The article — which was published to commemorate what would have been Sinatra's 95th birthday — further examines connections between the late singer and hip-hop. "Sinatra's unfortunate flirtations with the Mafia later on — much like the gangsta affectations of many rappers — had more to do with being a wannabe, an idolator, than any actual mob affiliation," Kaplan writes. (In his new memoir, Decoded , Jay discusses his days as a drug dealer at length.)
Yet that affectation, Kaplan argues, was far from Sinatra's greatest strength — in fact, the opposite was. Sinatra's "vulnerability is at the core of his magic," he writes. "There was an operatic intensity to Frank Sinatra's existence. ... The conflicts filter into the molecules of his music. We hear, we respond." Indeed, he writes that Eminem's "Not Afraid" is a stellar example of how the best rappers attain a similar goal, exposing "the sorrow and humanity that underlie the swagger."
Straight Outta Hoboken [New York Times]
- Frank Sinatra
- James Kaplan