Madonna

Madonna’s ‘Rebel Heart’ could use a bit more beat

Madonna wants the world to remember that she’s Madonna. So her 13th album, Rebel Heart, released Friday, draws on all the glory of her Queen of Pop legacy but without any fresh creativity. Complete with hypersexual club beats and lyrics reflecting on her long career, Rebel Heart seems like a
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Jeremy-Siegel-white-background

Musical ownership in a digital age

“Do you know how to delete iTunes from your computer?” A friend of mine asked me this the other day after his computer suggested that he update iTunes one too many times. Besides serving as a reminder that my technological skills don’t extend beyond the ability to press “enter” and
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metgod

Keepin’ it real ’93 ’til

The unexpected combination of hip-hop, dark humor and kung-fu made Wu-Tang Clan unlike any group before it. Their breakout album, Enter the Wu Tang (36 Chambers), turned 21 this past Sunday. The day before the group’s 1993 hits were celebrated along those of A Tribe Called Quest, Pharcyde, Tupac, Dr.
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This Week in Arts

FILM If you’re not on a flight home come Wednesday evening, you might want to check out the Castro Theatre’s Jeff Bridges double feature. What better way to ring in the holiday season than with The Dude himself? Things get started at 7 p.m. with a screening of “The Big
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james bell

Goin’ Off: 10 Albums for the hip-hop layman

Ten albums for the hip-hop layman. This list has been my burden, my baby. I’ve carried it for the last month or so. Consider this the document of my labor. It began with a serious debate between me, myself and I and my knowledgeable counsel, who shall remain nameless. The questions
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Rap City: Rock the Bells 2012

Black Hippy Dickies. Bucket hats. Carson, CA tees. Gold chains and a small flat top. Black Hippy was in the amphitheatre. The group came out one at a time, essentially in the (ascending) order that most would rank each MC. The audience members loved Jay Rock’s homegrown anthems. Ab-Soul was
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moonrise-kingdom-2

Summer Rewind 2012

Reminiscing on this summer in the arts, we put together a mixtape of pop culture memories to look back on. Snoop Dogg became a lion: Excuse me while I light my Executive Branch spliff. Snoop Dogg is dead. But Jah has bestowed another blessing upon us. Snoop Lion has risen.
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james bell

Goin’ Off: Dollaz and Sense

Don’t drink 8 ball / cause St. Ides is givin’ ends.” It’s short. It’s simple. It’s Ice Cube. It also sold St. Ides Malt Liquor to countless impressionable youths with fake IDs. To put it another way, your favorite commercial MC is probably compromised. They’re getting paper for advertising, for
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nas2

Nas: Life is Good

Life is Good — Nas’s tenth album and the final under his Def Jam contract — is not solely a breakup album. Though Nas holds ex-wife Kelis’ green wedding dress across his knee on the cover, it’s not. I assure you. When you’ve been in the game as long as
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