Category Archives: Special

Sounds of September

SEPTEMBER

It was a hot summer. Fall might be setting in but the music isn’t cooling down. Here’s a list of some of our favorite songs from the past few weeks. The perfect playlist to welcome in the change of seasons. Check it all out below. Featuring Party OMO, Lil Yachty, Silver, Mick Jenkins and more.

Compiled by Jesse Wiles

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Rap is the new rock and roll, get used to it

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Like it or not, rap is the new rock and roll and it continues to usurp aspects of the genre as it evolves. From tour merch to style to onstage antics, rock and hip hop have more similarities than is first apparent.

As Kanye West stated emphatically in his 2013 BBC Radio 1 interview, “rap is the new rock and roll, we the rock stars.” At the time that seemed like a lofty proclamation, as it is with most of Mr. West’s statements. However, as things have progressed West seems to have had the definitive word.

Rock, the culture of hip hop, and the roots of raps lie in the African American community. Rock and roll came about in the 1940s as a mixture of blues and jazz and other music. However, it was adopted commercially as an overwhelmingly white genre, thanks in part to the popularity of artists like Elvis. Hip hop and rap began in the Bronx a few decades later, adopted from Jamaican and Caribbean music styles as well as funk and jazz. Unlike rock, the genre’s roots and commercial success are wholly attributed to African Americans.

With similar roots comes a similar a draw to the genre. In the 1950s it was the rebellious, non-conformists who were attracted to rock and roll. Similarly, rap is enticing because of its lack of boundaries and its accessibility. Anyone can rhyme, and with a few catchy beats and a little swagger, become a rapper, just like the possibility of becoming a rock star if you played an instrument or sang.

A lot of the content in rap is very similar to that of rock and roll. Aside from attracting the rebellious, both genres are very centered around social justice, sex, drugs and love. Where rap tends to stray away from rock is how misogynistic and violent it is in comparison.

The other, more materialistic magnetism is that rappers are living a lavish lifestyle while doing and saying outlandish things. Anyone who is anti-establishment is immediately attracted to this. Fifties and sixties parents hated rock and roll just as parents hate rap today.

The grungy and rebellious leather and denim clad teens of the 1960s, 70s and 80s have been replaced with an equally rebellious group of teens donning Air Force 1s and jogger pants. Everything moves in circles and currently rap reigns.

Instead of electric and often times obscene performances from Jim Morrison you have Travi$ Scott hanging from ceiling rafters and inciting riots at Lollapalooza. Mega stars like Bruce Springsteen and the band, Queen, who sold out shows all across the world, have been replaced by the likes of Kanye West and Drake. The experimental, in both music and drugs, Jimi Hendrix who turned feedback and distortion into something beautiful has been replaced with the squawks and yelps of Young Thug and the codeine induced slur of Future. Hendrix played a large role in shaping the innovative style of Kid Cudi, who, in turn, has helped shape contemporary rap. The youthful, fashion-rule bending duo of Swae Lee and Slim Jxmmi who make up the duo Rae Sremmurd have replaced KISS’s stage makeup and boisterous outfits with their loud patterns and ski goggles.

Sonically, rap is not too reminiscent of rock. However, rap style and tour merchandise have been greatly influenced by the fashion and commercialization of rock and roll. Kanye West’s ‘Yeezus’ tour merch used arguably the most recognizable font associated with a band. The official name, Pastor of Muppets, designed by Ray Larbie, is more commonly known as ‘Metallica font’ after the band used it for their album covers.

Tour shirts and vintage rock posters from bands like KISS, ACDC and Iron Maiden have also been emulated by the likes of Travi$ Scott on tour merch. The look has also become a popular trend donned by everyone from Big Sean to Lil Yachty. Aside from similar logos and fonts, rappers have recently been infatuated with denim and a grungy aesthetic, a staple for many rock stars.

Rappers truly are this generations rock stars. Rap is not for everyone, but neither was rock. Mr. West opens up his mouth a lot. He says a lot of things that are easy to shrug off. Sometimes it takes a few years for us to realize that he was right.

Written by Jesse Wiles

Review of Drake’s fourth studio album “Views”

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We’ve been waiting for this album since 2014. Almost immediately after releasing Nothing Was The Same in late 2013, Drake announced the title to his follow up Views From The 6 and that he was already in the process of working on it. In 2015 we got If You’re Reading This It’s Too Late and that did not disappoint at all. But even after that, everyone was still talking about Views and what it could possibly mean to the hip hop world. Arguably the biggest celebrity at the moment, Drake sets himself up for failure early on in the album by calling it a classic only 4 songs in.

Views is in no way a bad album. It’s just Drake being Drake, which we’ve gotten many times before. He plays it so safe it’s almost sad. Yes, the Toronto artist added some dancehall flare with songs like “One Dance,” “Too Good” & “Controlla.” But that just isn’t enough anymore. Every song sounds too much like past work, lyrically and stylistically. It is almost as though every song could have somehow found it’s way onto one of Drake’s past albums.

Drake’s right hand man Noah “40” Shebib does an amazing job with the majority of the production and mixing/mastering. Drake sings more than ever on the album and his performance is phenomenal. Songs like “Feel No Ways” & “With You” have Drake hitting notes that I’ve never heard him hit before. Drake’s growth has been something amazing to watch over the years and for him to be able to sing like the majority of pop stars today is pretty fascinated considering he made his name rapping with Lil’ Wayne.

In terms of bars, Drake really goes in on “Hype” & “Still Here.” No features just bar after bar after bar. Those two are by far my favorite on the album. “Grammys” featuring Future sounds like it was recorded during the What A Time To Be Alive sessions but it still was a pleasant surprise to hear future body another verse. Overall, I wish Drake would have rapped a bit more but we always have If You’re Reading This It’s Too Late to go back to.

After all said and done, Views is Drake’s safe album. It won’t be remembered like Take Care will be. Yes, it will be in rotation for quite sometime and it will obviously be talked about for months to come. But the real question is what is next for Drake. He can’t keep using the same formula in his music and that is apparent. No one will get bored listening to it but for music heads like myself I just want MORE. Hopefully we get that Drake/Kanye mixtape he hinted at during the Zane Lowe interview. Now that would be something.

What did you guys think? If you haven’t listened to the album yet, you can check it out on Apple Music here. Happy listening!

Written by Erik Lindberg

Action Bronson is back with a new episode of “F*ck That’s Delicious”

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Big Body Bes, Alchemist, Mayhem Lauren and Bronsolino are back again with Bronson’s Vice series Fuck That’s Delicious.

What happens when an Israeli, an Albanian, a black man, a half Puerto Rican/ half Dominican and a German walk into a restaurant?  Copious amounts of fine foods from the south are consumed, things are said that shouldn’t be repeated and Big Body Bes rides a jet ski. Check this one out for yourself below and stay tuned for Episode 2 coming soon.

Written by Jesse Wiles

[Playlist] for claire week 3. ft. MC and The Visions, RAT BOY, Chance The Rapper, Reece & more

Every few weeks I’ll be putting together a playlist for my friend Claire. The playlists will mostly be an assortment of artists who I’ve stumbled on through Soundcloud in the weeks leading up to me sitting down and putting together a playlist. For the most part, the playlists will be super random. However, some will have a cohesive theme or will be comprised of the same genre. Week 3 of the “for claire” series contains a wide variety of sounds, from MC and The Visions to RAT BOY to Chance The Rapper. Give it a listen below and keep an eye out for Part 4 some time in the next couple weeks.

-Jesse Wiles