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The AdLib

ISSUE 043 • DECEMBER 18th 2018

What Happened to Kanye West?

13 minute read • Boston Review

This question could be the title of the year-end book of 2018. In this essay, the latest in a long list of soul-searching features on Kanye West, philosophy professor Christopher Lebron tries to disentangle Kanye's stances on race, success and politics. They come all blurred out by this alleged mental disorder that looms over each one of his words.

The Trouble With XXXTentacion’s Fragmented SKINS

5 minute read • Vulture

The violent contradictions of XXXTentacion, both as an artist and a person, have been the subjects of intense debates and poisonous campaigns throughout the year. In this review of X's posthumous album, Vulture's Craig Jenkins touches on the key reasons why there will never be any closure around such a polarizing figure. In the process, he rightfully connects the XXXTentacion problem with a broader cultural climate that favors antagonism and distrust.

Pusha-T Remains an Enigma After His Biggest Year Yet

7 minute read • The Ringer

In 2018, Pusha-T managed to get straight to the core of the pop's zeitgeist – also known as Drake's nerves – but seemed happier being the cryptic and meticulous rapper's rapper who plays at the margins. "Pusha-T’s monumental 2018 is defined as much by the silence as the noise" observed The Ringer's Rob Harvilla. Somewhere on Twitter, Pusha approved.
LeBron James

Cherish tonight — James and Wade are the brotherhood Jay-Z and Biggie never had the freedom to experience

11 minute read • The Undefeated

Last week, the final face-off between all-time greats LeBron James and Dwyane Wade felt like a perfect farewell. It inspired writer Justin Tinsley to draw a parallel with Jay-Z and The Notorious B.I.G., two highly-competitive friends whose shared legacy and victory laps will forever exist as bittersweet speculations.
Master P

From 2Pac to Solange: Master P Shares Stories From His Iconic Career

18 minute read • Complex

The Cipher host Shawn Setaro sits down with No Limit founder Master P for a wide‑ranging interview. Between typical mogul answers – "I went from having no fans to millions of fans" – there are great anecdotes and sobering remarks, especially when Master P evokes the late Soulja Slim.
The Sample Troll

Jay-Z Versus the Sample Troll

8 minute read • Slate (2006)

In 2006, Slate reported on Bridgeport Music Inc., a mysterious one-man company whose business model is "to hold portfolios of old rights (sometimes accumulated in dubious fashion) and use lawsuits to extort money from successful music artists for routine sampling, no matter how minimal or unnoticeable." Last week, two significant events happened in the world of sample-based music, and they should make "sample trolls" very happy. First, the EU's Advocate General reckoned that any uncleared sample – however brief – would constitute copyright infringement. Second, Pharrell and Robin Thicke were finally ordered to pay $5 million in the long-debated "Blurred Lines" lawsuit. It doesn't bode well for the future of two-bar loops.
John DeLorean

Demon Underneath: John DeLorean and The Invention of The Future

In The Outline • Recommended by Jeff Weiss

"This chronicle of John DeLorean's rise and fall doubles as a brilliant deconstruction of the branded fraudulence within the rotting aorta of the American Dream. It draws a widow-making straight shot from Henry Ford to DeLorean to Trump to Elon Musk -- with detours in Belfast, Columbia, the members-only Daisy Nightclub in Beverly Hills and the Twin Pines Mall in Hill Valley. In the process, it artfully reveals how America's decline is inextricable from its decision to believe in building brands over believing things. We've been suffering through the dystopian consequences ever since. Although to be fair, Delorean's Canadian imported pharmaceutical intake seemed to at least offer a solution for the best ways to cope."

Jeff Weiss is a music journalist based in Los Angeles. He's the founder of the long-running Passion of the Weiss blog, which just published its list of 2018's Best Rap Songs.

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