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The Outsiders avoid the sophomore slump on ‘O/X2’

Though it is hardly a concept exclusive to hip-hop, the sequel album holds undeniable weight in those orbits. Consider some of the most acclaimed rap albums of the decade so far: Future’s “DS2,” Run the Jewels’ “Run the Jewels 2,” Meek Mill’s “Dreamchasers 2.” Some rappers don’t release sequels to their most famous works until a few albums later; after the mixed reception of the albums that followed “The Marshall Mathers LP” and “Only Built 4 Cuban Linx…,” Eminem and Raekwon revisited them more than a decade later to critical acclaim. The reason for this is not just about the music, but the dynasty that it builds. Trends in hip-hop change faster than in any other genre, and artists are judged as much by the strength of their trademark as they are for the quality of their music—perhaps even more so. Anyone within earshot of a radio surely can’t forget the choruses of “Run This Town” and “Empire State of Mind,” but do you remember that Jay-Z was even on those songs? No? Well, “The Blueprint 3” sold nearly three million copies all the same.

On ‘Shirley,’ an old soul says goodbye

“Shirley [1942-2016]” is a heartfelt eulogy, delivered without words but with plenty of soul. The instrumental EP is a tribute from Chris Russ ‘15, also known as faruhdey of the Outsiders, to his late grandmother, Mrs. Shirley Russ. Crafted in the weeks just before and after her passing, the project spins wistful soul samples with…

Noname Gypsy’s EBF takeover

The Chicago-based rapper Noname Gypsy (born Fatimah Warner) performed at EBF on Wednesday night. Earlier that day, she participated in a Q&A hosted by the Institute for Diversity in the Arts at Harmony House, which overflowed with curious fans, spilling into the hallways and up the staircase. The late night concert, co-sponsored by the Stanford…