Music

MC Lyte on Why Female Emcees Are Now MIA

Ronda Racha Penrice

Thirty years ago, “Take It Lyte” and the more popular “I Cram to Understand U” were how most hip-hop lovers were introduced to MC Lyte. By the time her album Lyte as a Rock dropped the next year, in 1988, there was no debating whether MC Lyte was a bona fide emcee. She was actually an elite one. A year later, she told no lies when she boasted, “I’m the dopest female that you’ve heard thus far,” on the classic “Cha Cha Cha” from her sophomore album, Eyes on This.

Reflecting on the Legacy of Prince

Aliya S. King

It is the shock of his sudden death from an accidental drug overdose at the age of 57 that has made the first year without the Purple One tough to handle. He left behind a messy estate and no will, and there are no clear-cut recognizable heirs. In all, it’s been a year of confusion about what his legacy will be and who will maintain it. And yet it’s also been a year of grieving and acceptance. His music reappeared, as does the music of most superstars in the wake of their deaths. 

Radiohead Didn’t Change the Music Industry, But at Least They Tried

Sandra Canosa

Few alternative rock bands from the 1990s should still honestly be described as “contemporary” artists, but at least Radiohead can be safely counted among them. Their May 2016 release and ninth studio album, A Moon Shaped Pool, once again showcased the band’s continuous refusal to become irrelevant, despite the usual statutes of popular culture regarding people over 40. The record explores new landscapes sonically, but its actual release proved, yet again, that the band knows how to take advantage of the Internet.

The Riddle of Kanye West

Dustin J. Seibert

It speaks volumes about Kanye’s pop culture imprint that he engenders more conversation these days about his behavior and the motives behind it than his actual product. Everyone, ranging from armchair therapists (read: all of social media) to people actually trained to know what they’re talking about, have conjectured that something hasn’t been kosher in Kanye’s noodle since his mother’s untimely death in 2007.

Censorship or Hate Crime?: Analyzing Rapper YG’s Controversial Song

Gloria Liao

Critics say the lines are in essence a how to manual for robbing Chinese and other Asian American homes and businesses. Protest organizers have already successfully gotten YouTube to remove the video. They have circulated a petition to ban the song from public media and have YG investigated by federal authorities. The petition has already garnered the necessary 100,000 signatures for it to go before the Obama administration. 

Did Bob Dylan Deserve the Nobel? Maybe, But He Wasn’t the First Musician

Hasan Zillur Rahim

The decision by the Swedish Academy to award Bob Dylan the 2016 Nobel Prize in Literature "for having created new poetic expressions within the great American song tradition" was lauded by many and lamented by a few. But there was universal acknowledgment that the Academy had broken new ground by awarding the Nobel “for the first time” to a singer-songwriter since the French poet and essayist Sully Prudhomme first won it in 1901.

The Singularity You Can Hear: Post-Internet Waves in Popular Music

Sandra Canosa

To say that the Internet changed the music industry would be an all too obvious understatement. From instant downloads and streaming technologies to self-made YouTube stars and the Twitterazi, there’s no aspect of the music biz today that’s been left untouched by the crawlers of the digital web. But in an age where we’re never more than a thumbswipe away from the expanse offerings of the Internet, where playing a new single on YouTube is more commonplace than listening to FM radio, it’s rare that we ever take a moment to stop and think about how the Internet has actually affected what music is, or even what it sounds like. 

The Jam Music Community’s Biggest Fans? Orthodox Jews

Aryeh Gelfand

Those going off the religious path, or “Derech”, find different ways to cope with the imminent loss of community and purpose leaving brings. Still others, unsatisfied with a life of insularity as they are, bring the spirit of Judaism with them as they journey forth and explore what this world has to offer. These two groups of seekers and adventurers have found a common resting place among the ever growing, vocal, and distinctive subculture known as the Jam music community.

 

A Long Way to the Top: Rethinking How AC/DC Changed Rock’n’Roll

Sandra Canosa

It’s a well-known conundrum in the rules and regulations of the rock’n’roll canon: If it is popular, it must not be good. While AC/DC has millions of fans the world over and can continue to sell out arena tours (even with a completely different and controversial lead singer), they have very few critical accolades to show for it. They’ve won only one Grammy – for a song released in 2010, no less – and even the likes of Billy Joel managed to beat them into the Rock’n’Roll Hall of Fame.

Remembering the Grateful Dead

Aryeh Gelfand

Something about this experience was powerful enough to  convince countless members of the upper- and middle-class stratums of our society to drop out of traditional life paths and blindly follow the Grateful Dead, as they toured the country throughout the 1970s and ‘80s until Garcia’s untimely death on August 9, 1995. These young kids found something in the community of the band that they couldn't find elsewhere. They found a sense of community and belonging that didn't exist elsewhere. 

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