hip-hop

Music may not see color, but the music industry certainly does. Until the systemic and overt biases that undermine our celebration of the contributions of black artists can be eradicated, we appreciate Black History Month as an opportunity to lay the groundwork for conversations we should be having and actions we should be taking year-round.

Hip-hop pulled a Marlo on the Grammys this year.

In a classic scene from season 4 of The Wire, the HBO crime drama that used one city's drug epidemic to expose the institutional collapse of America, Marlo Stanfield, a young, ambitious kingpin disrupting the natural order of things, provokes a two-bit security officer to anger by stealing candy from the convenience store he's charged with guarding. When the officer steps to the young man, frustrated beyond belief that he would make such a boldfaced move in the officer's presence, Marlo stares him dead in the eye.

Despite what her social media handle suggests, Noname isn't hiding anymore. The soft-spoken but quick-witted rapper has spent years bubbling in Chicago's hip-hop scene and sparring on tracks with friends like Saba and Chance The Rapper while still maintaining a low profile.

On a sun-baked intersection of Ponce de Leon Avenue, a street named for the Spanish colonizer whose false claim to fame was discovering the fountain of youth, sits one of the most conspicuous cultural attractions in Atlanta. Mister Car Wash may be the busiest destination of its kind in a Southern capital where car washes are outnumbered only slightly by churches and chicken wing stops. It also happens to be the location of a pivotal pit stop in the rapid rise of one of hip-hop's brightest new stars.

21 Savage, the Atlanta-based rapper detained on Sunday by U.S. Immigrations and Customs Enforcement, or ICE, has released a statement with details on his immigration status, characterizing his detention as baseless.

The statement, issued through five law firms and a management company, says 21 Savage, born She'yaa Bin Abraham-Joseph, is from the United Kingdom, moved to the U.S. at the age of 7, and that he lost his legal immigration status in 2006, when he was barely a teenager.

Like any good origin story, poet and critic Hanif Abdurraqib's Go Ahead in the Rain: Notes to a Tribe Called Quest begins in the beginning: "In the beginning, somewhere south of anywhere I come from, lips pressed the edge of a horn.... In the beginning before the beginning, there were drums, and hymns, and a people carried here."

It was the year that trolls and tabloid fodder took over. It was the year that beef became the chief marketing strategy. It was the year that hype trumped truth. And we're not even talking politics yet.

Bryan Allen Lamb

Don Data, host of No One Man, brings us ten albums that deserved more of your attention in 2018:

Copyright 2018 NPR. To see more, visit https://www.npr.org.

MICHEL MARTIN, HOST:

This story is the first in NPR's new Morning Edition series produced by The Kitchen Sisters (Davia Nelson & Nikki Silva) called The Keepers, stories of activist, archivists, rogue librarians, curators, collectors and historians — keepers of the culture and the cultures and collections they keep.

Over a decade ago, students of Dr. Marcyliena Morgan, then a Professor of Linguistics at UCLA, started dropping by her office, imploring her to listen to hip-hop.

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