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Chicago Rap's Future is in Vic Spencer's Hands

By Winston Cook-Wilson, Contributor

Today, more than two years after the release of Chief Keef's drill anthem "I Don't Like," Chicago's hip-hop scene is more a talking point than a driving force. Its breakout stars (Keef, Lil Durk and Lil Reese, in particular) have either been unable to replicate their early commercial success, or are precluded from the possibility of doing so by restrictive contracts or stints in jail/rehab. Oddly enough, though, drill music (and the much-mythologized "Chiraq")… more »


Remembering Bobby Womack

By Douglas Wolk, Contributor

Bobby Womack, the singer/songwriter/guitarist who died June 27 at the age of 70, was one of R&B's greatest musicians, and one of its most confounding. His 50-year career was marked by one wrong turn after another, party due to his habit of making genuinely catastrophic personal decisions; yet it always righted itself over time. Womack was a singular talent who very often subordinated his own vision to other artists', or relied on other voices to… more »


5 Feminist Lessons From Missy Elliott

By Madeleine Holden, Contributor

Missy Elliott — destroyer of one-minute men, big [elephant trumpet] searcher and unapologetic freak — is woefully underrated as a feminist icon. She busted through the boys' club of rap in the late '90s, clearing a space for the Nickis and Azealias of today. But even in when judged against the people who followed her, Elliott's career has been uniquely woman-positive. During her peak run from the late '90s to the mid '00s, Elliott provided… more »

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Remembering Allen Toussaint

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Black Milk, If There’s a Hell Below

2014 | Label: Computer Ugly / CD Baby

“If I have one fan rate me highly/ I could never feel underrated,” Black Milk raps in his slightly stilted Midwestern accent on “What It’s Worth.” It’s one of many albatrosses the Detroit musician — no, really, he plays live drums and keyboards — has carried throughout his career. Another well-worn claim is that he’s a far better producer than rapper, but even his late mentor J Dilla was better at turning a clever hook than delivering an actual rhyme. (“Still won’t let you live out from the… more »