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California back: 4 artists leading the West Coast rap renaissance

Back in the early 90s, Dr. Dre, Ice Cub, Snoop Dogg, Eazy-E, and Nate Dogg changed hip-hop with their aggressive G-Funk sound, bringing the art form out West in earnest for the first time.

It took awhile for rap listeners to catch on, but by the mid-90s, when Tupac Shakur was one of the biggest stars in the world, West Coast hip-hop was officially a force. Then everything went relatively quiet.

As revolutionary and different as N.W.A and Snoop were in 1992, by the late 90s, West Coast hip-hop suffered a serious drought until Dr. Dre and Eminem’s new artist, The Game, came out of nowhere with The Documentary in 2005, a seminal project of modern rap.

Game proudly proclaimed on The Documentary‘s title track “I’ll take all the credit for putting the west back on the map,” and no could really argue with the facts.

Then in the late 2000s, out of the Thizz-filled haze of the Bay Area’s hyphy movement came The Pack, a quartet of rappers including Lil B that brought a whole new sound and style, much closer to dance music than the gangsta rap of their southern counterparts in LA.

The Pack were a wild combination of Bay Area hyphy rap and the emerging backpack rap of The Cool Kids and Kid Cudi. The impact of The Pack can’t really be quantified, but it’s not a stretch to watch the “Vans” video and see much of the sounds and aesthetic of modern “Soundcloud Rap.”

So during the aughts, you had The Game and The Pack, offering completely different takes on rap in every possible way, but the combination of Game bringing back LA’s gangsta rap and The Pack’s goofy, 808-filled hyphy rap has led to the current landscape of new West Coast hip-hop.

The West Coast no longer finds itself in a drought of hip-hop talent. Top Dawg Entertainment, with its star-studded roster of Kendrick Lamar, Schoolboy Q, SZA, Jay Rock, Ab-Soul, et al. is probably the most powerful independent label in music. YG and Nipsey Hussle are both bonafide stars (with an apparent collab album on the way).

But those artists are all in the mainstream to various extents (not to mention Kendrick Lamar is the most important artist out right now). Let’s take a look at some of the lesser known West Coast artists on the come up leading the renaissance.


Sacramento native Mozzy has been rapping since 2011, but didn’t officially blow up until 2015 with his album Bladadah.

Since then, Mozzy has become one of the most followed rappers in the West Coast underground, his gravely voice, deadpan flow, and penchant for a good story have made Mozzy an incredibly intriguing artist.

Mozzy is also one of Kendrick Lamar’s favorite rappers, for whatever that’s worth. When Kendrick won best rap album of the year at the Grammys his first words were, ““Like my guy Mozzy say, ‘God up top all the time.'”

Mozzy also grabbed a slot on the Black Panther soundtrack with “Seasons”.

The Sacramento native is one of the most influential dudes in the underground, with young artists from thousands of miles away from California, like YBN Nahmir, naming him as a main inspiration.

Mozzy is a little rough around the edges, but listening to him reveals where rap, in California and beyond, is headed.


The Vallejo, California four-piece group SOB X RBE is one of the most exciting up-and-coming rap acts out right now.

After gaining massive momentum from their smash single “Anti” in 2016, dropping the fire self-titled album in 2017, SOB X RBE got the Black Panther placement, and dropped their most recent album Gangin last week.

There’s such a wild energy in SOB X RBE’s music. The gritty bars of Slimmy B, Lul G, and DaBoii contrast with the smoother, melodic sing-rapping of Yhung T.O. to perfection.

After linking up only a couple years ago, SOB X RBE is already well on their way to stardom. Gangin is a truly impressive project, give these kids a listen if you haven’t yet.

Drakeo The Ruler

I’ve written about Drakeo The Ruler a couple times. There’s no hiding the fact that I’m incredibly excited about this dude. His style is so bizarre, so far from normal rapping, it’s more just like stream of consciousness shit talking.

Drakeo’s unbothered, imprecise, improvisational delivery has gotten him comparisons to Gucci Mane. And while he’s had some legal problems that have made that comparison all the more appropriate, Drakeo is home and ready to take over.

For all those decreeing homogenous nature of hip-hop right now (you’re not looking hard enough) Drakeo the Ruler is for you.

03 Greedo

Greedo, a collaborator of Drakeo the Ruler’s (a rumored joint project is on the way from the duo), is an equally bizarre artist technically.

He doesn’t really sing, it’s not quite rapping, but Greedo’s delivery falls somewhere in between the two, it’s a fun and exhilarating sound that has critics labeling him LA’s most exciting rapper and the future of West Coast rap.

