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Los Angeles Riots (1992)
In 2014, hip hop takes a potent stand
In 2014, hip hop takes a potent stand

There's a line in New York rapper ASAP Ferg's syrupy new track "Talk It," a musical response to the death of Michael Brown and the subsequent riots in Ferguson, Mo., that underscored the calcified nature of relations between black communities and the police across America in 2014. The verse, dotted with cusses, is the last track on his new mixtape, "Ferg Forever." Ferg recalls nights riding with his uncle, "NWA blastin', we screamin', '… tha Police,'" he raps, referring to the harsh gangsta rap anthem released by the Compton group in 1989. That song, issued amid gang violence in the years before anger exploded during the...

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