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Urban Sprawl Derek Robertson examines the growth of hip-hop across Europe, from the stadium-filling American superstars to the local-language acts increasingly finding their way onto mainstream festival line-ups. For a stark reminder of how completely rap and hiphop has taken over mainstream culture, consider the case of N.W.A. Thirty years ago, the group released a song that so incensed the authorities and white America – Fuck The Police, taken from their debut studio album Straight Outta Compton – that the FBI felt compelled to write a letter to the band’s label and distributing company complaining that “advocating violence and assault is wrong and we, in the law enforcement community, take exception to such action.” Police started to

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refuse to provide security for their concerts and, condemned by politicians, for a short while they revelled in their status as “the world’s most dangerous group.” Fast-forward to today, and the recent arrest of rapper A$AP Rocky in Sweden. Charged with assault following an altercation with a 19-year-old male and forced to remain behind bars until his trial – there is no right to bail under the Swedish criminal justice system – the chorus of celebrity pleas and fan petitions to “Free A$AP” were joined by none other

IQ Magazine September 2019

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