Greedo is raw, unbridled, and real. His music is equally aggressive and pensive, familiar and abstract at the same time. There’s something compelling about an artist who seems so self-possessed with their art, like they could care less whether you listen or not.

You can bring weed, coke, and heroin into stadiums at World Cup in Russia

For all you soccer fans skeptical about going to the 2018 World Cup in Russia because of the country’s recent antagonism against America or the fact that we didn’t qualify for the tournament, I urge you to reconsider.

You’ll be able to bring weed, coke, heroin, and other recreational drugs into stadiums.

Apparently, in Russia you can bring around these drugs if you have proper medical documents. I don’t know what documentation allows for heroin use, but it’s time to get those docs on speed dial.

Mr Bean Thumbs Up GIF - Find & Share on GIPHY

Newsweek reported on the extremely chill Russian drug laws:

“The Moscow-based Eurasian Economic Union (EAEU), a joint economic trade bloc of countries including Belarus, Kazakhstan and Russia, allows for certain banned narcotic and psychotropic drugs to be brought into the country with supporting medical documentation. The Russian-led union of nations gives foreign travelers the right to carry drugs including cannabis and cocaine with the proper prescription papers.

The EAEU policy towards narcotics goes in concordance with FIFA’s own rules that allow for spectators to keep the pack on them if they have proper documentation as well.

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From Newsweek:

“FIFA rules also allow spectators to have narcotics on their person, but they must have a prescription written in either English or Russian, the pro-Kremlin Izvestia newspaper first reported. Russian Federation laws about proper conduct for spectators will still be in effect at all of the 11 Russian cities hosting World Cup events. The country’s smoking ban in Moscow, St. Petersburg and Sochi venues will also still be active.”

Again, all you need is some official doctor’s note and you can be off the shits all over Russia this summer:

“The full list of substances allowed into Russia as it hosts the World Cup events between June 14 to July 15 will allow for cocaine, codeine, morphine, amphetamines and cannabis.”

There’s already massive problems in Russia with soccer fan violence and racial abuse, maybe giving everybody a couple pulls of sour will keep things homeostatic during the World Cup.

Ice Cube Smoking GIF - Find & Share on GIPHY

Regardless, Russia 2018 will easily be one of the most hotboy sporting events ever held.

Mother of ‘Girl With No Job’ exposed as outspoken alt-right troll Pamela Geller

The Oshry sisters (Claudia, Jackie, Margo, and Olivia) have built massive social media followings in recent years, including Claudia’s Girl With No Job account, which has almost 3 million followers.

Her other sisters, Jackie, Olivia, and Margo manage accounts like Jackie O Problems, @hungoverandhungry, and curate their YouTube and Facebook Live program.

But according to a bizarre report from Daily Beast, the Oshry sisters have made a massive effort to hide their mother from their spotlight. Their mom, Pamela Geller, is an infamous anti-muslim, alt-right troll.

The Daily Beast described Geller:

“Pamela Geller has built a career off leveraging the media to incite outrage with her racist, Islamophobic comments. She is widely regarded as an alt-right troll; the Southern Poverty Law Center described her rhetoric as ‘hate speech.'”

Geller is so outspoken in her anti-muslim beliefs (once holding a competition to draw Muhammad at a site where violence against muslims had been thwarted in Garland, Texas) she was barred from entering the UK in 2013.

“In 2013, she was banned from entering England after the British government said having her in the country would ‘not be conducive to the public good.’ In 2015, she hosted a ‘Draw the Prophet Muhammad’ contest in Garland, Texas—the site where two gunmen were killed by a security guard after plotting an attack at the event.

The Oshry sisters have gone to impressive lengths to prevent people from connecting them to their outspoken mother:

“The Oshry sisters Snapchat from Geller’s apartment, yet never allow her to appear in the background. When Claudia shared her engagement photos with wedding site The Knot, she made sure that her mother, who attended her daughter’s engagement party and wedding, did not appear in any photos.”

To this point, the connection between the Oshry sisters and their mother had never been made, now old tweets from those Oshry sisters are putting them in some hot water.

Like many kids, it’s totally possible that the Oshry sisters don’t agree with their parents’ political beliefs, but this situation, that a group of social media star sisters have such an outspoken and infamous alt-right mother is truly weird.

After publication of the story, Claudia Oshry gave a statement to the Daily Beast saying their beliefs are different than their mother’s:

“We want to be clear to our audience and fans that our political and cultural beliefs are not anti-Muslim or anti-anyone. Our views are separate from our mother’s. Being raised by a single parent, we were taught to make our own choices based on our personal beliefs. We are inspired to think for ourselves and we do. We do not condone discrimination or racist beliefs of any kind.”

