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David Brooks, hip-hop historian


Speaking of editors hanging their writers out to dry, I submit the following from David Brooks’s most recent mid life crisis in the New York Times:

The 1990s brought astonishing hip-hop — Tupac, Biggie, Jay-Z, Wu-Tang Clan, A Tribe Called Quest, the Fugees — and I got introduced to all of that like everybody else at the time. My hands were writing and editing conservative editorials for The Wall Street Journal; my ears were straight outta Compton.

This would be pure cringe in any context, but the best part is that not only did he not cite NWA collective or solo, he couldn’t stumble across an artist born on the west coast even by accident. To be Scrupulously Fair this may be a nod to longstanding NYT convention that Queens, Staten Island, and North/East Brooklyn are part of the only other city in the United States once you leave Manhattan (Greater Los Angeles.)

I regret to inform you that the column has more words in it:

The 2000s were just ridiculous. I was a suburban guy with a minivan. Why was I grooving along as Katy Perry sang “I kissed a girl and I liked it”? As the decade turned, Kesha burst on the scene with a series of dance hits that were supposed to be for kids in clubs, though I mostly listened to them on the elliptical.

And of course in the middle of the decade Taylor Swift’s “Tim McGraw” dropped, altering world history as we know it. My ever-deepening Swiftie-ness provoked a question: Why am I continually listening to high school breakup songs when I’m at an age when I can barely remember high school?

I’m…just going to let you fill in the punchline on that one.

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