Of all the years when rap music grew from a fledgling sidebar for funk and disco into a global movement – or, to put it more succinctly, the golden age years – 1991 may be the most difficult to summarize. It was a prelude for what was to come.
In a 2001 interview conducted for the San Francisco Bay Guardian, the writer, performer and activist Saul Williams discusses his early career and his debut album, Amethyst Rock Star.
Los Angeles vocal troupe The Whispers are best known for their epic 80s run of boogie hits and slow jam staples. But in the 70s, they established a reputation for issuing thoughtful and topical soul – an era often overlooked today.
The 50th anniversary of Philadelphia International Records gives us the opportunity to revisit the early history of Kenny Gamble and Leon Huff, the songwriting-and-production who went on to create a sound that defines classic soul.
Critical Minded presents its annual, unranked list of the best rap albums of the year.
The start of June brought a new groundswell of songs generated by widespread protest against police brutality and racist violence. It fulfills a tradition that dates back to the earliest days of recorded rap: when a crisis hits the black community, the musicians shift to address it.
As the world adapts to life under a global pandemic, the album art of several recent rap releases is having a noticeable impact.