces published at the very end of 2018: for Passion of Weiss, Jack Riedy gathered all the creative minds behind Mos Def and Talib Kweli's classic, unearthing interview archives and fresh memories for a track-by-track oral history.
 
Kendrick Lamar
PROFILE

Amid the accolades, Kendrick Lamar refuses to compromise his vision, keeping it homegrown

7 minute read • Los Angeles Times

A miracle happened during the holiday season: after being blocked during many months due to the GDPR mess, the Los Angeles Times is accessible again for people in Europe. Here, right before the Christmas break, Jeff Weiss profiled "the consensus choice for greatest rapper alive", as the TDE-curated Black Panther soundtrack was cruising toward awards season.
 
Missy Elliott
THROWBACK

Missy Elliott's Hip-Hop

21 minute read • The New Yorker (1997)

In 2019, Missy Elliott will be inducted in the Songwriters Hall of Fame. The Virginia native will be the first female hip-hop artist and the third rapper ever to get that recognition (following Jay-Z and Jermaine Dupri). "She is the biggest and blackest female rap star that Middle America has ever seen" rightfully wrote the New Yorker's Hilton Als in this 1997 portrait, as a 26-year-old Missy was stepping into the spotlight with her debut album.
 

An Interview With Mac Miller

In Vulture • Recommended by Donna-Claire Chesman

"Craig Jenkins' writing on Mac Miller may be some of the most important in the wake of his passing. Never one to bathe his discography in death, never one to misrepresent Malcolm, Jenkins' full interview transcript with Mac Miller, published the week after his death, stands to be the best peering into a psyche put to paper.

The ease of their conversation brings us deep into the workings of Malcolm's mind, but more importantly, we sense a reverence between the two creatives. A mutual respect that elevates the writing. This interview is a masterclass in connecting with and giving country to your subject, and the addendum on grief that prefaces the piece is some of the most touching writing Craig has done in recent memory."
 

Donna-Claire Chesman is an East Coast-based music writer. She is a senior writer for DJBooth and content strategist for Audiomack. She recently interviewed The Internet's Syd about Mac Miller.

Our December playlist is here, featuring new tracks by Saba,
Young M.A and Shoreline Mafia.







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