Wandering Eye: Dr. Dre inspired by Baltimore Uprising, more Canton development, and more

Last week, legendary rap producer Dr. Dre released "Compton," his first album since 1999's "The Chronic 2001." It is music's talking point right now, not least of which because Dre has been promising a "Chronic 2001" follow-up titled "Detox" for so long it was assumed he would just never release an album proper again. Instead, there's "Compton," a heavily orchestrated, guest-heavy concept record about his hometown's history and the loop of inequality and violence that mars the area. We think it's kind of OK—a little too clean and calculated for our tastes, rap made by, well, a bajillionaire audiophile, but still, it is an important record, of a piece with Kendrick Lamar's "To Pimp A Butterfly," and, in its own way, a protest record. The highlight of the album, 'Animals,' is according to an interview with producer DJ Premier in Billboard inspired by the Baltimore Uprising. The lyrics give voice to a young man caught up in the moment and carrying the burden of police terror everywhere he goes: "Damn, why the fuck are they after me? Maybe cause I'm a bastard or maybe cause of the way my hair grows naturally/ Still trying figure out, why the fuck I'm full of rage, I think I noticed this bullshit right around the fifth grade, paraphernalia in my locker right next to the switchblade." (Brandon Soderberg) 

 

Alec MacGillis at ProPublica has an interesting retrospective on Dewey Square, a propaganda organization founded by prominent Democrats. He notes the close ties between the company  and Hillary Clinton's campaign, and thinks there is some kind of conflict of interest between the health insurance industry and Democratic policies. "As it helps corporations play both sides of the street, Dewey Square stands as a primary example of an ascendant breed in the Washington influence industry: Democratic consulting firms that, over time, have expanded from advising political campaigns into advising industry groups," MacGillis writes. Those who read the Wall Street Journal in 2007 might remember this fiasco, as the insurance industry (with Dewey's help) lined up minority faces to claim that they would be hurt if insurance profits were clipped. But most Americans missed the show, and the effort did not really work. Nor did the later effort against Obamacare: A Kansas newspaper editor noticed the bogus letters to the editor that poured in and traced the effort back to Dewey. But the idea that insurance companies have top Democrats in their pockets is not really news. Those with very long memories may recall that Hillary Clinton took point on her husband's 1993 effort to reform the health insurance system. That bill—which ultimately failed—would have given the five largest health insurance companies a $20 billion boost, guaranteed. But you would have had to read the bill carefully to know that, and basically no reporters did. (Edward Ericson Jr.)

 

Hey, you know who could use some more money? Canton, that's who. Corporate Office Properties Trust is hoping to invest $1 billion into the waterfront area as part of a project featuring "five or six office buildings, a hotel, restaurants and shopping, a marina and potentially residences," reports The Sun. And looky here, over at Harbor Point the Beatty Development Group is planning "a 315,000-square-foot office and hotel complex next to the Morgan Stanley Thames Street Wharf building." Never mind that the vacancy rate for downtown office space is, as of 2014, 15.8 percent, which is apparently an improvement. You know what will cure that? Thousands of square feet of new office space! (Brandon Weigel)

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