Born 37 years ago this week in Queens, New York, I am a musically rare specimen in that I exclusively listen to one genre: hip-hop. Hard hip-hop, to be more exact. I’m so obsessed that at 20-something years old, with a bottomless backpack full of college debt and semi-useless liberal arts lessons, I decided to forego ever making any real money in life to write about the great acts of my time. All these eons later I do not regret any of it—not even the several hours that I literally spent today, on my goddamn birthday, waiting for a member of the Wu-Tang Clan to ring me for an interview (as a rule, by the time the average hip-hop writer turns 40, they’ve spent 80,000 hours futilely waiting for affiliates of the Staten Island rap group to call them). My pride in having documented everything from New York City’s underground eruption to the second and third waves of Bay Area and Boston boom bap is encapsulated in this week’s issue, an unofficial ode to the culture which inspired my style and political passions. With no disrespect whatsoever to the up-and-coming artists, local or otherwise, who we regularly cover in our music pages, this week’s music-driven features—one about the all-star Hub conglomerate the Boston 6, another about a new historical account of West Coast hip-hop—turn to beloved rap scene veterans for lessons. Because if you forget where you come from, you’re never gonna make it where you’re goin’.
CHRIS FARAONE, NEWS+FEATURES EDITOR
OH, CRUEL WORLD
Dear Guilty Liberal Party Balcony Grandstander,
I’m going to let you in on a little secret before you say something stupid again and embarrass the fuck out of yourself and the damn parents who raised you: White folks have been dying from opiate use for decades. That’s right, especially poor ones. So when you say out loud at a party that “people only now care about heroin because white people are dying,” you make yourself look like a complete jackass. It’s not that ODs aren’t equally bad for all victims of drug abuse, but rather that you’re simply speaking to hear yourself talk, and not doing a damn thing to help anyone—white or black. Next time, just stick to having asinine opinions about music.