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Great rap stories, delivered weekly.

The AdLib

ISSUE 058 • MAY 3, 2019
 
The AdLib will take a break next week. Need some reading? Catch up with our latest selections, or revisit our first original story: How The Source Was Made. See you all in two weeks.
John Singleton
ESSAY

What John Singleton Accomplished With ‘Boyz N the Hood’

5 minute read • The New York Times

The death of John Singleton, at age 51, has a particular resonance for the writers who emerged in the early nineties, when Boyz n the Hood broke through the mainstream. In the New York Times, veteran journalist Touré remembers the impact of the film for the representation of black communities in Hollywood and beyond: "Mr. Singleton approached “Boyz” as an artistic activist, understanding the power of images to shape opinions and wanting to use film to change the way black people are seen."

+ Gerrick D. Kennedy in the Los Angeles Times: How John Singleton's 'Boyz n the Hood' shaped the life of one boy from the hood

 
JUSTICE

The State v. Hip-Hop

7 minute read • Pacific Standard

In 2013, Virgina rapper Jamal Knox was sentenced to two to six years in prison for his lyrics. Last month, the Supreme Court declined to hear his appeal. At the center of his case lies the legal notion of "true threat" – the tipping point between protected speech and actual menace. Despite the support of hip-hop activists like Killer Mike and Meek Mill, the Knox ruling could set a dangerous precedent, and encourage the criminalization of hip-hop.
 
Pause Tape
PRODUCTION

Press Pause: The History of Pause Tape Production

12 minute read • Red Bull Music Academy

The man behind the Micro-Chop website, Gino Sorcinelli has developed an encyclopedic knowledge of beatmaking, along with a passion for a certain technique requiring a boombox, two cassettes and a lot of dexterity. For Red Bull Music Academy, Sorcinelli tells how pause tape production became, in the hands of Easy Mo Bee or Chuck D, a fundamental component of hip-hop's creative evolution. 
 
Rick Ross
PORTRAIT

Rappers of the Decade: Rick Ross — Print the Legend

11 minute read • Passion of the Weiss

"I think part of [Rick Ross'] fame has to do with how much music writers like to write about him" notes Abe Beame in a portrait that tries to comprehend why Rozay became so unescapable, and how he may have been the patient zero of post-truth America. Beame's comment is spot-on and very meta, as his profile is full of vivid, joyful descriptions. Call that Maybach Writing: "Whether it be candy-colored De Palma ’80s raw or orchestral Radio City Bond Villain lush, his music always was and always will be enormous."
 
Schoolboy Q
INTERVIEW

Schoolboy Q Sounds Off

15 minute read • Vulture

One-liners abound in this no-bullshit conversation between Vulture's Craig Jenkins and Schoolboy Q. There are zingers for everyone, from Kendrick Lamar's "puritan-ass" to "Internet dweebs", but Q is at his most critical with himself: "I’m here to make dope-ass shit over and over again with balance in it", he says. "I have to scrap all that super-40-year-old rapping-ass shit."

+ Schoolboy Q also plays golf
 
THROWBACK

John Singleton: Not Just One of the Boyz

9 minute read • Rolling Stone (1991)

Following the passing of John Singleton, writer Hanif Abdurraqib shared this 1991 profile of the director, published two months after the theatrical release of Boyz n the Hood. It's a true throwback piece, one that brings back the tense context of the movie, includes vintage trivia (Boyz had "a higher per-screen average than even Terminator 2"), and sheds light on the mindset of a then 23-year-old John Singleton.
 

Mirjana Markovic, the ‘Lady Macbeth’ of War-Torn Serbia, Dies at 76

In The New York Times • Recommended by Amos Barshad

"Until reading her obituary I knew nothing about Mirjana Markovic, the wife of Slobodan Milosevic, the Serbian nationalist leader whose actions in the early nineties triggered the crumbling of Yugoslavia (and who died in a cell at the International Criminal Court in The Hague).
As it happens, I really should have been paying closer attention. Posthumous accounts suggest — bizarrely enough — that it was Markovic pulling the strings that led to the wars in the Balkans (which puts her squarely within my personal obsession: scheming advisors and shadowy behind-the-scenes operators). As the New York Times reported, "Ms. Markovic apparently followed the Machiavellian formula of preferring to be feared rather than loved, a strategy she had employed in plotting to oust [Ivan] Stambolic as the Communist Party leader in 1987 and install her husband in the post ... a maneuver that was prompted not only by political ambition but also by personal pique. 'At a family lunch, Stambolic told her not to interfere when men are talking,' a former friend of hers recalled. 'That infuriated her.'"
 

Amos Barshad is a writer based in London. He recently wrote about Tekashi Six9ine's early career in Slovakia, and published his first book, No One Man Should Have All That Power

Listen to our April playlist featuring new tracks by Noname,
Lil Uzi Vert and Kevin Abstract.

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