The words “brilliant,” “panel” and “hip-hop” rarely deserve to be placed in close proximity to each other. Most of the time when communities get together to debate the music of our generation, the speakers just don’t have enough intellectual or artistic heft to expand their audience’s minds. Such debates often devolve into moralizing sessions. Think ’90s anti-rap activist C. Delores Tucker.
But last week in London, when 21 of the world’s smartest
cultural critics and hip-hop artists got together to critique it, the hip-hop debate reached its apotheosis.