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Higher Learning. A publication from Medium for the interested man.

2021 is in the wind, but the stink of December’s biggest hip-hop plot remains

The feeling arrived before the two rap giants appeared on stage. This was prior to waiting nearly two hours — most of it spent watching a dark screen projecting nowhere in particular inside a packed Los Angeles Coliseum. Although the concert was scheduled to begin on December 9, 2021 at…

We all miss the fallen icon, but dropping subpar releases after her death is straight-up disrespectful

If you’re going to release a “new” song from Aaliyah, it should at least be audible. That not only meets the bare minimum for any musical release in 2021, but when it comes to Aaliyah specifically, it’s a sign of reverence for someone who managed to become one of the…

Joseph Patel produced stories for and on some of the best in music. Now he’s on the verge of landing his first Oscar.

In 1996, the now-defunct hip-hop magazine Rap Pages published The Roots’ very first cover story, written by Bay Area scribe Joseph Patel. Twenty-five years later, Patel is an accomplished visual storyteller living on the intersection of culture and music. His résumé boasts media brands like VICE and Vevo. This year…

The late visionary lived an impossible life — and inspired Black creatives to do the same

In 1965, James Baldwin, writing for the New York Times, opined that “unless we can establish some kind of dialogue between those people who enjoy the American dream and those people who have not achieved it, we will be in terrible trouble.” In other words: Unless we figure out how…

The late hip-hop moguls poured into themselves, their families, and their communities before their tragic demises. And as a result, their names and legacies will live forever.

“Happy C-Day, Neighborhood Nip,” said Young Dolph in a clip posted to Instagram in August, on what should’ve been Nipsey Hussle’s 36th birthday. “R.I.P. my boy. Real niggas still miss you down here, bruh.”

Dolph drove the point home by showing off a brand-new custom chain, a sequence of chunky…

Travis Scott’s deadly concert was a failure on the part of many to act with an ounce of decency and empathy

As much as I’ve grown accustomed to waking up to bad news, I still struggle with accepting what little empathy so many people seem to have.

When it comes to the tragedy that took place over the weekend in Houston at the Astroworld Festival, as shocking as it was to…

Jeymes Samuel’s riveting new film ‘The Harder They Fall’ refuses to acknowledge race, but its Blackness is difficult to ignore. (Zero spoilers ahead.)

Throughout his recent interview with GQ, Jeymes Samuel, director and executive producer of the new Netflix film The Harder They Fall, doggedly emphasized that although his first feature is a western with an all-Black cast, it’s not a Black western.

“If Rio Bravo is not a White western and Unforgiven

Frank L. Fleming went from transforming Denzel into Malcolm X to making Raising Kanan Black television’s best dressed.

One can make a case that the fan favorite character on Curtis “50 Cent” Jackson’s Power spinoff Raising Kanan is its early 1990’s aesthetic — the designs under high-top fades, the apple red and baby blue BMWs, the BBS rims, the Polo––Oh lord, the vintage Ralph Lauren pieces (“Suicide” Goose…

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Higher Learning. A publication from Medium for the interested man.

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