The 90s era of hip-hop saw artists like Tupac, Notorious B.I.G., Snoop Dogg, and many others rise to stardom. The slow, melody-heavy nature of gangsta rap echoed through speakers across the country, with listeners hungry to learn more about these soon-to-be cultural icons. Artists like Notorious B.I.G, Nas, and Jay-Z repped the east coast while Tupac and Snoop Dogg occupied the west coast. With a music scene that was untamed and relentless, 90s hip-hop needed someone capable of documenting the rough-rider era. That, someone, was Photographer Chi Modu.

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This year the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame will induct rappers Jay Z and LL Cool J along with several other groups and solo acts. They will respectively become the 8th and 9th hip-hop artists or groups to be honored by the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame. This is an honor, and while it may not be a focal point for some artists to achieve, it’s one that’s only given to hip-hop royalty. 

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“First they love you, then they hate you, then they love you again.”

-Jay Z "Meet the Parents"

There is probably no other fitting way to describe Jay-Z, and the way society treats its own heroes. This was the intro to one of my favorite Jay-Z songs, “Meet The Parents,” back in 2001. In hindsight, it’s an accurate depiction of how we love to seepeople rise to the top, just to watch their downfall. Shawn Carter, better known as Jay-Z, is unfortunately going through one of those hate filled phases. 

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How many female rappers have people spoken of in recent years? Two, I’m guessing-- Nicki Minaj and Cardi B. But there’s a fairly new female rapper on the scene, and she’s unlike anything you’ve seen or heard before. Young M.A., a Brooklyn, New York native, occupies a liminal space in the rap community, straddling the threshold for female and queer hip-hop musicians.  

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A powerful coalition of billionaires fighting for prison reform sounds like a group of Democratic politicians, doesn’t it? However, this coalition, called REFORM Alliance, is headed by people like Jay-Z, Meek Mill, Philadelphia 76ers’ owner Michael Rubin, the owner of the New England Patriots Robert Kraft, the New Jersey Nets’ co-owner Clara Wu Tsai, hedge fund manager Daniel Loeb, cryptocurrency giant Michael Novogratz, and Vise Equity Partners’ creator Robert Smith.

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