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Ben Westhoff

Afeni Shakur as seen in 2Pac's "Dear Mama" video; Credit: YouTube

Afeni Shakur, Champion of Her Son Tupac's Legacy, Dies at 69

Afeni Shakur, the mother of rapper Tupac Shakur and the subject of his song, “Dear Mama,” died yesterday, May 2, 2016, in Marin County, California, possibly from cardiac arrest. She was 69.   Born Alice Williams and raised in Lumberton, North Carolina, Shakur moved to the Bronx as a child......
Tairrie B today; Credit: Jodie Cunningham

Tairrie B, Hip-Hop's Original Bad Bitch, Is Back

Like the n-word and “queer” before it, “bitch” has been pretty thoroughly re-appropriated. Urban dictionary defines “bad bitch” as someone “mentally gifted and usually also fine as hell.” But don’t give credit to Iggy Azalea; give credit to another white rapper, Tairrie B, who was signed to Eazy-E’s Ruthless Records and in......
Dr. Dre; Credit: Courtesy of Aftermath Entertainment

Friday Is Dre Day, and Everybody's Celebrating (Even the City of Compton)

Happy Dre Day! This Friday, June 19, at the Compton Community Center, gangsta rap fans will celebrate the glory of Dr. Dre. It’s the second annual such event, honoring “Compton’s First Black Billionaire,” following last year’s $3 billion sale of his company Beats to Apple. Dre himself likely won't be there. He didn't come......
Dr. Dre; Credit: Courtesy of DrDre.com

Who Invented the Term "Gangsta Rap"? It's Complicated

No one wants to take credit for coining the term “gangsta rap.” At least, no rappers do. As noted in L.A. Weekly's story commemorating the 20th anniversary of Eazy-E’s death, during N.W.A’s time, artists preferred to call the genre “reality rap.” After all, they weren’t telling bloody, fictional stories a......