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ISSUE 055 • APRIL 5, 2019
Nipsey Hussle

The Unfinished Marathon of Nipsey Hussle

5 minute read • The Ringer

"Nipsey Hussle was a rapper, yes, but he was more a motivational speaker. He was also a father and a partner. Above all, he was not finished. But on Sunday, in broad daylight, in the parking lot of the Marathon Clothing store—in front of everything he’d built—Nipsey Hussle was shot and killed. He was 33 years old."
Nipsey Hussle

Nipsey Hussle, a True Hometown Hero

10 minute read • Complex

There was something uplifting and almost anachronistic in the career path of Nipsey Hussle. He embodied a certain idea of what a rap star could still be: Nipsey was a local champion, a disciplined craftsman, and a visionary. He was building a legacy out of patience, inventive strategies and community focus. He occupied a league of his own, between megastars, stream-savvy newcomers and seasoned blue collars. In his eulogy, L.A. native Jeff Weiss remembers the many dimensions of the late rapper, his unlikely and accelerating ascent, all shattered by his senseless murder, last Sunday. "Neighborhood Nip was a brilliant entrepreneur," Weiss writes, "a bridge builder, a philanthropist, a community activist and a spiritual compass, a fearless truth teller, a devoted husband, a loving father, and a powerful symbol of the possibilities in life—while remaining an acerbic critic of the systematic iniquities that deferred the dreams of so many from the community that he tirelessly represented."

+ From The Los Angeles Times: How Nipsey Hussle saw Slauson Avenue

+ Hannah Giorgis in The Atlantic: Nipsey Hussle’s Eritrean American Dream
David Banner

How David Banner’s Sophomore Album Dug Into America’s Ills

12 minute read • Fader

Lately, Fader has done something great: giving space again to longform journalism, and letting writer Paul Thompson deliver in-depth analyses of legacy albums – all without even trying to tie his stories to any anniversary, which is usually the norm. After 50 Cent is the Future and Snoop Dogg's The Doggfather, Thompson revisits David Banner's Mississippi: The Album and its dark context. As always, the writing is brilliant, in a way that makes you want to immediately play the record again.
Ariana Grande

Ariana Grande Was Accused of Copying ‘7 Rings,’ Again and Again… But did she actually do anything wrong?

9 minute read • Vulture

Is "7 Rings" the defining song of our times? It looks so: Ariana Grande's latest hit borrows so many musical patterns that's it's hard to keep track of its actual influences. In a grand gesture reminiscent of Vox's Earworm series or Chilly Gonzales' fascinating masterclasses on pop hits, Vulture's Wayne Marshall goes down the rabbit hole to identify the song's truest roots. We feel smarter: now we know what a Scotch Snap is.

+ Following up on the Lil Nas X country-or-rap debate: What is Musical Genre Exactly?

Gil Scott-Heron

How Gil Scott-Heron Made Way for a Generation of Rap Revolutionaries

8 minute read • Dazed

Last Sunday, Gil Scott-Heron would have been seventy years old. In Dazed, Robert Blair looks into the artist's conflicted relationship with hip-hop, as well as his influence – sometimes obvious, philosophical or even subliminal – on multiple generations of rappers, from 2Pac's "Dear Mama" to countless Kanye West songs.
Hip-Hop Nation

Hip-Hop Nation: It's Like This Y'All

20 minute read • The Village Voice (1988)

Following the closure of New York's own Village Voice, it's quite disheartening to see a staple of local journalism become a zombie digital media. The pale bright side is that the former weekly now casually publishes long-lost archives. Their third issue, dated January 19, 1988 ($1.00) is now available online: it included a "special section" on the Hip-Hop Nation, with words from pioneering writers, and an iconic cover featuring Grand Master Flash, Run-DMC, Roxanne Shanté and many more. 

Our monthly playlist: Rest in Peace, Nipsey Hussle.


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