This is an email from The Renaissance Rundown, a newsletter by The Renaissance Project.

The Renaissance Rundown: Heat 89 — Getting Real Fake Deep

Several music videos, a ton of social media antics, and a supposed sovereign caught in jail is just some of the deep fake stuff going on this week.

What’s good y’all?

This is still Juwan, subbing in for your usual newsletter presenter Paul once again this week. It’s time for another Rundown!

TL;dr — Paul’s sitting out on newsletter duties for the next few weeks (he’s alright, but feel free to let him know you’re thinking about him!), so it’s gonna be… May (corny beginning-of-May joke made: check…) telling you about Megan the Stallion’s latest honor, Sean Paul’s latest temperature check, and… (checks notes) who the kids are apparently missing?



Here’s some recent articles from us that may be of interest:

Super Bowl LVI Halftime Show: A Recap — Paul K. Barnes

While Paul’s out of writing commission for a little, there’s still plenty of words of his to read around here. Take his recap on the Super Bowl Halftime Show, for example.

Jacob Ezra Walks the Dividing Line — Paul K. Barnes

Paul’s profile of music artist and journalist Jacob Ezra is a complete banger: “Walking the line between music journalist and artist is a very rare position. For Jacob, he started as a music artist before he was a music journalist, so naturally, his perspective is both unique and considerate… The conversation over who has the right to review music, and what type of music they review, has reached a new level of polarization. It’s all very interesting, to say the least.”

Reentering the World of Underground Rap — Paul K. Barnes

Paul’s thinking exercise on what constitutes “underground” will make you think, if you like doing that sometimes.


Last week’s Met Gala had a decent crew of hip-hop figures, including Cardi B, Kid Cudi, Future, Jack Harlow, Nicki Minaj, Megan Thee Stallion, and Questlove. The headline performer of the night, though, was veteran rocker Lenny Kravitz — who followed country hitmaker Kacey Musgraves on the stage.

It was a big week for music videos, too. Out of the releases from this weekend (more on that below), Friday’s single/surprise video from Kendrick Lamar easily stood out amongst the rest. The rapper’s first single from his upcoming album is “The Heart Part 5,” and the (Dave Free co-directed) video for it features the rapper performing the song while his face is digitally morphed into “deepfakes” of six different Black entertainers with well-known public scandals: OJ Simpson, Will Smith, Jussie Smollett, Kobe Bryant, Kanye West, and Nipsey Hussle. We’ll leave speculative interpretation of its meaning or intended message to the halls of music Twitter.

In the meantime, Drake spent the week making an ordinary couple instantly viral after he followed the wife of a man who made comments on Instagram about Drake’s son Adonis… then drunkingly giggling with Jack Harlow at the Kentucky Derby as the two filmed a new music video… whilst a music video featuring him as a medieval knight on a horse was making the rounds online.

This weekend also saw a Kanye West release as well — the mogul released a music video for his 2021 song “Life of the Party,” part of which was turned into a television advertisement for his “Yeezy Gap” Balenciaga collection which debuted on FOX last night.

Lastly, but not least of all, A$AP Rocky includes his beau Rihanna as his love interest in the music video for his new single “D.M.B. (Dat’s My Bitch).” The nostalgic-like visual features the former proposing to the latter… through his teeth, at least.

In other news:


This past week: Doja Cat’s song “Vegas,” the lead single from the Elvis Original Motion Picture Soundtrack, dropped via RCA Records. Future released his album I Never Liked You last week, followed by a music video for “Wait for U,” a song with Drake included in the album. If you’ve ever fantasized about Drake donned in armor riding in on horseback, your dreams are fulfilled in the Director X-directed video.

IDK’s Simple, YNW BSlime’s Goat and Jack Harlow’s Come Home The Kids Miss You were other albums released as scheduled this weekend. Bad Bunny’s album Un Verano Sin Ti was also released, along with the single and accompanying video “Moscow Mule.”

Coming up this weekend, Kendrick Lamar’s Mr. Morale and the Big Steppers Leikeli47’s Shape Up and Dreezy & Hit-Boy’s Hit-Girl are slated to come out on May 13. Sean Paul’s new album Scorcha is slated for May 27, while Blackstar (the moniker for duo Talib Kweli and Yasiin Bey) and Trippie Redd both have releases expected this month, according to HipHopDX.


Here, we relay from a portion of an article written recently regarding hip hop.

This week, we’re relaying from Complex staff writer Jessica McKinney’s article “‘Fake’ Rappers Are Taking Over the Internet (and Making Lots of Money)”:

Although the attention these rap clones have received from social media and interviews brings them notoriety (and potential clients), it seems money is the top priority. When Complex reached out to Lil Durk’s doppelganger Perkioo and asked about an interview for this story, he responded, “Will Complex be compensating for the interview?”

RECOMMENDED SONGS …for some reason, all the reasons, no reasons

  • “Moscow Mule” — Bad Bunny — Un Verano Sin Ti
  • “Memories” — YUNGBLUD and Willow Smith — (Something new with double the dose of queerness, for the price of one.)
  • “Don’t Wait Up” — Taylor Bennett feat. Mr Hudson — Coming of Age (Mr Hudson hasn’t appeared on a bad song yet, and this is not an exception.)

Thanks for reading, for somewhere between the first and eighty-ninth time, The Renaissance Rundown. If you didn’t know, you can find me on every social at @/JuwantheCurator (in addition to @JuwantheWriter on Twitter), my latest work and links at, and my own site,

As always, follow The Renaissance Project (@TheRenProj) via Facebook, Instagram, Twitter and Tumblr.

See y’all next week.




The Renaissance — Rap and Hip Hop’s Revolutionary Publication is a digital zine dedicated to providing innovative, honest thought in regards to the future of hip hop, as a culture and a music genre. @TheRenProj everywhere.

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Juwan J. Holmes

Juwan J. Holmes

Juwan Holmes is a writer and multipotentialite from Brooklyn, New York. He is the editor of The Renaissance Project.

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