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Rap Lyrics

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OPINION
November 19, 2013 | By The Times editorial board
Trying to decode rap lyrics, as rich as they often are in regional slang and obscure references, can be like watching a foreign-language movie without subtitles. For instance, on "A Queens Story," what does Nas mean when he raps, "You be starving in Kew Gardens/Bolognas and milk from a small carton"? That's where the Rap Genius website comes in. Users of the site not only have transcribed and uploaded thousands of raps, they annotated them with explanations. For instance, three Rap Genius contributors explained that Kew Gardens is the site of the Queens Criminal Court, and bologna sandwiches with a carton of milk is a typical meal served in jail.
ARTICLES BY DATE
OPINION
November 19, 2013 | By The Times editorial board
Trying to decode rap lyrics, as rich as they often are in regional slang and obscure references, can be like watching a foreign-language movie without subtitles. For instance, on "A Queens Story," what does Nas mean when he raps, "You be starving in Kew Gardens/Bolognas and milk from a small carton"? That's where the Rap Genius website comes in. Users of the site not only have transcribed and uploaded thousands of raps, they annotated them with explanations. For instance, three Rap Genius contributors explained that Kew Gardens is the site of the Queens Criminal Court, and bologna sandwiches with a carton of milk is a typical meal served in jail.
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CALIFORNIA | LOCAL
December 24, 1992
I'm delighted to see Time-Warner at the forefront of the record industry's decision to stop releasing songs celebrating the killing of police (editorial, "Self-Regulation, Not Censorship," Dec. 13). That it is the largest communications company on Earth arguably requires this sort of leadership; it's still a courageous move. I congratulate them. The highly public confrontation last summer at the shareholders' meeting over the release of the unsavory rap album, "Body Count," can't have made this decision easy.
BUSINESS
October 3, 2012 | By Jessica Guynn
Rap Genius is getting its paper on. The popular online community that sprang up around rap lyrics just raised $15 million from Silicon Valley venture capitalists Marc Andreessen and Ben Horowitz, who are betting the trio behind the website can move beyond the coded language of rap to decoding everything from the Beatles to the Bible. One would presume that the catalyst behind this rare convergence between the worlds of rappers and coders was Horowitz, known for expressing business principles with rap lyrics.
ENTERTAINMENT
July 16, 1990 | Associated Press
A newspaper's distribution of lyrics from a 2 Live Crew album that a Lee County judge declared obscene sparked a citizen's complaint to the state attorney's office, police said. In a front-page editorial last month, Everett Landers, executive editor of the News-Press, offered free copies of the lyrics to anyone over 18 who stopped by the newspaper's office and requested them. A ruling Feb.
ENTERTAINMENT
April 20, 2007 | From the Associated Press
In the wake of Don Imus' firing for his on-air slur about the Rutgers women's basketball team, a high-powered group of music industry executives met privately this week to discuss sexist and misogynistic rap lyrics. During the furor that led to Imus' fall last week from his talk-radio perch, many of his critics carped as well about offensive language in rap music.
SPORTS
October 6, 2000 | From Associated Press
Allen Iverson apologized Thursday to gays and women who might be offended by the lyrics on his new rap album. The album by the Philadelphia 76er star, "Non-Fiction," has been criticized in newspapers, and discussion about it has dominated sports radio shows. Though fellow hip-hop artists and rap-music critics say Iverson's lyrics are typical of the music style, columnists and radio hosts have criticized Iverson's lyrics for giving the team a bad reputation and presenting a poor image for fans.
ENTERTAINMENT
May 14, 2007 | Marcus Franklin, Associated Press
Facing fierce criticism of sexist and depraved rap lyrics, top music industry executives planned a private meeting. They would discuss the issue, they said, and "announce initiatives" at a news conference afterward. That was three weeks ago. The session with the media was canceled without explanation, and ever since, music's gatekeepers have been silent. Leaders of the four major record companies, which control nearly 90% of the market, may fear cracking the door to censorship.
