How Chance the Rapper's Life Became Perfect

"Los Angeles is a weird, complicated town for him. It's where all the record labels are, for one thing. And Chancelor Bennett, as he was born, is unsigned. Won't sign. It's maybe the most interesting, improbable music-industry story going right now—a young, obviously gifted rapper, universally hailed as the heir to Kanye and leader of a new generation of Internet-savvy kids who think of Jay Z as a failed tech entrepreneur, now on his fourth year of refusing to sign with a label."

The Short Life of Deonte Hoard

Shot and killed just shy of his 18th birthday, Deonte Hoard was one of 489 homicide victims in Chicago last year. How this happened—and how it keeps happening—is both one person’s story and the story of how a community has been forced to adjust to murder as an everyday fact of life.

Still Life

A Japanese photographer examines the scene of the St. Valentine's Day massacre; a story from the author of The Black Hour.

"Was it the worst I’d seen? I turned to the camera, viewing the scene anew. Four men lay in a row, as though they had been tucked into a large bed. One slept at their feet, face down. The last hunched on his knees at a round-backed wooden chair. Blood ran toward the center of the room. Later that day when I returned to the newsroom, I would release the image from the machine in my hands, like a dragon from a cage. The city would see the blood, black, and no one would remember that someone—call him Togo or call him Fujita, the name will not be printed—had stood in the dust of men’s bones to face the dragon so that they did not have to."

Within the Cathedral, An Echo

An unemployed banker drifts along Occupy protests, his crumbling life, and a crime scene.

"Against the bleachers’ far end, beyond the scope of the cameras, Michael was thinking again about Brussels. The bullet had rung out with plunky subtlety he knew to expect but found disappointing, still. He remembered a cathedral there and the sound he had heard inside of it. This was years ago. The sound he recalled was a cane that he’d heard falling onto the cathedral’s marble floor. The way sound survives inside a cathedral. He remembered looking across the aisle to a hairless woman with earrings dangling halfway down her neck. In the darkness of Chicago, the boy’s body called to him for a closer look, he still had his phone after all, a camera. He could hear the sirens approaching."