Category: Jay-Z

  • A Partial Crack Playlist

    Although crack sales and addiction were ramping up in 1983, when Grandmaster Flash and Melle Mel recorded this song, they’re referring to the powder cocaine of the 1970s, not to rock cocaine (crack). Note that Melle Mel portrays a Baron Samedi-like character in the video. “Dopeman,” N.W.A., 1988 Too Short, “The Ghetto,” 1990, which draws […]

  • Booker T. vs. W.E.B.

    (W.E.B. Du Bois and Booker T. Washington) I subscribe to the Poem-A-Day email offered for free by the Academy of American Poets. It’s nice to wake up to a poem before you start dealing with your to-do lists and putting out the various fires of everyday life. During the week, the Academy sends out a […]

  • Race, Class, Art, and Consumption

    Trigger/content warnings: N-word in original source. Marie-Guillemine Benoist, Portrait d’une négresse 1800, Musée du Louvre. New Zealand singer Lorde’s 2013 hit “Royals” appeared to be a critique of conspicuous consumption: My friends and I – we’ve cracked the code. We count our dollars on the train to the party. And everyone who knows us knows that we’re fine […]