These are the weirdest times.

Follow up to infamous 1968 Kerner Commission finds same issues of race, poverty

In 1967, riots spread across the United States in over 100 cities. Caused by racial disharmony, anxieties over the Vietnam War, and increasing wealth inequality, the riots consumed much of the country.

The Kerner Commission found rampant inequality, characterized mostly by racial resentment and prejudice. The commission infamously concluded that the country was “moving toward two societies, one black, one white—separate and unequal.”

Now, fifty years later, a similar report is reviewing the findings of the Kerner Commission. Healing Our Divided Society: Investing in America Fifty Years After the Kerner Report, co-edited by Fred Harris, the last living member of the Kerner Commission and Alan Curtis, CEO of the Milton Eisenhower Foundation.

It’d be pretty cool if I could write that Healing Our Divided Society found that we have made massive improvements as a country. Unfortunately that is very much not the case.

The report found that schools have become more segregated than the 80s and poverty threatens our basic democracy. The Washington Post reported on the findings:

“Court decisions that loosened oversight of previously de facto segregated schools resulted in a huge change: In 1988, almost half of all students of color went to majority-white schools. Today that number has plummeted to 20 percent. Poverty is such a problem, the study concluded, that if it is not mitigated, America’s very democracy is threatened.”

From The Post:

“Since the late 1960s, the percentage of American children living in poverty has increased, income inequality and the wealth gap have widened, and segregation has crept back into schools and neighborhoods.”

Fred Harris, the only person on both commissions, told NPR about the frustrations over the lack of progress:

“I was 37 when I served on the (Kerner) Commission. Whoever thought that 50 years later, we’d still be talking about the same things? That’s kinda sad.”

As Vanessa Williams of The Washington Post noted, the results of the Kerner Commission saw improvement, only for the country to settle back into its old, bigoted habits.

“Still, the report states that in the decade after the riots, the country saw marked improvements in the economic and social conditions in communities of color because of federal investments.”

Harris told the Post about what we as a society need:

“We’ve got to redouble our efforts on a broad front, just like the Kerner report recommended all those years ago. Organizing around those kinds of issues and the basic principle of equality and equality of opportunity can and must be done. What’s happening in the country is bad for all of us. Doing something about it is good for all of us.”

As for solutions, the report recommends basically the very opposite of our recent government policy:

“The new report says that supply-side economics, including tax cuts such as those recently enacted, do not lead to trickle-down economic improvements for people at the lower end of the economic spectrum. Instead, infrastructure spending to create jobs and programs such as the Earned Income Tax Credit have helped lift families out of poverty. The report also calls for increases in the minimum wage, pay equity for women, and providing more work permits and a path to citizenship for illegal immigrants.”

But there is some good news!

The Brookings Institution published a report on Tuesday titled The middle class is becoming race-plural, just like the rest of America, detailing the diversification of the American middle class.

As America becomes more diverse, naturally the middle class, which had been synonymous with “white people” for decades, will become more diverse:

“In 2017, for the first time, the majority of American children under 10 were black and/or brown. From a purely mathematical perspective, this implies that at some point in the not too distant future, the composition of the American middle class will begin to mirror that of American society as a whole.”

The report also pointed to the fact that many white Americans who were previously solidly in the middle class, have recently fallen out of that bracket with recession and widening income inequality:

“Second, in the context of greater economic inequality in the U.S., a recent recession, and a 2016 Presidential election outcome that highlighted the plight of low-income white Americans, there is a heightened general public awareness that some previously middle-class whites are no longer ‘middle class.'”

Black and brown people will naturally fill the gaps left behind, especially as demographics shift further towards minorities in America.

It’s incredibly discouraging to look at the Kerner Comission and compare the issues faced in 1968 to our modern American plight and realize things are largely the same. Despite the diversification of the middle class, America seems broken.

To solve, or help, the pervasive racial and poverty issues that infect our country, we’ll need progressive policies that spend government money on programs to help low-income Americans.

But at a time when we need revolutionary legislation to help our nation’s poor, the Trump administration wants to zag the opposite direction. This does not bode well.

Ludacris is one of hip-hop’s most skilled businessmen. Peep the resume.

Christopher Bridges, aka Ludacris, has been a star in the entertainment industry for almost two decades. Starting out as a radio DJ, Luda soon released a string of canonical albums in the early 2000s, including the classics Chicken-Beer and The Red Light District.

Since taking over the rap game (seriously there was a point in 2003-2004 where Ludacris was completely unavoidable) Bridges has parlayed his visibility into a wild business career.

Between dipping his toe into other entertainment industries, investments in emerging tech, and his own businesses, Luda has been raking it in for a minute now.

