Rhyme and punishment go hand in hand in America. This week, we are featuring Louder Than A Riot, an incredible new podcast from NPR Music. It reveals the interconnected rise of hip-hop and mass incarceration. From Bobby Shmurda to Nipsey Hussle, each episode explores an artist's story to examine a different aspect of the criminal justice system that disproportionately impacts Black America.
Just like his legendary disappearing hat, Brooklyn rapper Bobby Shmurda's career was on the rise in 2014. But so was the evidence in a murder case against his crew, GS9. In the first of three episodes exploring Bobby's story, we look at his come-up through the eyes of former Epic Records exec Sha Money XL, who guided Bobby on his tightrope walk from the streets to superstardom. What happens when the industry capitalizes on a criminal persona? And do record execs have the juice to back Bobby up when things get too hot?
Content Advisory: This story contains strong language and the mention of drug use and guns. Sensitive listeners, please be advised.
Louder Than A Riot is hosted by NPR Music's Rodney Carmichael and Sidney Madden, this podcast is invested in power from all angles — the power the music industry wields over artists, the power of institutional forces that marginalize communities of color, the power of the prison industrial complex and the power dynamics deep-rooted in the rap game.
Illustration by Dale Edwin Murray for NPR
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