In today's Phoenix, I've got an interview with Brown University's hip-hop scholar Tricia Rose. She penned one of the best-known academic treatises on rap music from its early days, Black Noise, and takes a fresh look at the form with Hip-Hop Wars. She's got a provocative view on what is, arguably, the nation's most important cultural force: hip-hop, she argues, is in a creative crisis and is promoting a dangerously narrow view of black American life.
There's also a piece about a conference that starts today, at RISD, on moving from STEM (science, technology, engineering, and mathematics) education - hailed as the answer to America's economic decline - to STEAM, adding arts to the equation. It's a story about bridging two worlds, about recognizing the importance of art and design in innovation.
Among the speakers is Richard Saul Wurman, founder of the TED conferences. If you've never tooled around on the TED web site, it's worth doing - lots of brief videos of interesting talks by interesting people. Wurman's new project, 192021, is also worth checking out - a visually arresting look at the demographics of 19 cities in the world, with 20 million people, in the 21st Century.