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Flavor in Your Ear
Deep in the heart of the Mississippi Delta rests a historical milieu slicing through the lurid white canvas of King Cotton that stretches on for miles. At Little Rock Missionary Baptist Church in Greenwood, two enormous pecan trees guard the grave of blues legend Robert Johnson. Reputed southern folklore claims Johnson once sold his soul...
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On those silent nights I’ve spent vamping until 2 a.m. during the frightening times of COVID-19, there’s a certain 90s classic by acclaimed southern rap duo OutKast titled “Spottieottiedopalicious” that remains in my Youtube search history for a quick and satisfying calm. Its ornamented production switching between subtle horn lines to psychedelic guitars delivers a...
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Havana, Cuba: June 27, 1995 – Rodolfo Rensoli, hip-hop artist, and cultural promoter, nervously prepared for the first–ever Cuban Rap Festival. There had never been a collective space for Cuban hip-hop artists to share their messages to the masses due to earlier government restrictions on the genre. Once the event began, Rensoli was filled with hope. The turnout exceeded his expectations.  Hailing from a family of educators, Rensoli is a firm believer that every human being...
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As a first-generation Black American who was born in the US, and whose parents grew up in Ethiopia, Burna Boy’s latest album, African Giant, feels especially significant to me. On one hand, as a young girl, I grew up with different kinds of traditional Ethiopian music being played in our house. This included music from...
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In 2013, a video of an 18-year-old college student went viral as she battled alongside male counterparts in a rap cypher. Three years after rapping on a rooftop carpark in Houston, Texas, the student would compete in the annual Houston Cypher, proclaiming to viewers, “Name a b*tch you know who f**king with my flow,” over...
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1990s hip-hop greats Salt-N-Pepa, TLC and Missy Elliot traveled across the Atlantic Ocean to Cuba not by airplane or boat but through radio waves. The signal may have been weak, but the message and influence were strong. Afro-Cubans in Alamar gathered to listen to the few hip-hop stations that they could pick up from America...
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In memoriam of the Queen of Soul, Aretha Franklin, who helped us liberate our minds and bodies, groove on the dance floor, reminded us of our responsibility to community and celebrate spirituality all at the same damn time, a Spotify playlist to take you on a similar ride. And if you prefer Apple Music? Rest,...
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