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October 13, 2014 Marina Galperina

A new project by Roopa Vasudevan sources hip-hop lyrics by Jay-Z, the Notorious B.I.G., Fat Joe and Rick Ross and the frequency of their particular word patterns.   Grillz are lyrics processed by PyGenius, modeled into physical form with the help the geomerative and modelbuilder libraries and 3D-printed in polished gold steel. The technique is clever, but […]

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August 26, 2014 Sophie Weiner

The rap group G-Unit featuring 50 Cent, Young Buck and Kidd Kidd released a video for “Ahh Shit,” a scathing indictment of police brutality and violence against blacks. The video features footage of Eric Garner as he was put in a fatal chokehold by a police officer and Reverend Al Sharpton’s condemnation of the NYPD, as well […]

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August 19, 2014 Aymann Ismail

“Let’s face it. What I’m doing isn’t really vandalism,” Jay Shells tells ANIMAL after a weekend of putting his site-specific Rap Quotes around Philadelphia. “But the questionably legal act of installing signs became trickiest around City Hall and the Liberty Bell where an abundance of bored security guards are waiting to flex on a smart ass like me.” But he got it done. […]

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July 21, 2014 Marina Galperina

The late rapper J Dilla’s custom-made Minamoog Voyager synthesizer has been recently donated to the Smithsonian’s National Museum of African American History and Culture. The synth — along with 11 other objects used by the contributors to American music history, from Chuck Berry to Chuck D — will be shown at the “Musical Crossroads” exhibition, to inaugurate the opening of […]

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May 29, 2014 Andy Cush

Above, watch outtakes from Our Vinyl Weighs a Ton, a new documentary about the legendary underground hip hop label Stones Throw. Kanye West is interviewed and waxes about the influence of the late J Dilla and Stones Throw figurehead Madlib. On Dilla: We gotta make music and we think, ‘If Dilla was alive, would he like this?’ I […]

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May 5, 2014 Andy Cush

“The Largest Vocabulary in Hip Hop,” a data visualization project by Matthew Daniels that’s been making waves since it made the front page of Reddit over the weekend, is interesting for a moment. Quantitative analysis is trendy, and so is rap music, so why not combine the two? One, because using statistics to glean anything […]

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April 30, 2014 Andy Cush

“Don’t Cry” is a soulful, melancholy highlight that arrives on the third side of Donuts, the instrumental swan-song from the late hip hop producer J Dilla. To celebrate the music, the blogger Darius Kazemi broke down that beat into its constituent samples — from the Escorts’ “I Can’t Stand to See You Cry” — wrote about […]

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April 28, 2014 Andy Cush

On Saturday night in Los Angeles, a crowd filled 1988 Gallery for an exhibition of “Rap Quotes,” a series of works by Jay Shells. The right side of the gallery housed the artist’s New York City street signs, which he’s been hanging at specific locations mentioned in hip hop songs since last year; the left […]

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April 17, 2014 Andy Cush

Last month, De La Soul surprise-released Smell the Da.I.S.Y., a collection of vintage De La verses reworked over previously unheard J Dilla beats. Now, they’re doing a limited vinyl release of the late producer’s instrumentals, and, in a continued effort to get more press than they’ve seen since AOI: Bionix, conducting an easter egg hunt of sorts to […]

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April 9, 2014 Marina Galperina

“Hip–hop is not afraid of showing pride for its own power, and to translate that into an aesthetic of regality which is beautiful and timeless,” Cecilia Azcarate tells DAZED. “People represented in these paintings and sculptures were not there by chance. They were people of power, being it religious, political, or economical. Intellectuals, gods, saints, and people whose […]

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