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Kanye functions as a mirror for the most visible and occasionally garish values of his time. Charles Platiau/ Reuters

Friday essay: the sounds of Kanye West

Many have long forgotten the simple fact that Kanye West is one of the greatest producers of hip-hop in its history. A decade-long six-album streak of critically acclaimed albums rivals the greatest icons of pop.
Jockeying for power in the rap world: earlier this summer Drake and Meek Mill traded barbs. Drake (on left): Steve Marcus/Reuters; Meek Mill: Kevork Djansezian/Reuters

Drake, Meek Mill and beef’s prime place in rap culture

Taking a lyrical swing at another rapper is part and parcel of the genre. So why the profound backlash when Meek Mill accused Drake of not writing his own lyrics?
Straight Outta Compton. urban_data/flickr

Straight Outta Compton – why now?

Why is this film being released now? Is it in response to the Black Lives Matter movement spreading across the US via social media, in turn a response to racist police violence in Miami Gardens, Ferguson, Baltimore?
Ice Cube and his bandmates had a point, albeit one mired in controversy. Eva Rinaldi

Prophets of pain: the art of NWA’s F*** tha Police

Some pain might have been avoided (and probably less money made) if a simple basic fact had been acknowledged from the beginning: Fuck tha Police is meant to be funny.

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