Posts Tagged: hip-hop

Empathy Is Cheap: A Conversation with Brandon Harris

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Brandon Harris discusses his memoir Making Rent in Bed-Stuy, gentrification in New York City and Brooklyn, the homogenization of American cities by corporate America, and whiteness of film culture. ...more

Staying Syncretic: A Conversation with Kool A.D.

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Kool A.D. discusses his debut novel, OK, the war on drugs, systemic destruction of left-leaning movements by the government, and the inability to escape American capitalism. ...more

Slang and Swagger: Riffing with Jeff Chang

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Jeff Chang discusses his latest book, We Gon’ Be Alright: Notes on Race and Resegregation, his work in hip-hip journalism, and the beauty and humanity of political protest. ...more

Album of the Week: Kendrick Lamar’s DAMN.

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With rumors and speculation about another new record dropping on the second Coachella weekend flying, Kendrick Lamar’s fourth studio album DAMN. (out via TDE/ Interscope) has already established itself as an instant classic.

Lamar, who prefers to identify as musician and a writer rather than a rapper, called his album “Very urgent.” DAMN.

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Vincent Toro: Challenging Whiteness and Refusing to Be Colonized

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Poet Vincent Toro on his debut collection, Stereo.Island.Mosaic, his writing process, and searching for identity. ...more

Album of the Week: Sampha’s Process

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After collaborating with the likes of Beyoncè, SBTRKT, Jessie Ware, Drake, Kanye West, Frank Ocean, and Solange, 28-year-old British singer, songwriter and producer Sampha has finally released his first solo album, Process, via Young Turks.

A significant and evocative title, anticipating the changes happening as listeners work through the LP’s forty minutes: the personal growth Sampha undergoes in taking his meditations on life and loss out of his bedroom and into the studio, crafting a moving and heartfelt urban soul album.

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Luke Cage: When Representation Isn’t Enough

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This show’s true strength is its diverse portrayal of African-American subjectivity and morality, amongst both the male and female characters. ...more

VISIBLE: Women Writers of Color: Tara Betts

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Tara Betts discusses her newest collection, Break the Habit, the burden placed on black women artists to be both artist and activist, and why writing is rooted in identity. ...more

The Rumpus Interview with Rion Amilcar Scott

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Rion Amilcar Scott discusses his story collection Insurrections, father relationships, hip-hop, knowing when to abandon a project, and choosing not to workshop certain stories. ...more

Song of the Day: “Have Some Love”

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The diversely talented Donald Glover has gained a following in almost every artistic arena, from stand-up comedy, to sitcoms, to film and music. First making a name for himself as a writer for the smart and funny NBC program 30 Rock, Glover went on to star in Community and the FX series Atlanta.

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Song of the Day: “Louder Than A Bomb”

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“Rhythm is the rebel,” Chuck D raps on “Louder Than A Bomb,” one of many outstanding tracks from Public Enemy’s touchstone 1988 record, It Takes a Nation of Millions to Hold Us Back. Of all the controversial and heartfelt statements made on this widely acclaimed and influential album, this is perhaps the most telling, as DJ Terminator X’s raw backbeat—a sound now associated immediately with hip-hop music—and dissonant horn samples signal right away to the listener that the genre’s longtime association with party music was evolving rapidly into a musical protest against systemic racism, poverty, state surveillance, and the militarization of police. 

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Album of the Week: Childish Gambino’s Awaken, My Love!

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cgAmidst writing, producing, and starring in the FX series Atlanta and being cast to portray a young Lando Calrissian in an upcoming Star Wars installment, Donald Glover took some time to return to his Childish Gambino persona and has released one of the most interesting album of 2016.

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Song of the Day: “We the People”

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If A Tribe Called Quest had to make one final statement, a boisterous, politically conscious, and funky record would be the most fitting way to do so. We Got It from Here… Thank You 4 Your Service was released on November 11, 2016, eighteen years after Tribe’s last album and only a few months after the death of founding member, Malik “Phife Dawg” Taylor.

