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Who do you regard as some of the most important figures in our culture, and why? Well while you think of the answer, here's some of mine: 

How Diddy and Bad Boy infiltrated and conquered pop culture in the 2000s

With a stronghold on hitmaking, sleek branding, reality TV and evolving, Diddy solidified his crossover appeal, catering to a wide audience, and kept his label thriving in a new millennium.
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Revisiting how Jeezy's 'The Recession' brought hood politics to the forefront of trap music

When conversations take place about who the Kings of hip-hop are—particularly of those starting in the 21st century—Jeezy rarely gets his full props, more so regarded as a footnote. As one of the leading emcees that defined southern hip-hop and trap music as we know it today, Jay Wayne Jenkins—who used to have a “Young” modifier at the beginning of his rap name—continued his hustla statement, providing the game his third studio album, The Recession, on September 2, 2008.

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Lil' Kim Did It First: The multiple personas existing in hip hop's Queen Bee

When discussing Kimberly Denise Jones' influential role as the de facto blueprint for her commercial successors in female hip hop, most get the basics right.Lil' Kim's legacy has brought the rap game an archetype of the "acquisitive gangstress"—a woman willing to ride or die for all the things she cherishes and loves. Interestingly enough, Lil' Kim barely receives sufficient credit for navigating the multiple personalities she's invented and introduced throughout her discography, proving that Lil' Kim had been lightyears ahead on yet another trend.

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A comprehensive breakdown of the musicality in Tinashe's discography

Whenever someone finds out I'm an OG Tinashe fan, I'm always hit with the inquiry of "what went wrong," alongside a simultaneous rush of championing a cult legend-to-be in music. I can't necessairly answer that question, but what I can do is discuss the artistry in her musicality, hoping this guide will finally get the public into an artist I've been stanning since before the aftermath of "2 On."

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From DeFord Bailey to Ray Charles to Solange: The Long Lineage of Black Artists Making Country Music Pop

As a genre stemming from an alchemy of blues and folk, country music has a storied history in Black art spaces. Despite this presence often being erased, cast away, or discredited, from the 1920s to 2019, Black artists have been the one’s pioneering and preserving country music, and that impact can be seen through its traverse influence over art from across genres and generations.

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Charting Black Excellence | Revisiting Toni Braxton's "countless bops" because Beyoncé said so

Usually when Beyoncé does a digital drop on any social platform, it’s like no other and you feel obligated to listen. On Halloween 2017, Bey took the internet by storm by recreating a few iconic and cult-favorite looks from Lil’ Kim. This past Halloween Eve, Instagram timelines were blessed by the singer dressing as one of her other idols: Toni Braxton. According to the artist who most hail as “Queen Bey,” Braxton is “one of our talented legends (who serves) countless bops.”

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How Amerie's '4AM' EPs recall Prince's 'Purple Rain' soundtrack

One of the perks of listening to any solid music project—in the case, Amerie’s double-disced 4AM EPs—is pinpointing possible influences. On the first of the EPs, 4AM Mulholland, that eureka moment of tracing back happens during the three-track stretch starting with “The Wall,” followed by the EP’s titular track, and ending with “A Heart’s For The Breaking.” It’s at the heavy dosage of electric guitar in “The Wall,” the concept of driving around to find love (with a hint of 80s new wave noir) on “Mulholland,” and the etherealness existing on “A Heart’s For The Breaking” that rings truest to the vibes of Prince’s Purple Rain.

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Why Lil Wayne and Swizz Beatz's "Uproar" is a meaningful single for the culture

Cue up the Diddy voice 'cause, “let’s go!!!” That’s just how fire Lil Wayne’s “Uproar” is. Coming in at the fourth track of his Tha Carter V, “Uproar” stands ready to rumble. It’s a warning and (simultaneous) call-to-arms to the haters of Weezy—or his doubters, if you will—as he continuously asks throughout the track “What the fuck though? Where the love go?” Simply put, “Uproar” has the potential to be an anthem tailored for the streets.

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Revisiting how T.I.'s 'Paper Trail' made him the kingpin of the mainstream

On September 30, 2008, the world would receive T.I.’s sixth studio album, Paper Trail. While serving a house arrest and awaiting his one-year sentence (after pleading guilty to possessing illegal firearms as a previously convicted felon), T.I. crafted the lyrics and album's concept. Of course, Paper Trail would mark a brief going-away party of sorts, but it also solidified Clifford Harris as the King of Trap he claimed to be since his second album, 2003’s Trap Muzik-- as well as mainstream pop.

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