The Assassination of Drakeo the Ruler

“Drakeo was 28 with an incandescent future ahead: He was supporting his son, mother, and paying his sister’s college tuition. Whoever bears responsibility for his murder did more than kill one man. They’ve deprived hip-hop and pop culture of a rare creative vanguard pushing sound and style forward in a landscape glutted with pastiche and revival. They snatched away a living symbol, who triumphed over incommensurable abuses dealt by the system. But perhaps that was part of the point.”

Author: Jeff Weiss
Published: Jan 13, 2022
Length: 27 minutes (6,842 words)

The Elephant in the Room

“A majority of Americans say they have a positive view of unions. When they vote for Republicans, as lots of union members do, they’re not voting that way because they want to disempower unions. They believe they’re voting to disempower the ‘freeloaders’ — a category that’s obviously inseparable, in the American context, from race. This is where the ugliness of the American conservative tradition comes in.”

Author: Jeff Weiss
Published: Dec 1, 2021
Length: 23 minutes (5,837 words)

The (Mostly) True Story of Vanilla Ice, Hip-Hop, and the American Dream

“He grew up lower middle class and toiled away at menial jobs while chasing his dreams—the lone white boy battling in an almost entirely Black environment. The plot of 8 Mile was Vanilla Ice’s story first.”

Author: Jeff Weiss
Source: The Ringer
Published: Oct 6, 2020
Length: 42 minutes (10,659 words)

It Was the Last Night at Low End Theory, and Tyler, the Creator, Tokimonsta and More Made Sure This Wasn’t a Night of Mourning

You might not have heard of it, but Low End Theory is famous to fans of underground hip-hop and electronic music. The club night’s performers, DJ Nobody, Thundercat, Nosaj Thing, Flying Lotus and Tokimonsta, have shaped music far beyond LA’s beat scene, attracting the attention of performers like Kendrick Lamar and Thom Yorke. After twelve years, divided by a rape allegation, it ended. Here’s a dispatch from the final performance, and a look back.

Author: Jeff Weiss
Published: Aug 9, 2018
Length: 5 minutes (1,476 words)

L.A. Woman Was the Doors’ Bluesy Masterpiece, and Jim Morrison’s Kiss-Off to L.A.

The making of the album, on its 40th anniversary:

“This is not a blues city. L.A. is about the concealment of appearance, but the blues is about its unraveling. The blues is the opposite of bullshit. And the psychic unrest of L.A. Woman is prominently placed on the album cover, which drops in April ’71. Jim Morrison is shunted off to the side like a dwarf Russian woodcutter or an American werewolf about to ruin Paris. The border is blood red; the faces of the band, choleric yellow.

“‘Jim was seduced by the luxury and indulgences of fame,’ Manzarek says now. Always bespoke and bespectacled, he has a voice as smooth as soy milk. In 1971, he splits time between a two-bedroom near the Whisky and a small penthouse on the Upper West Side of Manhattan. ‘The more boorish the behavior, the more Morrison’s crew liked it. We confronted him, and he said he was trying to quit drinking. But he was a guy who would say, “I feel lousy. I need a drink.” Conversely, “I feel great, I need a drink.” ’ “

Author: Jeff Weiss
Source: LA Weekly
Published: Jan 19, 2012
Length: 12 minutes (3,132 words)