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ISSUE 048 • FEBRUARY 11th 2019
21 Savage

21 Savage and the False Promise of Black Citizenship

9 minute read • The Atlantic

The arrest of 21 Savage speaks volumes on the ongoing damages done by anti-immigrant policy in the US. By claiming that the rapper's "whole public persona is false", Immigration and Customs Enforcement representatives made clear, as writer Briana Younger noted, "that Savage's arrest was about humiliation more than it was about justice" (21 Savage is a British national, but has lived in the US since a young age). In The Atlantic, staff writer Hannah Giorgis looks at the rapper's detention to examine the historical flimsiness of citizenship for Black Americans.

+ Jon Caramanica on the ill-advised 21 Savage memes: "the events of the last few days underscore the ways in which the hard power of government authority and soft power of online conversation can align in peculiar and insidious ways."

Rick Rubin

Rick Rubin and the Early Days of Hip-hop in New York City

30 minute read • Vulture

In a new book, author Geoff Edgers tells the story of the song that changed American music forever: Run-DMC and Aerosmith's "Walk this Way". Vulture publishes an excerpt that sheds light on Rick Rubin's formative years at New York University, his musical education, and the influence of his lesser-known mentors.

+ In 2013, Rick Rubin paid homage to Ric Menello, the movie expert who helped shape his cultural knowledge.

Kanye West

Understanding Kanye West's Label Lawsuit: Why 'Ye Is Fighting the Record Industry

7 minute read • Complex

Olivia de Havilland was a movie star from the thirties. She helped create a law that guarantees that any worker can get out of a contract after seven years. Fast forward to 2019: Kanye West is suing both his record label and publishing company on the same basis – except this law doesn't yet apply to recording artists. For Complex, Shawn Setaro explains a conflict that takes place between legal lines.

Give The Drummer Some: Questlove

60 minute audio • Red Bull Music Academy

"What song can I do to make motherfuckers want to do the Carlton dance?" Ever the great storyteller, Questlove is the first guest on J-Zone's new radio show dedicated to legendary drummers. You're in for a treat if you love insanely specific tales about taped drums and sound gating. A text excerpt is also available

+ Resurfaced: a lost, hour-long J Dilla interview from 2003.
Cardi B

Welcome to the Cardi Party

8 minute read • Village Voice

Feels like every week comes with a new episode of the Cardi B saga: the government shutdown's shutdown, the Super Bowl kind-of-no-show and, last night, the Grammys triumph (her debut Invasion of Privacy won best rap album – a first for a woman). Among the many, many analyses of Cardi's success, Village Voice's Carol Cooper makes great points on the cultural stepping stones that paved the way for her reign.

+ A Cinderella story and a terrific photoshoot: Cardi B is the digital cover star of Harper's Bazaar's Spring Fashion Issue.

Kurtis Blow

They're Playing Basketball

26 minute read • SB Nation (2013)

Last week, hip-hop pioneer Kurtis Blow found himself in the midst of the latest blackface controversy shaking up American politics (the rapper, now 59, briefly addressed the situation in a statement). Back in 2013, SB Nation celebrated Blow's footprint on popular culture by breaking down the story of "Basketball", his 1984 single. Produced at the dawn of both the MTV era and the NBA takeover, the song and its surreal video became cult classics.

Was James Brown murdered?
CNN publishes a large, three‑part investigation.


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