Here’s how Ludacris has gone from party rapper to a boss of the business world.

Fast and Furious franchise

In 2003, when Ludacris was at the top of the rap game, he was casted as Tej Parker, a technician and retired drag racer in 2 Fast 2 Furious. Since then, Luda has appeared in five of the eight Fast and Furious movies, which have grossed over $5 billion worldwide.

In a 2015 interview with Screen Rant, Ludacris spoke about the Fast and Furious franchise:

“It was definitely a surprise and I’m just humbled to be a part of this franchise. Gotta love that. No one thought it would be successful enough to make it to seven. Not it’s literally one of the most successful franchises in movie history.”

Ludacris used his experience in Fast and Furious to get reputable roles in Hustle & Flow and Crash. Dude is one of the most successful musical artist/actors ever. That’s some range.

Chicken-n-Beer restaurant

In 2016, Ludacris turned his infamous album title Chicken-n-Beer into a real life place, opening up the Chicken-n-Beer restaurant in Atlanta’s Hartsfield-Jackson airport.

To make the restaurant a reality, Ludacris teamed up with Jackmont Hospitality, a minority-owned foodservice management company behind some of Atlanta’s most popping up-and-coming restaurants.

Chicken-n-Beer serves southern comfort food and local beers. ‘Bout to fly down to Atlanta just to cop.

Conjure Cognac

Rappers getting into the adult beverage game is nothing new, but in Ludacris’ case, he is the co-owner and co-creator of his own cognac brand, Conjure.

This isn’t just a simple endorsement for Ludacris, he was involved in the actual crafting of the alcohol. That’s some hands on work from the DTP head.


In 2015, Ludacris invested in Atlanta-based startup Roadie, which is basically Uber for package delivery. If you want to transport something, hit up Roadie and they’ll coordinate a drop off.

Ludacris said in a statement at the time that he’s excited about the app and always eager to encourage and promote businesses in his hometown of Atlanta:

“I am intrigued by new technology and I love seeing the Atlanta tech scene on the rise so I partnered with Roadie to help spread the word about this brand new, completely unique app created in Atlanta. In a world where I feel we need a lot more people helping each other out, Friendshipping is the future.”


Puma may be glowed-up now with Rihanna, Young Thug, Rae Sremmurd, and other hip-hop ambassadors, but that wasn’t always the case.

Ludacris was at the cutting edge back in 2006, bringing his own pair of Puma Suedes, complete with a very fire (and extremely dated) commercial.

Luda been knowin’.

Boost Mobile

I know all my 90s babies remember the best commercial of all-time. The Boost Mobile “Where You At?” campaign with Kanye, Ludacris, and The Game was truly an iconic moment (look at the ‘fits).

Not to mention, the song is a banger.

Slang N’ Friendz

As an answer to Scrabble and Words With Friends, Ludacris teamed up with Edward Benton to create Slang N’ Frienz, a mobile app styled after those spelling games but with slang words included in the game’s database.

Luda told Billboard:

“I thought it was a perfect partnership just because hip hop is a genre that is known for creating slang and some of that slang even making it into the dictionary or having double entendres or things of that nature. That’s pretty much what brought us together.”

It’s basically a more millennial-friendly Scrabble. It’s lit.

Best. Cover. Ever.

Ludacris is the host of Best. Cover. Ever., a YouTube show executive produced by Ryan Seacrest Productions and Endemol Shine America, that brings aspiring artists to cover a song by their favorite artists.

The catch? Those artists are in attendance during the performance.

Ludacris told Billboard about what differentiates Best. Cover. Ever.,

“It’s an interesting way of bringing new talent, not only to meet their idols but also to put the spotlight on them so they can help further their career. You have the competition aspect, the music aspect, the finding a star aspect, and the people meeting their idol aspect.”

Check out all episodes on YouTube.

The Ludacris Foundation

The Ludacris Foundation is a non-profit that “inspires youth through education and memorable experiences to live their dreams by uplifting families, communities and fostering economic development.”

The non-profit raises funds with their annual LudaDay Weekend that brings Atlanta youth together at events and concerts.

It’s cool to get extremely breaded off blockbuster films, luxury liquor brands, and tech investments, but it’s all relatively meaningless if you’re not bringing that success to your community.

Apropos of nothing, Ludacris was in the headlines a lot last summer when Bill O’Reilly’s sexual harassment scandal came to the forefront. Back in the day, O’Reilly forced Pepsi to end its sponsorship with Ludacris because he was “a man who degrades women.”

