By 1990, hip-hop culture had inspired regional scenes across the United States. A series of maps attempted to mark the changes.
Since PnB Rock was murdered at a restaurant in South Los Angeles, there has been a lot of discussion about why rappers are being targeted in the city. In a Los Angeles Times feature, August Brown and Kenan Draughorne gather several opinions on a bleak trend of shootings that has claimed the lives of Pop Smoke, Nipsey Hussle, Drakeo the Ruler and many others. “Amid wider debates about rising violent crime rates in L.A. and nationwide, many artists are taking new measures to stay safe,” they write, adding that professional security details — not just “buddyguards” — keeping current whereabouts off social media, and resisting an urge to flaunt expensive jewelry may serve as protection. Still, the participants can’t help but admit that these are human beings, not walking ATMs, and the violence too many encounter is senseless and unjustifiable. “We have such deep inequality in L.A., coupled with joblessness, the pandemic, social unrest and more people carrying guns. The response is usually finding individual things to do: Don’t wear jewelry, don’t post on socials,” says UC Irvine professor Charis E. Kubrin. “That’s important, but we’re not going to get rid of this problem without attacking root causes.”
In “Hip-hop blogs spread fake news about O-Block,” a story jointly published by the Chicago Reader and The Triibe, recent coverage of developments at Parkway Gardens on Chicago’s South Side is scrutinized. “It’s home to many esteemed Black Chicagoans,” write the authors, including local heroes Chief Keef and King Von; they compare it to other heavily mythologized hip-hop birthplaces such as Juvenile’s Calliope Projects and Jay-Z’s Marcy Projects. When the Chicago Sun-Times published a story in 2021 that Parkway Gardens was on the market, blogs and social-media accounts like RapTV and Daily Loud run with the latest “Chiraq” news, generating misinformation that the apartment complex is scheduled to be razed. None of the outlets promote a Sun-Times follow-up that the Gardens were taken off the market with equal rigor. Fly-by-night rap media companies with little-to-no journalistic ethics have become a growing problem, and the “Hip-hop blogs” authors keenly connect the dots between their tactics and how it affects local communities like Parkway Gardens in real life.
ProPublica’s story about internet clout chases contains a detail about The Source, the magazine that remains a famed example of golden-era rap journalism.
Hua Hsu, a staff writer for The New Yorker, discusses his new zine Suspended in Time, which also serves as a preface for his forthcoming book, Stay True.