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Marshall Mathers is undoubtedly one of the most popular and critically celebrated rappers of all time. He’s reached a sort of fame that very few in any artistic medium can claim to understand. He’s been in the middle of countless controversies and generally escaped unscathed. Most importantly, he's managed to face his own inner demons, namely prescription drug addiction, and come out on the other side. There’s only one problem: Eminem still reads his reviews.
Maybe it was the way David Fincher’s “The Social Network” framed the Facebook story, with a Sorkin screenplay to boot. The news reports of spas and balls pits at Google definitely went a long way to help. However it happened, as we stumbled out of the dot-com bubble into the age of social media, major new networks had shockingly little coverage on the alarming ways that giant tech companies could be used to subvert notions of privacy and democracy.
The Rutgers athletic department has partnered with Adidas Basketball to celebrate Black History Month by having the men’s and women’s teams suit up in uniforms inspired by the Harlem Renaissance. The uniforms made their debut last night in front of a sold-out Rutgers Athletic Center (RAC), when the Rutgers men’s basketball team took on No. 7 Michigan.
The news cycle is a never-ending flood of information, some of it inspiring and most of it depressing. From TV to radio — and especially with social media — the news, whether political or more lighthearted, is nearly an omnipresent force in our day-to-day lives. Among all the news over winter recess, there was one story that managed to turn heads and garner amazement, partly due to its sheer absurdity. Not the tiresome persistence of the government shutdown or of Tom Brady Super Bowl appearances, but an egg. More specifically, a picture of an egg, which became the most liked Instagram picture of all time.
The end is near. Well, the end of the semester at least. In a few weeks, choosing to chill out and watch a movie won’t feel like a shameful act of procrastination, because we’ll actually be on break. To help prepare for a month of leisure time, it might be worth checking out what’s new on Netflix this month. Here are four programs that'll surely keep you occupied over break.
There are few skills more imperative to success than the ability to write, which is celebrated in many forms. Fiction writing and life writing are specifically recognized in the month of November, as both styles are integral to culture as a whole, in different ways.
In the 70s and 80s, genres of music like electronic and hip-hop were still local burgeoning movements. Like any new form, there needed to be a connection to the music of the past to draw listeners in. While styles like jazz and blues blossomed from prior advancements in folk traditions, the new genres of the late 20th century had a new advantage: technology. In hip-hop, the turntables recontextualized funk and disco breaks, creating a space for MCs to rhyme. Electronic music benefited from turntables and mixing consoles differently, making mash-ups and essentially crafting new songs. Today that tradition is still strong, but what constitutes a remix has changed.
Celebrity activism is far from a new concept, and one of Rutgers’ most prestigious graduates is a prime example of star power attempting to beget political power. Paul Robeson was an incredibly outspoken celebrity, advocating for workers' rights and civil rights throughout his career. Harry Belafonte, James Brown, Jane Fonda and more were also part of the 20th century wave of celebrity activism. While at first the practice was idiosyncratic, now celebrity endorsements are commonplace and essentially expected. The 2018 midterms were par for the course, with icons like Oprah, Taylor Swift, Dave Chappelle and more hitting the campaign trail and making public endorsements, all for Democrats. While it’s what we’ve deemed normal in politics, is celebrity activism effective?
It’s ironic that there is an institution, unaffiliated with Rutgers, in New Brunswick called The Stress Factory. College often seems to be synonymous with stress, due to classes, relationships, clubs and more. Still there are plenty of ways to combat the pressures we face everyday. There’s no better time than today, National Stress Day, to explore the topic a little bit more.
Staying true to political history, polling seems to indicate that the president’s opposition party will make big gains this November. In this round of midterms, that means the Democratic Party is prepping for a return to (some) political power. For many, the anticipated “blue wave” will serve as a clear attempt to hamper the Trump administration, and to restore some parity to Washington, D.C. This zero-sum game approach means that many Democratic nominees are banking to win on the simple basis that there’s a “D” next to their name instead of an “R." Still, something else has emerged in this election cycle: full-fledged progressive politicians gaining more ground than ever.
