Young M.A Credit: David Goldman

Over the past week the Reader has collected these music stories that are still worth your time today.

Young M.A is sussing out the contradictions in her identity

The rapper behind the hit “OOOUUU” has managed to break into the mainstream without much hubbub about her sexuality. She spoke to the Fader about growing into her artistic persona, balancing her queer identity with her aspirations, and adjusting to fame. [The Fader]

The Hype Machine has survived its own hype cycle and found a second life

Blog aggregator the Hype Machine reached peak buzz in the late 2000s and early 2010s as an engine for breaking new artists—but as new music sites and publications appeared and blogs ceased to be the primary vector for music discovery, its star faded. Years later, though, it’s still going strong: talked to founder Anthony Volodkin about how Hype Machine’s attention to community has helped it maintain a strong user base. []

Englewood’s Kusanya Cafe—and the nonprofit based there—debuts a new series for local musicians

Englewood’s Kusanya Cafe has been building a reputation as a hub for creatives and young professionals. Now it’s starting a series called Sound Voyage to showcase local and international musical styles, with R&B, reggae, and Brazilian samba all making appearances in the next few weeks. The South Side Weekly (where the author of this roundup is music editor) went to the recent Sound Voyage show by singer Shawnee Dez to learn about series organizers’ plans for the community and how Kusanya represents the musical variety of the south side—and to answer the question “Why Englewood?” [South Side Weekly]

A new documentary sheds light on the Lebanese poetic style called zajal and its ongoing merger with electronic music

Over the next month, Red Bull Music Academy will release a multipart documentary on the Lebanese poetic form zajal, which has recently merged with contemporary electronic music. They’ll debut episodes every Monday through the end of February; this first covers one of zajal’s prominent practitioners and the history of the style. [RBMA Daily]

Industrial-music pioneer Richard H. Kirk thinks back to Margaret Thatcher and his Cabaret Voltaire years

Richard H. Kirk spoke to Fact this week in anticipation of a recent reissue of some of his solo releases. He went into detail on his influential industrial group Cabaret Voltaire, the Western Works studio they once shared with the Human League and New Order, and the Thatcherite political and social climate they resisted at the time. [Fact Magazine]

Slo ‘Mo has been providing Chicago with “slow jams for homos (and their fans)” for five years

Chicago’s Slo ‘Mo dance party has been running for five years now, bringing its queer take on R&B to the Slippery Slope, the Whistler, and occasionally relatively far-flung spots such as the Promontory and the Empty Bottle. The organizers spoke to Canvas Chicago on their plans for the future, the importance of queer-centric parties, and the power of making connections on a dance floor. [Canvas Chicago]