Our group’s setlist, Duos Through the Decades, was a spotlight on full-length hip-hop collaborations between pairs of artists.  For the set, duos not only included two-person hip-hop groups but also solo MCs who came together to work on complete projects.  The eight albums in the set stretched from the 80’s to current day, with two albums chosen from each decade. Beginning the set, we had debut projects from Cookie Crew (Born This Way) and Eric B & Rakim (Paid in Full). Both albums were declarations, statements of how the artists wanted to be recognized in the industry. We chose Cookie Crew, a female hip-hop duo from South London, because of their diversity and Eric B & Rakim for their pioneering efforts in lyricism and break […]

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A Life Worth Listening To

Weighing of the Heart from the Book of the Dead
Weighing of the Heart Book of the Dead - Photographed by the British Museum; original artist unknown

How do you represent a life, musically? Our group needed eight albums for our set and a theme to bind them.  The decisions we made were a pact between the three of us: a father, a contrarian, and an immigrant.  In the end, we poeticized a life. Imagining some contentless existence, its ebbs and flows, and then adding meaning and lyrics to it was weird, but city boys make do. Each album crystallizes life’s phases – the joy and rebelliousness of youth, coming of age, self discovery, disillusionment, reflection and dying. These next few albums are honorable mentions, or maybe eulogies, for those that didn’t make the final cut.  I chose SZA’s CTRL as a stand-in for disillusionment and self discovery. It’s my favorite album […]

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