select music essays

How Mariah Carey Paved the Way for Hip-Hop’s Reign Over Pop

Hip-Hop is pop—not in sound, but rather in terms of influence and authority. Certainly pure pop—pasteurized and whipped into its ultimate peak in the early 2010s—is still breathing, though despite its name, the genre's reign as the chieftain of popular music has ended. Drake and Bad Bunny are as much of pop stars in 2020 as Carly Rae Jepsen and Kesha were in 2012. Spotify reports that, at this very moment, Cardi B and Megan Thee Stallion's "WAP" is the most-streamed song in the United States.

Normani, babygirl, what is you doin’?

Normani, babygirl, what is you doin’? Signed with RCA Records, former Fifth Harmony multihyphenate Normani has enough star power to blow today’s one-dimensional pop newcomers right out of the water. The problem: she has very little music to prove it. #FreeNormani (lol) I’m obsessed with Normani Hamilton for a simple reason: she’s a young, black female performer who sparkles with more multidisciplinary star power than any other solo pop act I’ve seen rise to celebrity over the past half-decade

Why the Progressive R&B Grammy Is Still Super-Regressive

At the 2013 Grammys ceremony, Frank Ocean took home the inaugural award for Best Urban Contemporary Album. Earning the singer-songwriter this newfangled prize was his lauded debut effort, Channel Orange, a record recognized as both alternative R&B and of a genre-defying class of its own, with the latter description somewhat explaining why it occupied such a vague space during that year's Grammy roundup. The album's unconventional sound incorporated a variety of musical subgenres, from electro-f
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