Critical Minded – Take Two

Four years ago, I launched this site as a music critic’s homage to Pauline Kael’s 5001 Nights at the Movies. I uploaded hundreds of reviews from my nearly two-decade career as a music writer, with ambitious plans to add many more, and turn this site into a repository of capsule reviews on rap albums.

Unfortunately, not much came of this. First, I ended up taking down a lot of those old reviews because, well, they looked old and kinda stale. As much as I sometimes I delude myself, I have to admit that my prose is not quite as sterling and timeless as the late Ms. Kael’s. As a working freelancer, I didn’t have the kind of time to devote to this site that I once had with my last web project, Plug One. However, I kept the links section updated, and I got a spiffy banner courtesy of my friend Cindy Astorga.

So why take a second swing at Critical Minded (whose title I unconsciously lifted from an academic book, by the way)?

For the moment, I continue to cover hip-hop and R&B for Rhapsody…uh, I mean Napster. However,  I no longer write the kind of blog posts that served as diary entries for trends and happenings within those genres. Much of my work from the past six years is no longer available online, or is difficult to find without employing canny Google search terms. I’ve come to realize that delving into the latest happenings on a regular basis helps focus my thoughts. Without it, I struggle to come up with ideas for what will (hopefully) lead to paid work.

I can’t promise that I will start posting two items a week here as I once did for Napster (and may very well do again there — who knows). At the very least, though, I plan to shift Critical Minded’s course into a chronicle of rap and R&B in the 2010s, as well as flashbacks to key artists and scenes from back in the day. As I kick off this new attempt to create a writer blog, I hope you will find something to enjoy in the results.

October 8, 2016

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