Black Guy, White Music

How I stopped worrying about my hip-hop cred and fell in love with Bjork

In the spring of 2004, I quit hip-hop. It wasn't the first time. Our relationship was stormy from the start. Hip-hop was my first literature, and it was Rakim, not Fitzgerald, who first made me consider writing. Still, all that macho blathering was a weird match for me, a kid with the self-esteem of an earthworm. So every few years, I'd bemoan the state of the music, rip my Public Enemy posters from the wall, unspool all my mix tapes and swear, "Never again!" That was mostly posturing--all it took was something arch and underground, say, Operation Lockdown by Heltah Skeltah,...

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