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Letters to the editor, July 30, 2015 

These are the letters and comments from the print edition

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Norway are these good trees for us

In response to your story and video about what trees the city plants ("Norway maples should make like a tree and leave Halifax," posted at thecoast.ca by Team Coast, July 17), I have just three things to say: EXCELLENT! EXCELLENT! EXCELLENT! Thanks. —Dave, Halifax

HRM so smartly is planting these trees directly below power lines. Genius. How many more ways can we come up with to increase maintenance required for our power grid? —posted by Take a Step Back at thecoast.ca

Increases in maintenance are never a good thing, but when it comes to urban streets you have to fit a lot of things into a sometimes-tight space. A street needs power lines, but a good street also needs trees.

Sometimes you have to take the good with the bad to make things work. —posted by PlannerInTraining

I hope they do a better job with this batch of trees on Jubilee Road than the sad bunch of trees they planted on Northridge Road—most of them look dead or dying. —posted by Pat Hubley


Radio's bum rap

Upon seeing last week's "Fear of a rap planet" cover I let out a wearisome sigh, but gave the article a read ("Chopped and screwed," cover story by Hillary Windsor, July 23). Here are my thoughts:

1. I agree, generally speaking, that mainstream radio is outmoded in its estimation that listeners do not want to hear hip-hop. Hip-hop often seems like if not the most pervasive genre going, then at least one that holds it own against predominant pop (rock feels as niche as country these days). But as long as radio continues to cater to a single-genre format, there is no reason why hip-hop stations shouldn't exist to satisfy those fans. I note, however, that tuning into 101.3 The Bounce (admittedly more as background noise), I have heard the version of "Bad Blood" with Kendrick Lamar in constant rotation, along with countless other hip-hop songs—at least of the pop-hybrid variety.

2. I do take issue with the writer's declaration that "Impossible to ignore here is the race factor." I would counter "Only if that is your choosing." Although hip-hop was birthed in black culture, I don't believe any one culture can claim ownership of it as it exists now, being a global phenomenon that crosses countless racial barriers. It doesn't behoove us to go ranking who race-wise is in the majority or minority, either. As Stephen Colbert used to say to guests, "Oh I'm sorry, are you black?" It was a comedic but heartfelt nudge to move beyond the self-identification that separates rather than unifies. I realize this sensitive issue calls out for a column unto its own, but in brief we have to take the high road, move beyond "inter-generational trauma" as one sociologist aptly coined it and, until a thought police can verify who is racist and who is not, not presume that it is always a case of politics/racism over preference for radio stations.

3. The point that is most inarguable is that taste in music is entirely subjective. I did programming stints at CKDU running the eclectic gamut of all musical styles (including hip-hop for a time), but my ultimate conclusion is that on the whole, the genre is underachieving stylistically with amelodic verses, choruses dependent on actual vocalists and the standard use of an entire undercarriage of an existing song as foundation.

Perhaps others feel like they are living in a bizarro world as well, where where talented vocalists take second billing credit to rappers, bleating contestants compete for a million dollar prize on "singing" competitions and Kanye West boasts of selling more albums than The Beatles without embracing the soulful melodicism that the genre eschews necessary for mass and timeless appeal. —Lawrence, Halifax

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