The Bullet List #27: Put Kendrick Lamar in Charge of Everything Edition / by Nasri Atallah

Told you these would be coming through more regularly, so here we are again. Trying to keep these lean and mean (not sure what that even means) so I can do more of them. Oh, and by the way, if you're enjoying these Bullet Lists, tell your friends to sign up (they can do that here). And thank you for all the emails saying you find the recommendations useful and pushing me to do the podcast. I'm planning on recording a pilot episode in the next two weeks. Stay tuned. Or subscribed. You know what I mean. Onto the recommendations.



This is hardly an under-the-radar recommendation given that the film has a 98% Rotten Tomatoes score and grossed USD 55 million on a budget of USD 5 million. It was one of the most successful indie films of the year, and its writers Emily V. Gordon and Kumail Nanjiani are up for an Academy Award for Best Original Screenplay. Despite taking the massive risk of having one of its characters in a coma for the entire second act, it is such a funny and tender film. As always with this kind of highly personal story, the cast of both sets of parents is particularly brilliant. The film is now streaming on Amazon Prime (and was made by Amazon Studios, who seem to have figured out how to make breakout hits after years of tinkering with niche subjects).



Kendrick Lamar, The Weeknd, SZA, Anderson .Paak, James Blake, Travis Scott, Sjava, Mozzy, Reason. I mean I could go on, but do I really need to? One of the most powerful soundtracks in a while comes from one of the most powerful films of the superhero franchise era. Curated by Kendrick Lamar (who should be in charge of everything) and featuring his label mates from Top Dawg, the album delivers on its promise. Everything about Black Panther has been so powerful. I can’t use another word. Even the photos from the red carpet premiere.



Chances are you’re one of the 2.3 billion people who have a Facebook profile, and chances are you’ve noticed things have been a bit rough for the tech (media?) giant for the past year or two. This sprawling and exquisitely reported piece (they spoke to 51 people involved with the company) about the technical, ethical and philosophical challenges facing Zuckerberg and his team is required reading. In many ways, Facebook is the internet for a lot of people, so understanding its limitations and vulnerability to abuse is an important part of our digital literacy. Also this kind of journalism is exactly the kind of thing we need to keep alive in the platform era, and the issue's cover is pure art.



Business news can be pretty stale, but having worked in banking, energy, advertising and tech (I know, all the evil industries, they look almost comical next to each other on my cv) I like keeping up with what’s going on in that world even though I’m out of it and have cleansed my soul. Well, The Hustle is the answer. It is very sharply written, often hilarious, and always insightful. Kind of like Prof Galloway from the recommendation in The Bullet List #26, but in writing. Subscribe, you’ll be entertained and you’ll be able to drop some knowledge about IPOs and shit at the next dinner with your friends. I mean, they’ll probably turn away from you and roll their eyes, but still.



I'm recommending this again. It isn’t every day that you get a Bradford-based crime story, but AA Dhand’s changed that in the past couple of years. This is the first of his DI Harry Virdee stories and sees the hardened (and suspended) detective tasked with maintaining the city’s fragile ethnic balance. Problem is, to do so he has to team up with the former leader of the BNP. As a riot brews, Harry’s got to act quickly, and at the edges of the law. It’s a great read. I hope to join the ranks of crime writers plonking exciting stories down into places no one’s really bothered with before.