Cross another off the concert bucket list.
In the opening moments of the iconic track, “N.Y. State of Mind,” Nas almost mumbles, “I don’t know how to start this shit.”
It’s appropriate, almost poetic, that this line kept running through my head as I thought about how to approach this review because Daniel Levin Becker’s What’s Good: Notes on Rap and Language is all about lines and lyrics – how they’re created, how deep they go, how they get stuck in our heads, and, awkwardly, what they mean within the larger societal context.
“Every time I stepped into madness of the crowds, I longed for the wisdom of the loneliness.“— Mehmet Murat Ildan
“Why don’t you write about rap anymore?”
Another whirlwind year.
Ranking Jay-Z’s Albums
Jay-Z is the most successful emcee in history. With 14 number one albums on the Billboard chart (11 in a row as a solo artist), 21 Grammys, over 100 million records sold, and countless other side deals, he has repeatedly gone beyond the normal bounds of what a rapper could do.
The Greatest Year in Hip-Hop History
Of all the conversations and debates surrounding the best of the best in hip-hop — MC’s, groups, producers, labels — perhaps the most difficult to ascertain is what is the greatest year in hip-hop history. Let’s answer it with a 16-slot bracket tournament.
For years, it felt as if there were no interest in what went into the making of a hip-hop classic.
While other genres, most notably rock, had the backstories of their best results covered extensively (largely because it was often the favorite music of the people in charge of such things), there was not much insight into how a hip-hop classic is made.
Fortunately, that has changed and hip-hop documentaries abound.
My Very Best Writing from 2017
It’s been an interesting year for all of us, but for me, this was even more true.
Much of the reaction to Jay-Z’s thirteenth album, 4:44, from much of the press is that Jay – finally – has matured and is allowing himself to be shown through his music.
They’re the dynamic duo of hip-hop.