Rhymes With Rage: Hip-Hop Inspired By the Death of Trayvon Martin

Chuck D
Chuck D famously once said ""rap is CNN for black people." And since his tragic death 16 months ago, hip-hop has filed many a report on Trayvon Martin. If, like many, you spent the weekend glued to cable news during the incredible acquittal of his killer, George Zimmerman, you may be needing some truth from the Rap Channel. Here are some of the most powerful songs hip-hop has made about the shooting death of an unarmed teenager.

We doubt they'll be the last.

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The Top 15 Hip-Hop Songs About Police Misconduct

Though artists like Curtis Mayfield, Marvin Gaye and Baby Huey spoke on police corruption, it wasn't until the dawn of the rap era that the message in the music began to convey the anger and frustration of people who had been systematically disenfranchised and brutalized since the United States was founded. In honor of the spotlight on the NYPD's stop-and-frisk policy—which has particularly affected men of color ages 18 to 24—SOTC decided to compile a playlist. Get your bail money together and let your lawyer know a riot charge is on the horizon—here are 15 songs that address abuses by police departments actross the country.

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Miles Davis (2) And Public Enemy (7) Go At It In SOTC's March Madness

Categories: Public Enemy

​Sound of the City's search for the quintessential New York City musician enters Round Two this week, with battles in the Round of 32 daily. Keep up with all the action here.

In round one of Sound Of The City's March Madness, jazzmaster Miles Davis dispatched Cyndi Lauper with tonally perfect blow, and Strong Island rabblerousers Public Enemy fought the power of Mariah Carey and came out on top. Both of these icons of American music helped push their genres into artistic maturity and wildly explorative places. It is not overstatement to say these people were the rock on which the rest of their art forms were built. So have fun choosing this one.

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Mariah Carey (10) Battles With Public Enemy (7) In SOTC's Search For The Ultimate New York Musician

​The Round of 64 for Sound of the City's own version of March Madness—in which you, the Sound of the City voting public, help determine the quintessential New York musician—finishes up this week, with the Round of 32 scheduled to kick off Monday. (The schedule and results so far are here; the full, updated bracket is here.) Taking a cue from our neighbors at the Curbed Network, we're going to have a power hour—new polls every 15 minutes until 4 p.m., at which point we'll reveal more results. Next up: Mariah Carey takes on Public Enemy. Check out the arguments in favor of each below, and vote at Facebook for your favorite.

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Nine Culinary Ventures By Hip-Hop Artists

Cookin' With Coolio.
Today, excitable Long Island-raised rap firebrand Flavor Flav will open his House Of Flavor restaurant in Las Vegas. The restaurant—which will have fried chicken and something called a "red velvet waffle" on the menu—is Flav's second attempt to break into the food world, following the disastrous Flav's Fried Chicken experiment in Iowa. (In brief: It bombed, lasting for just four months, and also stoked the ire of his Public Enemy partner Chuck D.) But Flav's far from alone in deciding that sometimes the rap game reminds him that he's, well, just very very hungry. Here's a guide to the new rap food movement.

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Seven Classic Clips From The Soul Train Archives

This morning, Soul Train creator and host Don Cornelius was found dead from an apparent suicide at age 75, and the outpouring of grief and nostalgia was probably best summed up by the Roots' ?uestlove, whose Brooklyn Bowl party Bowl Train is an homage to the show. He wrote passionately about how the weekly airings of Soul Train influenced his development both as a budding musician and as an African-American youth coming of age in the '70s, and he noted that he carries video of old Soul Train episodes around (they're on hard drives now)—he also noted that his passion extended to him evangelizing the show to musicians he worked with, like D'Angelo (right around the time that they started working on Voodoo) and Erykah Badu. In that spirit, here are seven standout clips culled from the extensive YouTube archive of clips from the show (chosen with the assistance of Michaelangelo Matos, who also linked a few choice cuts of Al Green, Stevie Wonder, and Marvin Gaye appearing on the show in his tribute); this is barely a fraction of a fraction of what Soul Train brought into American living rooms during its TV run, so feel free to link to your own favorites in the comments section.

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Live: Portishead And Jeff Mangum Come Out Of The Shadows In Asbury Park

Benjamin Lozovsky

All Tomorrow's Parties: I'll Be Your Mirror
Asbury Park, NJ
September 30-October 2

Better than: Your favorite worn-out band tee.

Timelessness isn't a foresight. Most experiences can't predict their own longevity, and as much as any creator strives to avoid miring his or her work in a dated exterior, the stamp of the clock can be embossed and brutal. Music, perhaps more than any other arts, always seems to be indelibly linked to the era it was produced in, channeling that moment's trends and social forces to place it in a chronological context. English promoter and record label All Tomorrow's Parties have different thoughts on experiencing both musical history and its present incarnations, though. With this year's I'll Be Your Mirror Festival in Asbury Park—curated by Portishead and featuring special guest Jeff Mangum—ATP once again provided America with a glimpse of its own vision of a Utopian cultural exchange.

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The Top Ten "Otis" Freestyles


In the run-up to yesterday's release of Watch The Throne, the project's first official single, the Otis Redding-sampling "Otis," was re-done and freestyled over by many a rapper. So to tide you over until the physical version of Watch The Throne (packaged with a bonus CD-ROM containing a vector graphics screen-saver of the planets and stars) becomes available to buy on Friday, here's a rundown of hip-hop's best "Otis" freestyles and flips.

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The Five Best Moments On Yo! MTV Raps

MTV turns 30 on Monday. To celebrate, we're running a bunch of pieces on the channel, its legacy, and its future.


Debuting during the golden year of '88, Yo! MTV Raps revolutionized TV coverage of hip-hop music. Of course, hip-hop videos existed long before Yo! launched—Grandmaster Flash & The Furious Five's gritty street-level visuals for "The Message," peeping Kurtis Blow clad in black leather pants performing in front of a silhouetted Manhattan-skyline backdrop in "If I Ruled The World"—but the show provided hip-hop junkies with rap reportage like never before. Hosted by Ed Lover and Doctor Dre (the lesser-heralded one), who were assisted by Fab 5 Freddy, Yo! MTV Raps didn't just showcase new videos and air interviews; it took viewers inside the worlds of the artists they profiled, which might mean delving down into producer Pete Rock's dingy Mount Vernon basement, trading barbs with N.W.A. in LA, or letting shout-rap oiks Onyx slam dance with Freddy on the Brooklyn Bridge. Here are five of the best moments from its archives.

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100 & Single: Lady Gaga Gets Ready To Join The Million-Weeker Club

The phrase "the calm before the storm" appears in virtually every chart-related story this week. That's because the latest edition of the Billboard 200, which covers sales from the week ending May 22, is topped by Adele's 21. That album is No. 1 for the ninth and (presumably) final week before Lady Gaga's monster Born This Way makes its foregone chart-crushing debut.

But, come on now... "calm"? For chart-watchers, industryites and Gaga fans, I'd say the storm is already happening.

A meta-discussion has been raging all week around just how many copies Gaga's album will sell in week one, and whether all of the downloads she's racking up should count. Amazon's jaw-dropping decision to sell Born This Way for the unprecedented full-album price of 99 cents has not only engendered controversy—so much that Billboard's editor felt compelled to respond to some angry Britney Spears fans—it's rocket-fueled Gaga's sales.

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