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Rapper Skibkhan in the video for ‘Shob Chup,’ which condemns the culture of silence around poverty and inequality in Bangladesh. YouTube

Bangladeshi rappers wield rhymes as a weapon, with Tupac as their guide

In voicing youthful outrage over inequality and violence, Bangladeshi rappers are creating a powerful form of protest music — just as American MCs have done for 40 years.
Kendrick Lamar performs during the Festival d'ete de Quebec on July 7, 2017. Amy Harris/AP Photo

Rap music’s path from pariah to Pulitzer

Hip-hop heads around the world are rejoicing over Kendrick Lamar's win. But it's been a tumultuous ride for a genre once derided as 'pornographic filth.'
The artists who first sang the legendary Canadian hip hop song “Northern Touch” 20 years ago reunited to perform at the 2018 Juno Awards. From left to right: Checkmate, Red1, Misfit, Kardinal Offishall, Choclair and Thrust. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Darryl Dyck

The Juno Awards finally celebrate hip hop, but is it too late?

The current global dominance of Canadian music on today's Billboard charts obscures the difficulties many early rap artists faced in garnering local support for this country’s hip hop music.
The Beastie Boys in the music video for Sure Shot. Screenshot from Youtube

My favourite album: The Beastie Boys’ Ill Communication

The Beastie Boys' Ill Communication closed out hip-hop's Golden Age with a kaleidoscope of jazz-infused beats, bratty punk interludes and a deeper appreciation for storytelling.
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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