Rap in the News

The creative spirit moves me. And sometimes it cracks me up. I just came across three examples at the intersection of rap and news that got me thinking about just how lucky we are to live in a time when the means of media production and distribution are widely accessible and available. So much amazing content is bubbling up beyond the boundaries of mainstream media gatekeepers.

1. The Gregory Brothers, that very funny Brooklyn band that “auto-tunes” the news, has released a rap video which, I think, turns a sad local news story into an anthem of community empowerment. Chances are you saw their Double Rainbow video that went viral. Well, this group’s musical remixes of news programs are both satirical and memorable. This latest song is now on the Billboard 100 and according to Mashable, the band is working on a Comedy Central pilot.

2. Most of the time I can’t understand the lyrics to rap music, except for the many expletives which somehow come through loud and clear. But now Rap Genius, a site dedicated to hip hop history and culture, has released a Rap Map, a Google Map embedded with markers for places mentioned in rap songs. Sadly, the marker icon used is a pistol. The site itself is loaded with four-letter-words frequently found in the not-appropriate-for-radio versions of songs. But, it’s a clever use of map integration and a cool tool to help the lyrically and geographically challenged among us. (Thanks again to Mashable.)
















3. The Juice Media is an indymedia group from Australia that produces rap videos about stories in the news. They recently “squeezed” one out about the Wikileaks controversy. It’s a little too long, and a little salty in the language, but worth watching, especially thanks to their use of clever simple costumes. 

So, what do you think of these creative uses of new media? What cool stuff have you discovered at the edge of the news?