Author: Raquel Cepeda

  • Another Love TKO: Teens Grapple with Rihanna vs. Chris Brown

    It’s hard to tell, but maybe she’s pursing her lips at me. Or, like any other eighth-grader, maybe she’s just irritated about having to spend a whole period with a bunch of seventh-graders—and in an advisory class, no less. After all, what’s left to talk about, especially after the fact? There are so many other […]

  • The N-Word Is Flourishing Among Generation Hip-Hop Latinos

    “Yo, my nigga, that nigga’s crazy,” declares a young Dominican guy in his late teens, early twenties. “Yeah, my nigga, that nigga was buggin’ last night, my nigga,” responds another hermano. Chatter like this floated in the air like the whiff of days-old garbage smoldering in the heat while I took my frequent summer jaunts […]

  • More Articulate, Politically Charged Flame-Throwing from Immortal Technique

    “Is our destiny something we control?” asks Immortal Technique. “Or are there an infinite amount of ones we can pick from? That would mean that our destinies are sort of preordained anyways, no matter what we pick at the end of the day, because if God is limitless and infinite, then He would know every […]

  • New Yorkers Use Classic Salsa to Fight Gentrification

    I almost broke my neck the other day, walking across the intersection of Third Avenue and 109th Street in Spanish Harlem—better known as El Barrio—to pick my daughter up from school. I whirled around at the sight of a man I thought didn’t exist anymore in New York City. He was a local titere (a […]

  • Foxy Brown Wimps Out on Brooklyn’s Don Diva

    It really doesn’t matter whether or not you’re riding for Hillary. She’s proving (like Shirley Chisholm did back in ’72) that it is indeed possible for a woman to tackle head-on the myriad issues that keep the rest of us up late at night. Clinton—a woman scorned and emotionally pounced on way harder than Dr. […]

  • Riddims by the Reggaetón

    Tego Calderón enters stage right at Madison Square Garden. On cue, the crowd at last October’s second annual Megaton concert—the largest reggaetón event in the country—erupts into a frenzy. They’re drunk off the deafening riddims pulsating from the venue’s enormous speakers. Midway through a medley of hits that secured Tego’s position as the king of […]

  • Pull Your Socks Up

    When I interviewed Jay-Z a month or so ago,we talked about how the hip-hop that reared us is in a state of stagnation—there’s no denying that heads over 30 are being ignored by corporate nymphs catering to 15-year-olds. Hova cited Talib Kweli and Common as two of the few wordsmiths left, to which I’ll add […]

  • Vagina Monologues

    Bilal Oliver is the wunderkind of neo-soul’s deferred second coming. Not only is his debut, 1st Born Second, a stunning ode to stark honesty and the absolute power of pussy, it’s also the kind of opiate we waited several release dates for both D’Angelo and Erykah Badu to roll with on their just-OK second trips […]

  • Ladies First

    At Club NV, the racial profiling at the door on Sunday nights can rival the NYPD’s. As with most urban dwellings throughout the city, there’s an unwritten rule among doormen and swollen bouncers stating that young blacks and Latinos who dress casually, particularly in baseball caps and sneakers, will undoubtedly cause a riot. Tonight, late-twentysomething […]

  • Erykah in Stanklove

    Like Erykah Badu, like Mary, like Faith, like Sade, like Kim, like Lauryn, like me twice (sigh), Alice had not a moment to think about stopping before finding herself falling down a very deep well. Yet the trip to Wonderland was so abysmal she had plenty of time to look down about her and wonder […]