Rated Reads this week looks at controversies surrounding Aaliyah's upcoming posthumous album, the intriguing rise of rapper Jack Harlow and the well-timed return of Alt-J.

The thirst for Jack Harlow, Gen Z’s breakout white rapper, explained

White rappers occupy a queasy spot in our culture, always teetering on the edge of gentrifying and appropriating a Black genre – and often heading right over that line. Still, it doesn’t stop them from getting popular. For Vox, Terry Nguyen explores the rise of Jack Harlow, the 23-year-old rapper setting the industry alight, and how Harlow’s whiteness has affected his sudden and meteoric rise to fame in the era of Black Lives Matter.

RIP 2 the BBM era

All things must pass. Empires must fall and civilisations must crumble, and the wheel must keep turning. The time of the BlackBerry, the phone that once held a death grip on a certain generation around 2010, has officially come to an end, and Roisin Lanigan mourns its passing. The company have announced their phones no longer work, which also goes for the once-legendary BBM. Ashes to ashes, dust to dust. As Ezio Auditore once said, requiescat in pace.

Aaliyah’s forthcoming LP is a missed opportunity to centre female artists

Aaliyah fans are eagerly looking forward to the release of her posthumous album Unstoppable later this month, which brings tracks from the singer’s back catalogue into collaboration with a surfeit of big guest artists like Snoop Dogg, The Weeknd and Drake. However, it’s clear that not everyone agrees that the album is set to honour Aaliyah appropriately. For Dazed, Felicity Martin highlights the lack of guest appearances from prominent female artists on the album, and the inclusion of the likes of Chris Brown alongside the vocals of a singer who poignantly explored domestic violence.

alt-J on The Dream: ‘There is this idea of us being a mild-mannered band. It’s not really true’

Alt-J’s debut album, An Awesome Wave, turns 10 this year, so it’s only fitting that the quirky band are putting out a new album soon. Craig McLean chats to the band about The Dream, due out next month and how the pandemic influenced the writing process, and how the band are dealing with growing older as a musical unit.

How PinkPantheress Became A Global Icon From Her Bedroom

As the music industry becomes more and more virtualised, the hope is that social media can help to democratise and level the playing field. Nostalgic hyperpop artist Pink Pantheress is a perfect example of that, having risen to fame over the past year making TikToks in her bedroom. For Vogue, Amel Mukhtar chats with the mysterious 20-year-old artist about her sudden online visibility and the source of her creative inspiration.

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