Culture critic and “godfather of hip-hop journalism” Greg Tate dies at 64

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Source: Nicola Gell / Getty

NOTNews spread on Tuesday afternoon of the passing of inspirational writer, musician and creator Greg Tate. More than a music critic, Tate set the standard for the art of criticizing and exploring contemporary mediums across genres.

From the best the Midwest has to offer, Tate was born in Dayton, Ohio, and moved to Washington, DC in his early teens. Tate once said that he was inspired to write after reading “Black Music and Rolling Stone” by Amiri Baraka (born Imamu Jones). In 1992, Tate published “Flyboy In The Buttermilk: Essays On Contemporary America,” exploring race, politics, literature, and music.

Okayplayer called him the “godfather of hip hop journalism,” signaling his importance in developing a genre of media coverage and commentary.

Professor Howard Greg Carr emphasized the importance of Tate’s work to a generation of writers.

“Greg Tate set standards for writers of his generation who struggle with contemporary African popular culture,” Carr tweeted. “His ideas, scope, technique and mastery of genealogy should be required reading for those who are trying it now. May your soul rise like Ra, brother. We are always listening.

A 2018 Fork article notes Tate’s early career with the Village Voice, citing a 1981 assignment covering the Fearless Four. Tate told Pitchfork he felt like a wartime reporter, reflecting on his previous work.

“It was like writing field war dispatches,” Tate told Pitchfork. “There was all this incendiary work going out. It was unprecedented. It was unlike anything that had happened before. There was a lot to say. “

He then joined the staff of Village Voice in 1987.

Although known by many for his in-depth coverage and connection to hip hop, Tate was a quintessential cultural critic engaging black art and life in a shameless exploration of creativity. Browsing through Tate’s work at Village Voice, readers will find everything from profiles to Twilight Girl Director Julie Dash to Terry McMillan’s reviews “A day late“and Spike Lee”Bamboo. “

Basquiat and Hip Hop exhibition at the MFA

Source: Boston Globe / Getty

Last year, Tate co-hosted the exhibition “Writing the future: Basquiat and the hip-hop generationAt the Boston Museum of Fine Arts. The exhibition featured the work of Basquiat’s contemporaries and sometimes his collaborators, including Futura, Fab 5 Freddy, A-One, Lady Pink and Koor Koor.

In addition to his writings, Tate was a founding member of the Black Rock Coalition and played guitar in an affiliate group called Women In Love. He then co-founded Burnt sugar The Arkestra room, an improvisation group engaged in the composition, recording and interpretation of music across the experimental soul-jazz hip hop spectrum.

“Rather than limiting ourselves to the shackles that the commercial recording industry uses to market contemporary black music, Burnt Sugar moves freely among many styles, eras and genres to craft their own exciting hybrids,” the site reads. of the group. “These hybrids are based on a solid foundation of various musical traditions and on the use of cutting-edge music technology.”

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