ENTERTAINMENT
April 16, 1989
Do lyrics about hitting a cop or a father trying to protect his daughter reflect the reality of Compton? I believe such rap lyrics are doing the community a disservice if they are presented as what is important to and representative of Compton's people. MARY MILLER Mission Hills
CALIFORNIA | LOCAL
September 28, 2007 | John Spano, Times Staff Writer
A northeast Los Angeles gang leader charged with murdering and assaulting gang rivals to keep control of a lucrative drug trade composed rap lyrics that will help prove his guilt, a prosecutor told jurors Thursday. During opening statements in the trial of Timothy McGhee, 33, whom police once described as a "monster" and a "thrill-killer" who led the Toonerville gang in Atwater Village, prosecutor Hoon Chun recited lyrics McGhee wrote for a girlfriend, and said they would help prove his case.
ENTERTAINMENT
May 14, 2007 | Marcus Franklin, Associated Press
Facing fierce criticism of sexist and depraved rap lyrics, top music industry executives planned a private meeting. They would discuss the issue, they said, and "announce initiatives" at a news conference afterward. That was three weeks ago. The session with the media was canceled without explanation, and ever since, music's gatekeepers have been silent. Leaders of the four major record companies, which control nearly 90% of the market, may fear cracking the door to censorship.
BUSINESS
May 3, 2007 | Alana Semuels, Times Staff Writer
The Rev. Al Sharpton will lead a protest today in New York in an effort to pressure major music companies into banning three pejorative words, including the one that forced shock jock Don Imus off the airwaves. Supporting the campaign to clean up rap lyrics is hip-hop pioneer and mogul Russell Simmons, who co-founded Def Jam Recordings and founded Russell Simmons Music Group.
ENTERTAINMENT
April 20, 2007 | From the Associated Press
In the wake of Don Imus' firing for his on-air slur about the Rutgers women's basketball team, a high-powered group of music industry executives met privately this week to discuss sexist and misogynistic rap lyrics. During the furor that led to Imus' fall last week from his talk-radio perch, many of his critics carped as well about offensive language in rap music.
CALIFORNIA | LOCAL
January 14, 2003 | Erika Hayasaki, Times Staff Writer
So check it. On the white board in a Crenshaw High School classroom were the words: "Man vs. Ho." English teacher Patrick Camangian wrote the phrase to get his students talking about the lyrics by the late Tupac Shakur: "Blaze up, gettin' with hos through my pager." It worked. A lively discussion ensued about sexism, racism and how degrading terms such as "ho" -- slang for whore -- can be used to dehumanize and divide people. In hip-hop terms, the students were feelin' it.
SPORTS
October 6, 2000 | From Associated Press
Allen Iverson apologized Thursday to gays and women who might be offended by the lyrics on his new rap album. The album by the Philadelphia 76er star, "Non-Fiction," has been criticized in newspapers, and discussion about it has dominated sports radio shows. Though fellow hip-hop artists and rap-music critics say Iverson's lyrics are typical of the music style, columnists and radio hosts have criticized Iverson's lyrics for giving the team a bad reputation and presenting a poor image for fans.
CALIFORNIA | LOCAL
April 25, 1999 | NANCY TREJOS, TIMES STAFF WRITER
Students at the Nativity School in downtown Los Angeles rhymed their way through a phonics lesson the other day. "Give me some work that'll challenge me/I can't be happy with a B," chanted the students, guided by their visiting instructor, Lindamichellebaron. (She merged the letters in her name, itself an exercise in phonics, she says.) This is not quite phonics the way most adults remember it.
NEWS
November 25, 1998 | SEBASTIAN ROTELLA, TIMES STAFF WRITER
The Guanaco is the nemesis of angry Chilean youth. An ominous-looking armored vehicle used by riot police, the Guanaco gets its nickname from a llama-like animal that spits when threatened. The vehicle's water cannon sprays a powerful torrent laced with tear gas that mows down crowds, burns the eyes and eats through clothes. These days, the Guanaco is working overtime.
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