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Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri

For the record, that’s not some clever title from me, that’s just the title of the movie. And, to be fair, why wouldn’t it be? That’s what the movie’s about: three billboards outside Ebbing, Missouri. Maybe it’s because lately I’ve only been seeing superhero movies, which I’ve been harshly informed are “the avatar of the dearth of creativity in American capitalism” (whatever that means), but Three Billboards really surprised me… in that it wasn’t called “Ebbing, Missouri: Age of Billboards” or “Billboard Battle.”

All jokes aside, I liked this movie and I’m surprised that I did because the title is just one of a couple things that make Three Billboards seem a little “Oscar-baity” on first glance. It’s small, it’s gritty and it tackles some extremely adult themes.

From left to right: Kitty's Miami Garden Club, Kendrick Lamar's DAMN., Tyler, The Creator's Flower Boy.

The Sun’s Top 15 Albums of 2017

Damn. — Kendrick Lamar

On his fourth studio album, Kendrick Lamar brings us back to the golden age of hip-hop with smooth flows and incredible musicianship. Over the course of fifty-five minutes, Lamar explores his struggles with sin and society and his place in a nation that often seems to be against him. Damn. dazzles and will soon prove to be a generation defining masterpiece.

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GUEST ROOM | Linaje Originarios: Indigenous Hip-Hop and Cultural Promotion in Colombia

In the wake of the recent war between the FARC, the military and para-military forces, the current administration is attempting to distance Colombia from its recent war-torn history. At the same time, narratives of indigenous culture are perpetuated by the continuation of resguardos, Colombian indigenous reservations, while the myriad changes in governing systems create a narrative of evolving political systems. As a result, indigenous people and their cultural traditions are characterized as “past” or “dead.” Moreover, through the divorce from the recent war with the FARC — a group which has its roots in the same regions where many of the indigenous resguardos are located — the administration frames indigenous culture as part of the violent past, while simultaneously engaging indigenous people in a system which is systemically oppressive to indigenous ontology. The hip-hop duo Linaje Originarios is creating a space for productive political inclusion and cultural promotion that resists hegemony through their online hip-hop music videos in and about their native Emberá. The two cousins Dario and Brayan Tascón, who form Linaje Originarios, come from a resguardo called Valparaíso in the western mountain ranges of Colombia, where they spend most of the year working in the fields. When they are not working, the pair spends their time writing and performing their music on the streets of their resguardo or in the city of Medellín.

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The Sun’s Top 10 Songs of 2017

1) Bodak Yellow – Cardi B

Perhaps the most pervasive and noticeable facet of this song is the unapologetic delivery of Cardi B’s lyrics. The percussive nature of her articulation almost renders the background beat subservient to her artistic command. Supporting the lyrics is the repetition of a haunting melody which produces a sense of tension that despite being peripheral, is undeniably entrancing. Mesmerizing and captivating, Bodak Yellow is a beautifully hypnotic work. By Varun Biddanda

2) “Passionfruit” — Drake

“Passionfruit” is possibly the most confusing track on More Life.

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Does Coco Live Up to the Hype?

It’s been a long year for animation. While we’ve had a couple good hits here and there, there’s been a lack of quality in many titles. So I really needed Coco. The film opened in Mexico last month, unusual since American studios tend to release their films domestically first. Coco ended up becoming the highest grossing movie of all time in Mexico, and rave reviews heralded an upcoming splendor.

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How Does The Star Present Christmas?

When I heard that Sony Animation, the same studio that brought us The Emoji Movie, was going to be attempting a Biblical story, I prepared for the worst. I feared that it would only give us relentless pandering and cringe-worthy gags. I mean, the teaser has a bird shaking his butt at a couple of dogs, so I feel like I was justified in bracing myself. Finally The Star has hit theaters, and I find myself, thankfully, relieved. While it has several flaws, The Star manages to deliver its own take on the Nativity that feels sincere and has its own unique edges.

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DC Punches Back with Justice League

I’m writing this review disappointed and I’m surprised to say it’s not with the movie. To be totally honest with you I was ready to cash in this review (not that I’m paid for these). In a lecture today the professor said the specifics of the slides wouldn’t be on the final so like any upstanding, journalistically-ethical Cornellian I totally checked out, ripped a page out of the back of my notebook and hammered out my opening paragraphs. I had this whole thing written where I compared the Marvel and DC matchup to a football game where DC was being forced to throw it deep on first down. I expected DC settle for a field goal with Justice League after Wonder Woman put them squarely in the red zone.

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Funding Art is Important: A Defense of Cornell Cinema

Cornell is not a university specifically reserved for the STEM disciplines. We were founded under a proud cosmopolitan banner of “Any Person, Any Study,” and we differ from MIT or CalTech in that we claim to offer the highest possible level of instruction in any field a person might choose. As a former PMA/English major I can say I was never belittled on campus, but I noticed an unquestionable lack of interest in funding arts departments and activities, compared to the hard sciences. This comes with the territory — the arts students tend to be far fewer in number than the STEM ones — but there is a very real danger that eventually, History, Philosophy, Comp Lit and Comm majors will have a far less rigorous education than the name of Cornell promises. The Schwartz Center has seen this with its extensive budget cuts passed seven years ago, and with its folding of three majors into one.

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SWAN | ResKp and Universal Hip-Hop

In its initial conception, the music of hip-hop was not intended to drive any encompassing social message or lyrical commentary. Of course, as a diasporic musical form, it is inherently political, but in 1970 not many individuals were rapping in the modern sense of that word, let alone dropping verses that deal with police brutality or socioeconomic marginalization. The “invention” of hip-hop is not unlike the trope of accidental ingenuity that we love to attribute to the creation of all our most beloved things, like Edison and the lightbulb, or Wozniak and the Apple computer. The tinkering in this case took place not in a Palo Alto garage, but in the recreational room of a high-rise apartment building in the South Bronx, just off the Expressway. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=aHL6iKpZ8hc

A young Jamaican-American DJ, with knowledge of the dance hall culture of the country from which he migrated, made the simple discovery that there are some songs, and more pertinently, certain instrumental breaks of some songs, to which people enjoy dancing the most.