Search Results for: Josh-Eells

A Kendrick Lamar Syllabus

Kendrick Lamar performs at the Grammys on January 28, 2018. (Christopher Polk/Getty Images for NARAS)

Last month, Kendrick Lamar Duckworth won the Pulitzer Prize in music for his 2017 album DAMN. It’s the first work of hip-hop to be commended since the award for musical composition was created in 1943. Most winners have been classical musicians, and a few, like Wynton Marsalis and Ornette Coleman, composers of jazz.

The Pulitzer board noted that DAMN. “offers affecting vignettes capturing the complexity of modern African-American life.” The album’s selection updates and redefines conceptions of music and high culture — it is canon expanding and its reverberations and aftershocks should be significant.

DAMN. is Lamar’s third album, and while it is spectacular, I don’t think it’s his most thrilling. good kid m.A.A.d. city, from 2012, succeeds more on the plane of hip-hop aesthetics, with its structurally sound story arc. To Pimp a Butterfly, from 2015, was more melodically lush, and it magnetized a rising tide of political fervor: The single “Alright” became a protest anthem, and every major release by a popular black musician afterward seemed to form a politically-charged chorus.

Lamar has made a career of delivering prescient, complex work that is sometimes fiery and discordant, and other times deeply meditative or grief-stricken. But his work always feels honest. With the significance of his Pulitzer in sight, I offer a small selection of the insightful writing on Lamar that has published in the years since his debut.
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Video Pick: The Journey of Transgender Rocker Laura Jane Grace

If you’ve been following Longreads for a while, you may have seen this excellent Rolling Stone story from last year by Josh Eells, “The Secret Life of Transgender Rocker Tom Gabel”, about Against Me! singer Laura Jane Grace’s transition.

This MTV House of Style short reveals more about her life, and the small things she’s discovered with regard to clothing, makeup and style. And as Grace notes at the end of the clip, “A lot of tips I picked up were from other trans women on the Internet… When I was 14 years old if I was watching House of Style watching a transsexual being interviewed and talking about that, it would have completely changed my life. I would have felt saved.”

Read more from the Longreads archive: Stories by Josh Eells

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Video Pick: The Journey of Transgender Rocker Laura Jane Grace

Longreads Pick

If you’ve been following Longreads for a while, you may have seen this excellent Rolling Stone story from last year by Josh Eells, “The Secret Life of Transgender Rocker Tom Gabel”, about Against Me! singer Laura Jane Grace’s transition.

This MTV House of Style short reveals more about her life, and the small things she’s discovered with regard to clothing, makeup and style. And as Grace notes at the end of the clip, “A lot of tips I picked up were from other trans women on the Internet… When I was 14 years old if I was watching House of Style watching a transsexual being interviewed and talking about that, it would have completely changed my life. I would have felt saved.”

Author: Editors
Source: Longreads
Published: Jul 20, 2013

The lead singer of Against Me!, married with a child, is now Laura Jane Grace. She speaks out about gender dysphoria, which left her uncomfortable in a male body for as long as she can remember:

In retrospect, the lyrics are almost shockingly direct: If I could have chosen I would have been born a woman / My mother once told me she would have named me Laura / I would grow up to be strong and beautiful like her / One day I’d find an honest man to make my husband

“Gabel says he thought he was ‘completely outing himself’ with a lyric like that. He expected to be confronted – a part of him even craved it. But if anyone suspected anything, no one brought it up. ‘When we did that song, I was like, “What is that about?”’ says Butch Vig, who produced Against Me!’s last two albums. ‘He just kind of laughed it off. He said, “I was stoned and dreaming about what life can be.”’

“The Secret Life of Transgender Rocker Tom Gabel.” — Josh Eells, Rolling Stone

More from Eells

Inside the rock star’s Nashville home and the headquarters for his growing company, Third Man Records: 

White walked back to a room called the Vault, which is maintained at a constant 64 degrees. He pressed his thumb to a biometric scanner. The lock clicked, and he swung the door open to reveal floor-to-ceiling shelves containing the master recordings of nearly every song he’s ever been involved with. Unusually for a musician, White has maintained control of his own masters, granting him extraordinary artistic freedom as well as truckloads of money. ‘It’s good to finally have them in a nice sealed environment,’ White said. I asked where they’d been before, and he laughed. ‘In a closet in my house. Ready to be set on fire.’

White said the building used to be a candy factory, but I had my doubts. He’s notoriously bendy with the truth — most famously his claim that his White Stripes bandmate, Meg White, was his sister, when in fact she was his wife. Considering the White Stripes named themselves for peppermint candies, the whole thing seemed a little neat. ‘That’s what they told me,’ he insisted, not quite convincingly. I asked if I needed to worry about him embellishing details like that, and he cackled in delight. ‘Yes,’ he said. ‘Yes.’

“Jack White Is the Coolest, Weirdest, Savviest Rock Star of Our Time.” — Josh Eells, New York Times Magazine

See also: “The Fresh Air Interview: Jay-Z.” Terry Gross, Nov. 16, 2010