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Why does the Washington City Paper refuse to hire a writer who can competently write hiphop reviews? In Sarah Godfrey’s review of Nas’ Street’s Disciple (“Keeping Up With the
Joneses,” 1/7), she reviews only seven of the songs on a 25-track double CD. Even worse, in the most mind-boggling hiphop-related error ever, the review states that Rakim, the most acclaimed rapper in history, is from Queens. Queens? How could the City Paper make such an egregious error when the very song under discussion is a biography of Rakim in which Rakim’s birthplace—Long Island—is referenced in the third line? How could any hiphop listener have missed every instance of Rakim’s own repeated shout-outs to Long Island, which he dubbed “Strong Island,” at a time when its hiphop representation was minimal (and when it would have probably helped his record sales to claim Queens if he were from there)? Do City Paper reviewers listen to hiphop albums underwater with concrete in their ears?
To add insult to injury, Godfrey portrays the album as if it were entirely about Nas’ family life, when the majority of the two-disc CD set clearly is not limited to that topic range. In fact, Disc 1 in its entirety barely touches this topic, but of course Godfrey barely discusses the songs on this disc and might never have listened to it beyond the one song featuring Kelis.
If you value the credibility of your publication one iota, I urge you to find reviewers who know something about hiphop and who will actually review the record at hand instead of wasting endless paragraphs on their own ruminations about the personal life of the artist under review.