On Sunday, hip-hop learned about the death of one of its youngest, most promising moguls. To find out how New Yorkers were dealing with the loss of their native son, I visited a bunch of spots around the city and talked to some of his fans.
On Tuesday night, Atlanta rapper 2 Chainz appeared on 'Nancy Grace' to talk pot legalization. Like just about every other interview on the show, this "debate" devolved into a discussion about toddlers doing drugs.
Nas might be Queensbridge's finest, but rapper Tragedy Khadafi is Queensbridge's realest. I hung out with the cult legend and talked about being thrown into the East River as a kid, going to prison, and his new album.
VICE Germany was offered exclusive visitation rights to speak with Xatar, a German rapper of Iranian descent, during a stint in prison. There, we discuss his newly-found religious beliefs and follow him around during a typical day in jail.
As ever-present as grills may seem today, mouth bling isn't new. Actually, grills have been appearing, disappearing, and reappearing throughout human history in fits and spurts as civilizations have risen and fallen around the world.
In Jones's own words, this new track embodies "the idea of growth and taking power in your own hands. There are people who complain about things. And then there are people who sit back, observe, and change what they don't like."
Nas's vignettes about day-to-day life in the Queensbridge projects are not just paeans to New York City. The songs on his 1994 debut Illmatic give us a sense of the tastes and smells that defined a generation of urban youth.
Even after Burma's 2011 democratic reforms, the government is still pretty much controlled by the military, and speaking out against the state can land you in prison, as local rapper Zayar Thaw found out.
"We have to keep making noise, we have to keep putting shit out on the internet—we have to stay relevant, or we'll go away. We work every fucking day, except the weekends; the weekends we go home and spend with our families."
"Genres of music cannot be owned, so there is no legal mechanism to protect rap artists from cultural appropriation. The best 'protection' is to have a diversity of critical voices opining on the artistic merit of the music."
It's easy to forget that before Iggy Azalea and Nicki Minaj, there were a host of pioneering female MCs. I spoke with two of those founding females, Lisa Lee and Sha-Rock, to get their thoughts on the role of gender in rap and the impact of "white-washing…