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ISSUE 042 • DECEMBER 10th 2018
Earl Sweatshirt

Earl Sweatshirt and Rap’s Murky In-Between Generation

7 minute read • The New Yorker

The New Yorker staff writer Carrie Battan provides a thoughtful reading of Earl Sweatshirt's "ambling and drowsy" new album. "As always," she writes, "Earl’s words tumble out of him, and the lines progress like dominoes, falling over in sluggish but steady succession." Her brilliant review also doubles as a pointed analysis of rap's accelerated cycles of rebellion and growth.
The Gatekeepers of SoundCloud Rap

The Gatekeepers of SoundCloud Rap

20 minute read • Vulture

As new acts explode (and flame out) more quickly than ever, the music industry adapts its methods to identify, groom and capitaIize on rap's next big things. In Vulture, Lauren Levy offers a comprehensive view of SoundCloud rap's business incubators. Don't miss the terrifying "Pump Plan",  "a ten-step program" – inspired by South Florida rapper Lil Pump –  "that guarantees transforming a local rapper or minor celebrity into a meme and then a viral sensation."
Rick Ross

Why Rick Ross Saying "Faggot" Is a Teachable Moment

6 minute read • DJBooth

Five years after the U.O.E.N.O debacle, you may think Rick Ross would have known better, but no. In the last bar of his verse in Meek Mill's "What's Free", featuring Jay-Z, he chose a quite dispensable word, prompting a minor outcry and this friendly discussion between DJBooth's Yoh and Donna-Claire Chesman. "The depth of pain that comes with being called a faggot is lost on Ross, and Em, and the like, and only recently are we demanding our artists be more empathetic", she says. "Not even role models, just empaths."

+ A different point of view, by Panama Jackson: What Are Reasonable Expectations to Have of Rappers?
Chuck D

'Fight The Power': A Tale Of 2 Anthems (With The Same Name)

14 minute video • NPR

Throughout the year, NPR has looked into the legacy of songs "that rouse, unite, celebrate and call to action." In a legendary meeting of the styles, Public Enemy's Chuck D sits down with The Isley Brothers' Ernie Isley to reminisce about the inspirations behind their respective "Fight the Power".
Cardi B

How Cardi B’s Colossal ‘Invasion of Privacy’ Avoided Bloat—and Became the Album of 2018

10 minute read • The Ringer

As 2018 comes to an end, The Ringer's Rob Harvilla revisits the highlights of the year through the lens of Cardi B's Invasion of Privacy. It’s a great analysis of the biggest pop trends – one that also features an hilariously vivid line involving Drake and a crying hippopotamus.

Come Home With Me

4 minute read • Warscribe (2004)

Scarce are the traces of rap journalism's "blog era". Back then, world‑class writers would experiment with real-time commentary while Twitter was still an idea forming in Jack Dorsey's mind. The fourteenth anniversary of Cam'Ron's Purple Haze – released on December 7th, 2004 – brings back the memory of this striking post by kris ex, who once dropped iced water on the Internet's Dipset frenziness: "I think that motherfuckers enjoy the way that Killa drops bombs mainly because they don’t have to deal with the nuclear fallout of his words."
Cardi B

Is Rap Finally Ready to Embrace Its Women?

In The New Yorker • Recommended by Dan Runcie

"Women in hip-hop had a big year. Music writer Briana Younger wrote that artists like Tierra Whack, Rapsody, Dej Loaf, and the City Girls are 'part of a movement of rappers that is changing an industry and a genre that has kept women at bay.' But it isn’t yet time to declare victory. '[Rap] must offer platforms for the expression of their lived experiences—without the requirements of selling something, being the culture's moral compasses, catering to fantasia, or answering for sexism and racism.'"

Dan Runcie breaks down the business side hip-hop in the weekly Trapital newsletter. He recently wrote about the future of Roc Nation.

This week, we will share our Top 10 favorite rap stories of 2018.
It will happen on Twitter.

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