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a multimedia project • launched 1 january 2016
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A collection of WSH's best essays + podcasts.

Posts tagged Jay-Z
WSH's Fourth Annual (Not Very) Highly Scientific Ranking of the Year's Best Songs • #4

While “APESHIT” is the obvious choice for a year-end list, the stadium anthem with the pop appeal, and “HEARD ABOUT US” is my subjective favorite (I need to roller-skate to that song within the next 90 days, for real), “BLACK EFFECT” expertly manifests the blackness of their love in a way that makes my heart smile, the album’s very believable reminder that their accumulated wealth does not mean they’ve forsaken the revolution. In fact, they seem to argue that their access to particular resources makes them a greater asset to their people — and therefore a pretty significant threat to the status quo, should they choose to be. And they’re not wrong: from Hov highlighting his recent, exaggerated run-ins with law enforcement to Beyoncé articulating the importance of a black woman’s mere existence in places of high society, neither of them have been reticent in discussing their blackness in relation to their success. Now raising 3 children of their own and fully committed to each other while still at the peak of their respective musical powers, what better time than now to show their babies and the world that they’re in this together? Maybe the revolution will be televised, all things considered. The Carters might own a television station next.

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Finally Famous: The Essay

You hear Big Sean rap “hit after hit / check the batting average” on “Moves,” track six on his forthcoming I Decided., and you’re forced to recognize that, no, those aren't alternative facts. He’s on an incredible winning streak. TWENTY88, his joint project with his buddy Jhené Aiko, very nearly made my 2016 list of favorite albums, and “Bounce Back” is one of the five best things he’s ever done, hands down. It’s so much fun watching him right now; he’s in a zone, more confident than he’s ever been, and definitely aware that all he can do is be the best version of himself. I do believe Sean was always cognizant of the lack of respect he’d be given in comparison with his contemporaries, but it’s clear now that he doesn’t care. He beat the odds: he’s made it to his fourth album while a ton of his peers have been one-and-done, if they even get that far.

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Thoughts on Lupe Fiasco's Food & Liquor, 10 Years Later

Lupe Fiasco’s Food & Liquor released on September 19, 2006. I was a 14-year-old black boy who, at that moment, didn’t quite fit in anywhere. But Food & Liquor quickly became the soundtrack of my freshman year of high school. I’m terrible at rapping, but I’ve always fancied myself a poet; I love crafting the perfect sentence, and it was clear this not-tough nerd from Chicago loved words just as much – if not more – than this not-tough nerd from the westside of Detroit.

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