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The easiest way to present yourself as a boring, uninteresting and lame person is to start a sentence with the words, “Music isn’t the same nowadays...” or “I was born in the wrong era.” That is a mindset that many fall into — feeling that all of the “good stuff” has passed and that new music is garbage.
The Canadian R&B singer Daniel Caesar burst onto the R&B scene with a hauntingly beautiful love song, “Get You,” featuring the amazing Kali Uchis.
XXXTentacion (aka X) is an unlikely creation — an array of disparate characteristics that had to fit together perfectly in order to form him. He is a part of the Soundcloud rap era, an independent artist who got discovered online.
About a year ago, west coast hip-hop legend DJ Quik — one of the definitive west coast rappers, standing alongside Snoop Dogg, Dr. Dre, Ice Cube and the N.W.A. ensemble — and fellow Compton rapper Problem released a short mixtape called Rosecrans. The EP was a fun, well produced work with a few west coast bangers and some great grooves. Now, Quik and Problem have turned this small EP into a fully fleshed album.
This has been a fairly light week for new music, so I have decided to turn my eyes back to some classic albums that aren’t talked about as much as they should be. The first on this list is one of my personal favorite albums, Purple Haze, by objectively the most charismatic rapper of all time, Cam’ron.
Joey Bada$$ is a miracle. At a time when New York and East Coast hip-hop as a collective was being mocked, ridiculed and disdained, Joey, this wiry, wide-eyed 18-year-old kid dropped his first mixtape, 1999, and changed the status and esteem of a whole coast.
Freddie Gibbs (aka Freddie Gordy, Gangsta Gibbs) has been rapping for years, but his rise was fairly recent. He caught buzz over mixtapes and small, local songs before truly blowing up through his masterful collaboration with Madlib (Piñata)as well as his great follow up album, Shadow of a Doubt.
Drake is a massive figure. He is a global superstar, one of the most recognizable faces of the past ten years. He has exceeded pure stardom; He has exceeded hip hop fame. He is the image of wealth, success, cool. Perhaps this explains why Drake’s recent music is so... boring.
Onra is a French producer with a penchant for plundering music. His sources are wide and varied. He is widely known for his greatest success, the Chinoiseries.
Dirty Projectors are an indie rock band headed by singer-songwriter David Longstreth. In the group’s latest, self-titled project, Longstreth explores his recent heartbreak with former bandmate Amber Coffman. Longstreth takes the listener on a textured, winding, emotional journey across the reaction to heartbreak and the acceptance of love lost.
Valentine’s Day is a holiday that can cause wildly varying emotions. To some, it is a celebration of love. It is a sacred day filled with warm, sweet emotions that swell and bubble inside. To others, it is a terrible reminder of their inability to find the right partner. In going through the day, I was inspired to write out some choices of entertainment that can help on both ends of the spectrum.
I have never been a fan of Big Sean. While Lil Wayne would occasionally rap a couple lines or verses where the punchlines were corny or stale, those kinds of lines are a staple of Big Sean’s rhyme book. He has stumbled with lines like “I make like the universe and plan it (planet) out,” and “I’ll be there for you, I’m all ears, in other words, I’m here (hear) for you.” Whenever I see a Big Sean feature on a song, I expect an okay but forgettable verse.
One of the central tenets of music listening is “putting somebody on,” or introducing a person to an artist or song that they haven’t heard before. In this article, I want to put you on to three projects and musicians that aren’t getting (and probably will not get) mainstream appeal.
This past week, the arts section of The News-Letter convened to create our list of the Top Five albums in three different fields. These are our Top Five Rap albums of 2016.
Hip-hop production is an art that has been long overlooked. In many cases, the most striking part of a song is the instrumental, and yet, for the most part, it is the rapper who gets all of the acclaim.
Wikipedia classifies Bon Iver’s newest album, 22, A Million, as Folktronica. That is one way to describe it I guess. I think calling it Bon Iver’s Yeezus is a more comprehensive portrayal. The cover of the album itself should reveal the reductionist, modernist step that lead singer Justin Vernon takes on this project, infusing his folk roots with a new, exciting electronic backing. The tracklist supports this view. It looks like an e. e. Cummings poem infested with inexplicable numbers and figures.
Bond St. District, a group made up of rapper DDm (aka Emmanuel Williams) and producer Paul Hutson, released their first full album, A Church on Vulcan, on Nov. 4. The launch party was held last Saturday at the Ottobar.
Meek Mill is coming off a horrific year. He was stuck in jail for months over a parole violation. He started a legitimate fight with Drake over a ghostwriting allegation that he backed up with hard evidence and still lost. He’s beefing with both Game and Beanie Sigel who released some vicious diss tracks (update: Game and Meek have squashed the beef) and the release date of his project was postponed by a stipulation in his probation that prohibited the release of new music.
It’s that time of year again. While college guys deliberate which skin tight costume most prominently shows their pecs, and rackety old men prepare their pile of toothbrushes for distribution, some of us look for albums and tracks to fill our Halloween playlists.
Smooth and sexy: These two words completely describe singer Anderson .Paak and quirky music producer Knxwledge’s collaborative project, Yes Lawd!, named for .Paak’s trademark adlib. Released a week early on Oct. 14, 2016, this project burst onto Apple Music unexpectedly. Working under the moniker NxWorries, the pair created a nearly perfect project with smooth, layered instrumentals, beautiful vocal performances and a thick layer of silky, confident charisma.