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A Music Drama (Actually) about Music

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Netflix’s The Get Down is receiving quite a bit of attention for being the unicorn of music drama: for once, a show about a moment in musical history is actually about the music! Directed by Baz Luhrmann, the show is receiving accolades for following hip-hop’s rise in the Bronx with respect and care:

A coming-of-age drama anchored in the late ’70s Bronx hip-hop and disco scenes, The Get Down has a deep respect for the innovations it’s portraying—and the pioneers responsible for those breakthroughs.

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Looking Back to New Jack City

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The 1991 cult film New Jack City is once again examined and celebrated this week, with okayplayer. publishing one piece celebrating its soundtrack, and another with a behind-the-scenes reflection from the film’s star Ice T. The artist talks about playing a cop for his first role in the days when he was best known for rapping “Cop Killer.”

New Jack City also starred Wesley Snipes, Allen Payne, Judd Nelson, and Chris Rock, featuring music from Ice T, Keith Sweat, 2 Live Crew, Queen Latifah, and more.

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Dinosaurs, Aliens, and Rappers

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In its infinite wisdom, VICE has produced a show for the company’s TV channel, VICELAND, where Action Bronson and his friends smoke themselves into oblivion while they try to grapple with the immensity of history and the cosmos as communicated by cheeseball history documentaries.

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Living Performance Art

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The Internet’s been freaking out about Kanye West’s latest bid to be the center of all things surreal about our culture: his video for the track “Famous” features breathing sculptures of celebrities who may or may not have given permission for their likenesses to be represented naked, as if asleep, and in bed together.

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Cosmically Illegal

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At the Kenyon Review blog, Brian Michael Murphy celebrates the sheer density of reference and intricate structuring of rap lyrics revealed by a computer program, The Raplyzer, and its Rhyme Factor Scale. Murphy dissects the lyric genius of Wu-Tang’s Inspectah Deck and others:

I remember the feeling from when I was 16, the sense that they were doing cosmically illegal things with language, crunching it down into a density that tested physic’s laws, with lines impossibly packed, like collapsed stars, greedily bending light toward their hidden centers.

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A Language Only We Can Hear

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Kendrick Lamar’s debut album “Good Kid, M.A.D.D. City” contains the basic, essential elements of a novel: a protagonist faced with an antagonistic outer world, plot and its arc—from opening scene to crisis to climax on down to denouement, a narrative connected through scenes, and character development and expression through dialogue.

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Zane Lowe Interviews Chance the Rapper

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Following the release of his latest mixtape Coloring BookChance the Rapper spoke with Zane Lowe in a lengthy interview about the work, the recording process, and the artist’s growing collaborative relationship with Kanye West. Listen to the full conversation via okayplayer and stream the mixtape here.

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Beyonce - Lemonade | Rumpus music

The Recipe to Decolonized Love is in Beyoncé’s Lemonade

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“There is a curse that will be broken,” she promises. ...more

The Literary Value of Hip-Hop

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At Electric Literature, Mensah Demary argues that there should be greater appreciation of hip-hop as a powerful storytelling medium, positing Nas as a master of literary narrative:

If presented with a choice, I’d rather discuss classic hip-hop albums than short story collections: the former evokes warmth, my need to consecrate my life to a certain fidelity and pure aural bliss channeled into nighttime sessions in the bedroom, lights off, completely enveloped by sound, while the latter invokes the image of a bottomless pit.

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The Conversation: Angel Nafis, Safia Elhillo, and Elizabeth Acevedo

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I don’t think it ever fully sunk in for me that I even live in America. ...more

Song of the Day: “Devil In A New Dress”

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We can accuse Kanye West of a lot of things—arrogance, insensitivity, paranoia, ingratitude… the list goes on. But one thing he is not guilty of is dishonesty. The longer he spends in the international media spotlight (and he’s going on thirteen years now), the more the confessional side of his music seems to be emphasized.

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This Week in Posivibes: untitled unmastered

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Kendrick Lamar has released a new albumuntitled unmastered. The album was a surprise, although the artist performed some of its songs last year on The Colbert Report and this past January on The Tonight Show. The album is available via iTunes (along with just about every other online music retailer).

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Angela Flournoy

The Saturday Rumpus Interview: Angela Flournoy

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My ambition is personal. I don’t think I need to succeed so that the race can succeed. ...more