James Murdoch: Hip-Hop Head

Fox News has, over the years, taken it's shots at hip-hop--most recently in the person of Common. But in fact, the virus of hip-hop has long infected the network from the top down. Given the current conflict embroiling Fox News' parent company, this seems like a really good  time to remember that James Murdoch, heir apparent to the Empire, is responsible for some of the best hip-hop music of our time.

Murdoch invested in Rawkus Records, helping to launch the label and thus Soundbombing, Soundbombing II, Black on Both Sides, and Black Star. Listing the albums doesn't really capture the amount of good Murdoch did for the world of hip-hop. For me, Rawkus was always post-internet music company. It's the individual tracks I remember best--"Weight," "The Fire In Which You Burn," "Holy Water," "Fortified Live," "Patriotism," "Any Man," "Two Thousand Seasons," "Arabian Nights."

On a personal note, this was basically my last hip-hop fling. Rawkus really hit for me circa 97. Within two years I was expecting. Having a child changed my relationship with the music. Hip-Hop is theme music for hunters. But I was now a farmer.

Anyway, the point isn't to get all wistful, but note that Rawkus really was a beautiful, sub-era of Golden Age revanche.


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Ta-Nehisi Coates is a national correspondent at The Atlantic, where he writes about culture, politics, and social issues. He is the author of the memoir The Beautiful Struggle.

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