Tom Barnes
Tom Barnes

Tom Barnes is a senior staff writer at Mic focused on music, activism and the intersection between the two. He's based in New York and can be reached at

April 22, 2017

Kendrick Lamar reveals the key reason why Donald Trump was not the main focus of 'Damn.'

Kendrick Lamar left politics behind because there's a more important question we have face.

April 21, 2017

Prince's 'Sign O the Times' is as relevant today as it was at its release

The times have changed slightly, but the signs remain the same.
April 21, 2017

How the Black Angels wrote the ideal 'Death Song' for the Trump era, without meaning to

The legendary Austin psych band discusses 'Death Song' and how its discussions of greed and corruption transcend Trump.
April 20, 2017

Don Cheadle talks his "DNA." cameo and the "surprise" Kendrick Lamar had for him

The actor dishes on being the original Kung Fu Kenny.
April 20, 2017

Rihanna, Billie Holiday, Bob Marley and 6 of the most famous stoners in music history

Portraits of 9 key stoners who have drawn inspiration from marijuana and returned the favor with their advocacy.
April 18, 2017

Kendrick Lamar brings Kung-Fu Kenny to life in his police thriller "DNA." video

Lamar seems to have drawn Kung Fu Kenny out of hip-hop's long fascination with karate film culture.

April 18, 2017

With one hand and three chords, you, too, can write a Chainsmokers hit

Most chart-topping pop relies on simple songwriting formulas. The Chainsmokers happen to have a particularly narrow one.
April 17, 2017

'Damn.' feels anxious, incomplete, begging a second album. That's part of the point.

There's a reason why fans thought there had to be a sequel to 'Damn.' — and there's a reason why there's not one.
April 15, 2017

Chance the Rapper's life story told through 24 of his best lyrics

To celebrate Chance's 24th birthday, we look over 24 bars describing scenes from his life that have made him the man he is today.
April 14, 2017

Kendrick Lamar 'Damn.': A glossary of all the spiritual, political and personal references

A glossary of the key terms and references that should make decoding 'Damn.' slightly easier for aspiring Kendrick Lamar scholars.
April 14, 2017

Kendrick Lamar's 'Damn.' Release: A complete list of all the shots at Fox News

Lamar criticizes the network for stereotyping his music and misleading the American public.

April 13, 2017

Kendrick Lamar and U2's "XXX" comes from a history of rap-rock duets. They're not all bad.

Rap and rock crossovers have a much longer history than most realize, and it's not all groan-worthy.
April 12, 2017

Charlie Murphy: 7 of the comedian's greatest moments in film, stand-up and television

A collection of Charlie Murphy's best true Hollywood stories and boundary-pushing stand-up.
April 12, 2017

Chance the Rapper is throwing himself a birthday party to raise money for his charity

Chance the Rapper is using his birthday as another way to raise money to support Chicago's children.
April 11, 2017

Coachella survival guide: 7 things to keep in mind when planning your festival trip

Consult this list and you might make it through Coachella weekend without serious damage to your ears, body and psyche.
April 11, 2017

Kendrick Lamar 'Damn.' track list: Every song on the "Humble" rapper's fourth studio album

'Damn' comes with two official features: Rihanna and Irish rock band U2.

April 10, 2017

Frank Ocean's "Biking" lyrics draw a ton of metaphors for life out of one simple machine

A smooth-sailing summer jam that leans on remarkably clever lyricism from its three rappers.
April 10, 2017

A Gorillaz TV show is finally in the works. They should've started it years ago.

The Gorillaz have been dancing around the concept forever, it's time to take their culture satire to the next level.
April 7, 2017

From the Alchemist to 9th Wonder: A close read of Kendrick Lamar's new album credits

A look at what production team of Sounwave, DJ Dahi, James Blake, Alchemist and BADBADNOTGOOD have been up to in recent years.
April 7, 2017

Joey Badass 'All-Amerikkkan Badass' Review: A dark, urgent effort to revitalize NYC rap

The New York City rapper steps into full revolutionary mode for his most challenging release to date.