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Somewhere: Stockholm, Sweden

Neither Arctic chill nor a buttoned-down reputation has kept a healthy homegrown hip-hop scene from taking root in Stockholm. The capital city teems with record stores, where you can pick up the latest from local labels like JuJu Records, DvsG (David vs. Goliath), and Raw Fusion, which has successfully exported beat-makers like Up Hygh and Freddie Cruger to the US. Numerous American acts have performed here, especially at now-defunct clubs like Fatmilk and the Jump-Off. You can even check out the "hip-hop school" in the suburb of Farsa, where students learn breakdancing and beat-making.

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Bole 2 Harlem: And Back Again

Haile Selassie–the long-reigning Ethiopian king and, to Jamaican Rastafarians, incarnation of God on Earth–stared down at David Schommer from the walls of his childhood home. In his youth, Schommer would leave his mandatory piano and dance lessons at the local community center and sneak into an upstairs room to learn hand drumming from a Guinean teacher. But while Africa, and Ethiopia in particular, was close to his family's heart, it was far from their home in the collegiate Chicago suburb of Evanston, IL.

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Marcus Intalex: This Charming Manc

Marcus Intalex is the most lovably grumpy character in drum & bass. It’s rare to encounter this Manchester native not engaged in an impassioned rant about something, whether it’s recounting the story of his records spilling all over the luggage conveyor belt at London’s Stansted Airport or grousing about the high prices of toll roads in the UK. “I hate people who can’t drive, people who butt into other people’s business, service stations, and airports that charge shitloads,” he says when I ask for a short list of his pet peeves. Read more » 

Bonobo In the Studio

The music press has birthed a great deal of corny genre names, but perhaps the daddy of them all is "chill-out." Totally functional, and devoid of personality, chill-out does exactly what it says on the tin. But sometimes these labels serve a necessary purpose, aside from selling compilation albums–they help launch careers. Such was the case for Simon Green (a.k.a. Bonobo), who debuted in 1999 with Animal Magic (Ninja Tune), an album that displayed the kind of chill mastery most journeyman ambient producers spend a lifetime chasing.

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Reinventing the Soundsystem

On October 26, 2006, Detroit's newest contemporary art museum, MOCAD, opened its doors to the public with a show called Meditations in an Emergency. The most compelling part of the exhibition was not Roxy Paine's blob-making or Barry McGee's and Amaze's 30-foot high graffiti pieces–it was a one-man 1960s-style reggae soundsystem.

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