Joshua Lerner died for your sins. Reading Just Kids, Patti Smith’s poignant retelling of her relationship with Robert Mapplethorpe and their magical early years in New York, provides a lot of context for her music. She wrote a song for Janis Joplin. She liked dancing to the Marvelettes. Dylan was her idol, but it was […]
ShowYouSuck is a rapper from Chicago. Listen to any one of his One Man Pizza Party releases (there are now four of them) and you’ll quickly hear the variety of his influences, both musically and culturally. There’s a Southern and West Coast feel, merged with the latest trap sound. Yet Show still finds a way […]
Joshua Lerner has delusions of flaneur. For some time now, the career arcs of Rick Ross and Lupe Fiasco have followed opposing trajectories. Five years ago, the very ordinary job of Florida corrections officer, revealed to be hiding at the bottom of Ross’s resume, put his drug kingpin persona in peril. But from where Ross […]
Joshua Lerner is pouring out some Johnny Walker Blue. Upon the passing of some semi-forgotten musical legend, biographers and hagiographers alike will strive for a modern angle as they pen their too-short obituaries. How is the music relevant today? Which modern artists were influenced? If the deceased did not already belong to a well-known musical […]
Joshua Lerner has bow tie envy. Five minutes into the video for Janelle Monae’s new single, “Q.U.E.E.N.,” there is a cut to a man in a tuxedo clacking out a repeated line on a typewriter: “We will create and destroy ten art movements in ten years.” Like the rest of the song and video, this […]
Joshua Lerner is dropping knowledge like Galileo dropped the orange. “I try to start off with sixteen dots on the paper.” This is how Rakim explains his process of writing to Ice-T in Something From Nothing: The Art of Rap. He continues. “If it’s a sixteen bar rhyme then at least I know what I’m […]
Photos via Tito Garcia & Quayvo Shots. Joshua Lerner teaches at a school, accredited. If most rap artists still make their bread and butter through touring and stage performances, as Harold Stallworth stated last week in an article for this site, it serves us well to wonder: what are the factors that make for a […]
Joshua Lerner is an invisible bully like The Gooch. In one of the many excellent anecdotes from Something From Nothing: The Art of Rap, Ice-T tells what it was like to hear Melle Mel grab the mic in the early days of hip-hop in the Bronx. When Mel would take his turn, it would sound […]
Joshua Lerner is Mighty Narrow. I’ll be honest. I didn’t know exactly what to make of Rockie Fresh. A few weeks back, I caught his set at the Bottom Lounge here in Chicago, and I experienced a range of conflicting thoughts about the man and his music. I briefly met Rockie before the set and, […]
Joshua Lerner owns every Poor Righteous Teachers cassette. Today at school, I erased the dates of January from my dry-erase calendar and put in new ones for February. I thought about the 41 homicides we saw in Chicago last month, an 11-year record. Most think the murder rate will drop with the temperature as summer […]