O’Reilly, a serial sexual harasser, should probably have kept Luda’s damn name all the way out his mouth, but after the Fox News idiot was fired, Ludacris took the high road, telling The Breakfast Club he’s not here to judge:

“It’s not my place to judge Bill O’Reilly the same way he judged me. I’m thriving in life right now. All I can do is hope that Bill O’Reilly settles these issues and learns from whatever mistakes he may have made ― and also thrives.” 

We all hope to see Luda continue to thrive and Bill O’Reilly continue to recede from our collective consciousness.

*Puts on Chicken-n-Beer for rest of day*

America has a teacher diversity problem. Here’s what’s being done to solve it.

In 2014, white students made up less than 50% of the public school system in the United States for the first time. But while our country’s racial and ethnic demographics may be changing, the people instructing those kids are largely, and increasingly, monolithic.

The teaching force in America is made up mostly of white, middle-aged, Christian women, meaning that a large number of kids are growing up without seeing themselves represented in education during the most formative part of their lives.

The teacher diversity problem arose after Brown v. Board of Education, when schools across the country were forced to desegregate. Up to that point, Black teachers had taught Black students and vice versa, but when the teaching force integrated, Black teachers were left by the wayside.

It’s ironic that one of the most important cases in terms of racial equality in our country actually worked in the opposite direction for Black educators, but America be like that sometimes.

So what is the going on? Why are there so fewer minority educators, why does it matter, and what can be done about it?

The Problem

It’s hard to understand that as our country becomes increasingly diverse, the teaching force has become less so, but that’s exactly what has in the last 20 years.

USA Today charted the statistics:

“At last count, about 82% of teachers were white, down from 83% eight years earlier. While the percentage of non-white students in U.S. schools rose 6 percentage points between the 2003-2004 and 2011-2012 school years, from 39.6% to 45.7%, the percentage of non-white teachers rose just 1.2 percentage points, from 16.9% to 18.1%.”

There are actually more white teachers compared to the turn of the century. USA Today further broke down how much whiter teachers are than their students:

“Even in schools located in the USA’s whitest 17 states, each class typically contains four or five non-white students. But just 1 in 33 classrooms has a non-white teacher.”

These statistics are staggering not only because diversity is so important to young, impressionable minds, but also because the already-formed minds of teachers contain implicit biases within them.

A study conducted by Johns Hopkins University found that white teachers are far less likely to expect a Black student to graduate college than a Black teacher would be for the same student.

From the study:

“When a Black teacher and a white teacher evaluate the same Black student, the white teacher is about 30 percent less likely to predict the student will complete a four-year college degree, the study found. White teachers are also almost 40 percent less likely to expect their Black students will graduate high school.”

John King, Education secretary in the final year of the Obama administration, spoke about how problematic this is for kids, regardless of race:

“It’s a problem for students of color because it’s important for them to see mentors and role models. But I also think it’s a problem for white students. I think there’s a real benefit for white students in having diverse teachers, because ultimately we’re trying to prepare all kids for a diverse world.”

Ok, so we’re clear. There aren’t nearly enough minority teachers, the problem is getting worse, and the white teachers we do have are statistically more likely to expect less out of minority students. Not great.

Benefits of a diverse workforce

When you come across diversity arguments, which permeate virtually every industry and educational sphere (as they should), you’ll hear a lot of talk about choosing “the best candidate” irrespective of race or ethnicity. These people say we should treat everything as a meritocracy and give the position (whatever it may be) to the person who is most deserving.

This argument is meaningless. The problem with many of these spaces is that the hiring or selection processes are marked by biases that disqualify minority candidates, not that minority candidates are TAKING JOBS away from shockingly qualified white people.

That is to say, hiring processes in typically white spaces are not very good at improving diversity, even when data tells them they should.

In the case of diversity in education, kids of all races benefit from learning from minority educators.

A recent study found that young Black men from low-income families see their chances of dropping out of high school drop 39% if they have one Black teacher in third, fourth, or fifth grade.

That is a pretty staggering statistic, but the title of the paper, “The Long-Run Impact of Same-Race Teachers” feels slightly reductive. Are we meant to completely segregate our schools and have all our kids learn from same-race teachers?

Far from it, actually, because white students also benefit from having minority teachers. Gloria Ladson-Billings, Kellner Family Chair in Urban Education at the University of Wisconsin-Madison, spoke to the UW website about how Black teachers can positively affect white students early in life:

“I want to suggest that there is something that may be even more important than Black students having Black teachers and that is White students having Black teachers! It is important for White students to encounter Black people who are knowledgeable and hold some level of authority over them. Black students ALREADY know that Black people have a wide range of capabilities. They see them in their homes, their neighborhoods, and their churches. They are the Sunday School teachers, their Scout Leaders, their coaches, and family members. But what opportunities do White students have to see and experience Black competence?”