In 1975, Bruce Springsteen released “Born To Run," Muhammad Ali beat Joe Frazier in the “Thriller in Manila" and "Saturday Night Live" (SNL) debuted on NBC. Today, Rock rarely tops the charts the way Springsteen did, and boxing viewership is on a steady decline spanning the past few decades. Through it all, SNL has remained a cornerstone of pop culture, even through enduring some worrisome periods.
Literacy is the bedrock of any modern society, crucial to everything we do. It’s exciting, informative, expressive and for far too long, was exclusive. It’s not hard to make the case that equitable education was not available to communities of color until at least the late 1950s, and even today, literacy rates are still heavily affected by socioeconomic status. According to research by the National Center for Education Statistics, Black children still constitute the highest number of minors living in poverty. The same study showed Black children consistently scoring among the lowest among reading tests in fourth and eighth grade. It’s clear that more work needs to be done to reach out to historically marginalized demographics — Native American and Hispanic children also scored below average — to create a more level playing field for all Americans.
Since its inception, variety programming has been a stalwart format for TV. The genre contains some of the most celebrated shows in TV history, like the various late night programs or sketch comedies like "Saturday Night Live" and "Chappelle’s Show." But, the rapid change of how we process information and entertainment has made the form – while still classic and enjoyable – seem dated.
Many of America’s favorite fall traditions start in the early days of October. Football season, Starbucks churning out pumpkin spice products by the trough and the incessant need to put “spooky” in front of almost anything are easing us into autumn. That being said, the transition from summer to fall has been particularly leisurely this year, with 80 degree temperatures still being clocked in the past week. Our prolonged days of summer might explain why another yearly occurrence, the start of “cuffing season,” has seemingly been delayed.
Today, when the average music fan thinks about hip-hop, the role intrinsically connected to the genre is that of the rapper. This connection doesn’t exist without reason, as rappers have been the face of hip-hop for more than 30 years. Although, when the art form was still in its infancy, the MC played a more subdued role.
If Hasan Minhaj was still on "The Daily Show," he’d probably be hard at work on some Brett Kavanaugh material, trying to find humor in an incredibly controversial and complex situation. But he left the show earlier this year, freeing up his schedule to work on his upcoming Netflix special, "Patriot Act." Last Friday, he performed some of that new material in front of a full audience as the main act for the Rutgers University Programming Asocciation’s (RUPA) "Knight of Comedy."
In the last 20 years, the biggest shift in entertainment has been the streamlining of content. The advent of smartphones and compact laptops has caused various creative industries to adapt to our more mobile lifestyle. The music industry is banking hard on streaming, and platforms like Hulu and Netflix brought the same approach to film and TV. Social media has changed (and often condensed) the way we communicate, while print news outlets have pivoted to video to keep consumers interested. There seems to be a quick, one-stop shop for just about everything we need now.
In 1968 a musician had to book studio time, record with a live band, engineer their music and get literal records pressed, just to make their music available to the public. Fifty years later, that same process has been streamlined, only requiring a laptop, a creative mind and internet connection.
In every generation, a genre reaches the crux of profitability and counterculture influence. This intersection is why a band like Nirvana could top the charts in ‘92 while being incredibly progressive, or why Miles Davis could brawl with the New York Police Department in ‘59 and not be written off as a “bad negro.” While counterculture figures are a good estimate, the most obvious proof of when a genre captures the zeitgeist tends to be the involvement of the youth. When doo-wop flourished Frankie Lymon was topping charts, when soul music proved fully profitable the Jackson family saw its opportunity and grabbed it. When hip-hop assumed its current place at this crossroads, this tradition birthed acts like Tyler, the Creator, Chief Keef and the late Mac Miller.
Over the weekend, highly-anticipated films like "Predator" and "White Boy Rick" opened in theaters nationwide — a few more drops in the ocean of the gigantic Hollywood market. While the glamour of big-budget movie production is beautiful in its own way, there’s a flipside. The independent film industry may lack the vanity expected in filmmaking, but none of the heart. Loving the act of making movies enough to deal with all the hurdles involved is admirable, especially when there’s no huge financial incentive. That maverick spirit was on full display this weekend, as the Rutgers Film Co-op/New Jersey Media Arts Center (NJMAC) opened up the 37th Bi-Annual NJ Film Festival in Voorhees Hall on the College Avenue campus.