It’s true that a white student, especially one from a racially monolithic area, would benefit from a cultural competency perspective by having a minority teacher. But an NYU study, “The Importance of Minority Teachers“, also found students favor minority teachers over their white counterparts. From the study:

“Using data from the Measure of Effective Teaching study, we find that students perceive minority teachers more favorably than White teachers. There is mixed evidence that race matching is linked with more favorable student perceptions. These findings underscore the importance of minority teacher recruitment and retention.”

Ok so, not only do kids benefit from having minority teachers from a test-taking and cultural efficiency perspective, but they actually prefer these teachers. So what’s being done to improve hiring practices?

Searching for solutions

The diversity issue in education starts with hiring. Many administrators from places like Silicon Valley to universities to school boards will claim that there aren’t enough qualified candidates when faced with calls for improved diversity.

This is never actually the case.

School districts need to the best they can to ensure diversity in its teaching force, even in the whitest districts.

One district in Tangipahoa Parish, Louisiana was forced to desegregate its teaching force as a result of a court case Moore v. Tangipahoa Parish School Board. The resulting desegregation, and how the district would incorporate and hire more Black teachers, became a sort of case study in how schools should improve diversity amongst educators.

Now, Tangipahoa Parish’s hiring practices are far ahead of the state and nationwide averages for minority teachers, but test scores have also improved. The Atlantic reported on the changes:

“And the value of this policy, it seems, wasn’t just a matter of optics. Since the paper was released, [study author Diane Whitmore] Schanzenbach has obtained additional race-specific data that reflect notable achievements for Black students. After the court order was implemented, the black-white achievement disparity in test scores narrowed by 5 percent. While it’s difficult to assess causation, this improvement, Schanzenbach theorized, happened ‘just from hiring different teachers within the pool of applicants.'”

In Tangipahoa Parish, quotas for Black teachers were enforced by the court and positive changes occurred both in the diversity of the teaching staff and the test scores of the students.

Pinellas County, Florida has vowed to increase the number of Black teachers in an attempt to improve test scores, but no quotas are enforced. Perhaps schools should have an NFL style ‘Rooney Rule’ where teams have to interview a minority candidate for head coaching for high-level front office positions.

Valerie Hill-Jackson, a clinical professor in the Department of Teaching, Learning, and Culture at Texas A&M University, told The Atlantic that this isn’t just about everyone feeling better, teacher diversity yields results.

“This isn’t pie in the sky, kumbaya. Whether our kids are growing in math, science, or language arts, it works to have [nonwhite educators] in front of the classroom.”

Rian Reed, a Black teacher who was turned down for a job in suburban Pennsylvania before being hired in the predominately Black Prince George’s County, Maryland, spoke to The Atlantic about the need for active efforts to recruit minority teachers.

“If student success is a priority [as] it should be, school districts must consistently reevaluate their hiring practices to ensure that they have a culturally diverse staff, [and] not just through quotas.”

Hire minority teachers.

In honor of ‘Black Panther’, Disney donates $1 million for STEM initiatives

Black Panther has been a massive success both at the box office and beyond, truly changing the entertainment industry and the culture at large.

Now Disney, inspired by the widespread success of Black Panther, is donating $1 million to the Boys & Girls Clubs of America to implement STEM (science, technology, engineering, math) centers throughout cities in the country.

Disney CEO Bog Iger detailed that plans in a press release:

“Boys & Girls Clubs of America will use this one-time grant to further develop its existing national STEM curriculum, and establish new STEM Centers of Innovation in 12 communities across the country. The curriculum and new centers will serve and inspire kids and teens, with an emphasis in the following communities: Atlanta, GA; Baltimore, MD; Chicago, IL; Harlem, NY; Hartford, CT; Memphis, TN; New Orleans, LA; Oakland, CA; Orlando, FL; Philadelphia, PA; Washington, DC; Watts, CA.”

Further, the press release described the technology that will be provided at the STEM centers:

“Hands-on, advanced technologies that stimulate creative approaches to STEM exploration, including 3-D printers, robotics, high-definition video production and conferencing equipment. In addition, a fully dedicated STEM expert will offer individual and group support, using real-world applications to help Club members develop their STEM skills and critical thinking.”

Jim Clark, president and CEO of Boys & Girls Clubs of America, described the importance of Disney’s donation,

“From hands-on interactive programs to critical thinking, Boys & Girls Clubs of America is committed to providing thousands of young people with the tools they need to prepare for a great future. Thanks to Disney’s support, we can expand our outreach and allow more youth to find their passions and discover STEM careers.”

The move was praised by the cast of Black Panther.

It’s pretty cool to see how drastically Black Panther has pushed things forward, both in the entertainment industry and the culture at large. Wakanda forever!

Nipsey Hussle opens up co-working space in native Crenshaw District

Nipsey Hussle, the Crenshaw District native fresh off his first major studio album withVictory Lap, is trying to bring his success to his community, opening a professional co-working space called Vector90 in Crenshaw.

Partnering up with business partner and entrepreneur David Gross, who is also from the Crenshaw District, Nipsey and Gross are bringing economy and industry to their local neighborhood, an area that’s been underserved and forgotten by the powers that be over the years.

David Gross told CBS Los Angeles that he’s been the recipient of certain opportunities and opening this space is the first step to helping bring that fortune to his community, “I always think there would be a lot of people in my shoes had they had those breaks.”

CBS spoke to Desha Greene, a member of Vector90 who previously had to hold meetings in local coffee shops before grabbing her own business space. She told CBS about what it means to see a working space in this area,

“I grew up around here and there is absolutely no space like this. Traffic coming in and out, or, you know, babies crying… It’s home for me. I want to see the people in my community win.”

Desha also said that her twin girls will attend the STEM classes that Nipsey Hussle and Gross plan on implementing at Vector90.

This is clearly the first step from Gross and Nipsey towards their larger plan of opening STEM schools in Los Angeles, Atlanta, DC, and underserved neighborhoods all over the country.

Nipsey has spoken about his intention of bridging the gap between Silicon Valley and these communities.

Shoutout Nipsey for spreading his success to his neighborhood.

Best new tracks of the week: Janelle Monáe, SOB X RBE, Speedy Ortiz, & more

Every Friday, we gather the best new tracks of the week together for your listening pleasure.

With exciting artists like Janelle Monáe, Speedy Ortiz, and Parquet Courts dropping off singles and announcing new albums, along with complete projects from rising stars like Ronny J and SOB X RBE, it was a dope week of new music.

Let’s jump into it.

Janelle Monáe – “Make Me Feel”

Soul, funk, R&B star Janelle Monáe dropped two singles and announced her upcoming Dirty Computer album yesterday. “Make Me Feel” is some very Prince-inspired fire. Janelle is amazing.

Also, you gotta watch the video.

Young Scooter – “Real Talk” (ft. Future)

Atlanta trap god Young Scooter dropped his album Trippple Cross, a compilation of dark, trappy beats and fire features.

Young Thug and Future are all over this album. Great brick-moving theme music.

Speedy Ortiz – “Lucky 88”

Speedy Ortiz, the four-piece rock band from Northampton, Massachusetts, dropped their first single off their upcoming album Twerp Verse, due April 27.

Speedy Ortiz make some truly fun rock music, check ’em out.

SOB X RBE – “Anti Social”

Vallejo, California rap group SOB X RBE, buoyed by a placement on Kendrick Lamar’s Black Panther soundtrack, dropped their follow up to last year’s self-titled debut.

The contrast in styles between their members creates a very intriguing dynamic, these kids are nice.

HoodRich Pablo Juan & Brodinksi – “I’m the One”

This partnership is SO WILD. Brodinski, the French house DJ and collaborator on Kanye’s Yeezus (“Black Skinhead”, “Send It Up”), teamed up with rising ATL trap-rapper HoodRich Pablo Juan on The Matrix mixtape.

Brodisnki’s post-apocalyptic production and Pablo Juan’s slurred-out bars are a perfect match.

Ronny J – “Costa Rica” (ft. Ski Mask The Slump God)

Ronny J, the New Jersey native behind a large portion of South Florida aggro rap, released a solo album today, with features from frequent collaborators Ski Mask The Slump God, Smokepurpp, XXXTentacion, and Denzel Curry.

OMGRONNY is like a crystallization of SoundCloud rap, it’s worth listening to just for studying purposes alone.

WizKid – Soco (ft. Ceeza Milli, Spotless, & Terri)

Nigerian Afrobeats star WizKid dropped his latest jam, “Soco”, today through his Starboy collective. I wrote about the Nigerian Afrobeats wave earlier this week.

His moniker isn’t gas, WizKid is a damn international star. “Soco” is fun as hell.

Wavves & Culture Abuse – “Big Cloud”

Nathan Williams’ Wavves teams up with Culture Abuse for this roaring pop-punk track. This is a great combination, would love to see more from Wavves and Culture Abuse.

Lil Uzi Vert &  Playboi Carti – “Bankroll”

The duo from fuckboy heaven, Lil Uzi Vert and Playboi Carti, dropped off their latest “Bankroll”. It’s hot, there’s a lot of “ays” and “yuhs.” You know what it is.

Ski Mask – “DoIHaveTheSause?”

Ski Mask The Slump God was all over the Ronny J tape and he released his own single today.

Despite misspelling the word sauce, this song is hot. Ski Mask gets lumped in with other “mumble” or “SoundCloud” rap (whatever you wanna call it), but his flow is as distinct, unique, and weird as anyone out right now.

Parquet Courts – “Almost Had to Start a Fight/In and Out of Patience”

Brooklyn post-punk darlings Parquet Courts dropped the lead single off their upcoming album Wide Awake!, due in May. The new project is produced by the legendary Danger Mouse, so that’s fire.

Other tings…

I’ve really been digging Japanese Breakfast‘s album from last summer Soft Sounds from Another Planet. Little Big League’s Michelle Zauner’s dream-poppy solo project is super fun.

Went back to this Ali Farka Touré album this week. It’s so good. Anyone interested in guitar music or world music in general should spend some time with this project.

Happy weekending.

FBI probe indicates NCAA college players are getting paid. No shit.

The FBI probe into the inner-workings of the NCAA has ensnared the sports agency ASM Sports, high profile NBA and NCAA players, players’ families, and universities including Michigan State, Kentucky, Duke, North Carolina, Texas, USC, and plenty others, according to documents obtained by Yahoo Sports.

ASM Sports, former agent Andy Miller, and his associate Charles Dawkins are the focus of this particular investigation with myriad payments or “loans” to amateur players to get them to sign with the agency.

A brief list of notable players, according to Yahoo:

Dennis Smith, who would go on to play at North Carolina State in 2016-17, received $43,500 according to the documents. Another document headed “Pina,” for ASM agent Stephen Pina, says Smith received a total of $73,500 in loans, and includes notes about “options to recoup the money” when Smith did not sign with ASM.

Isaiah Whitehead, at the time a freshman at Seton Hall, received $26,136 according to the documents. The “Pina” document says Whitehead received $37,657 and was “setting up payment plan.” Whitehead signed with ASM but later left the agency for Roc Nation.

A listing that refers to “BAM” for $12,000 is later identified in the documents as Edrice “Bam” Adebayo, who would go on to play at Kentucky in 2016-17. He did not sign with ASM. There’s a later reference to Adebayo that says he received $36,500. “Bad loan,” reads the document.

Markelle Fultz, who would go on to play at Washington and become the No. 1 pick in the 2017 draft, received $10,000 according to the documents. He did not sign with ASM.

Former Utah star Kyle Kuzma received at least $9,500 while in school, according to the documents.

Apples Jones, the mother of former Kansas player Josh Jackson, received $2,700 according to documents.

Current players still in college include Michigan State star Miles Bridges, Duke’s Wendell Carter, and Alabama’s Collin Sexton.

NCAA President Mark Emmert released a statement this morning saying this has “no place in college sports” or whatever,

“These allegations, if true, point to systematic failures that must be fixed and fixed now if we want college sports in America. Simply put, people who engage in this kind of behavior have no place in college sports. They are an affront to all those who play by the rules.”

Sure, Mark.


As for why the hell the FBI is investigating college sports players getting money from agents, that’s all still very unclear. I, for one, am so glad that the FBI is concerning themselves with payments of a couple thousand (hundreds, in some cases) of dollars to high schoolers’ mothers. THIS MUST STOP!!!!

Dawkins’ lawyer Steve Haney spoke to Yahoo Sports about the ridiculousness of the situation, which includes arrests for Dawkins and numerous assistant coaches:

“These are college eligibility issues and agent licensing issues, not matters of national security that deserve this level of FBI involvement and taxpayer resources… has reached a degree of being ridiculous.”

Yahoo reported on the arrests so far:

“With an ongoing investigation, the chance looms there could be more charges and arrests. So far, four former assistant college basketball coaches have been arrested: Tony Bland of USC, Chuck Person of Auburn, Emanuel Richardson of Arizona and Lamont Evans of Oklahoma State. Six other assorted participants in the basketball underworld also have been arrested: Dawkins; former sneaker executives James Gatto and Merl Code; financial adviser Munish Sood; clothier and former referee Rashan Michel; and Florida AAU coach Brad Augustine. Charges against Augustine earlier were dismissed without explanation.”

None of this is especially interesting or notable, besides the fact that the FBI cares about this. The NCAA is utter trash, profiting off the labor of young 18-21 year olds and claiming broke when people suggest they should share some of that profit with the ‘student athletes.’

The most confusing part about this entire ordeal is choosing whether the NCAA or the FBI is dumber. It’s a tough call.

Pay all the players.