Remember that episode of The Fairly OddParents where Timmy goes inside the Internet to retrieve an embarrassing email? This album is nothing like that; although, the ingenious art direction by HK might actually mislead you a bit. Kevin Abstract‘s MTV1987 is less about technology as it is the result of technology. If you look only at the musical references on this project, you will hear the usual suspects in modern hip-hop–Outkast, Cudi, Kanye, Drake, Pharrell–but you will also hear Nirvana, Cassie, Justin Timberlake, and Michael Jackson. If you look at the words, the story is one of acute loneliness and desolation brought upon as a result of the Information Age. It’s about the millions of young people who fantasize about a different life online and struggle to maintain any semblance of a relationship IRL. And it’s not our fault; the Internet has fucked up the wiring of our brain. This album is a reflection on the youth and the struggle to feel something real in a robotic world.
It is also one of the best albums of the year. Kevin Abstract and his producer Romil beyond delivered on this project. It literally sounds like FutureSex/LoveSounds meets Man on the Moon II. Romil has to be the most improved producer in a single year since the beginning of time, and Kevin’s songwriting jumped to one of the best in all of music. Gone are the days where we are talking loosely about the “endless potential of Kevin Abstract.” He has found his sound and team of producers and engineers and can only keep improving from here. Like, I can’t stress enough: this is a real album. In the perfect world, this would win Grammys. Unfortunately, right now that world only exists online, but I have a feeling that’s going to change for Kevin very soon.
I don’t trust artists who don’t look at the camera in their music videos. I was watching a video just yesterday, and the rapper refused to make eye contact, and he was rapping the whole time just like, to himself. I felt like I didn’t exist. Allan Kingdom on the other hand is fearless. He is confident and commands attention. It’s not easy to make a professional-looking video as an independent artist, but when you got a good team around you, it becomes a lot easier. It seems like Ben Hughes, who also directed the “Evergreens” video (below), is the ideal collaborator for Kingdom. And while the “Evergreens” video was impeccably shot, I see the “Souls” video as a step up. They are depicting the Minneapolis landscape, while also throwing in some mean imagery about Allan’s rise in the music industry.
Hurt Everybody is the perfect name for this trio from Chicago. Supa Bwe, Carl, and Mulatto Beats are out to hurt anybody and everybody standing in the way of their success. I think in general I try to listen to music that moves me, and this is that at the moment. There’s a controlled desperation in Supa Bwe and Carl’s voices. They make you feel what they feel, and that’s a powerful tool. It also doesn’t… hurt that the 14-track EP features Chicago favorites like Alex Wiley, Kembe X, Mick Jenkins, and Saba.
Hurt (Intro), Transmissions (Warning and Contact), Treat Me Caucasian, Scratched, In Seoul, Slept All Day, and Beauty (Outro)
The goal of an experienced artist on the come up is to just try and make something undeniable. That’s what “This View From Here” is. The first single from OnCue‘s highly anticipated Angry Young Man is a statement. Watching the video, you see the hunger in Cuey’s eyes, and that desire is not lost on the music. The song is a gripping proclamation–a declaration of the driving force behind all fine art. Above all, it is a manifesto to the unfuckwithable feeling of chasing your dreams, struggling, and then making your dreams a reality. At the end of the video, the release date for Angry Young Man is shown.
September 3rd. Mark your calendars.
I Love Makonnen is refreshing, different, unique, etc. I mean, don’t you guys get frustrated listening to the same 20 songs on the radio? I feel so jaded about music these days because nothing surprises me. Except I Love Makonnen surprises me. Allan Kingdom surprises me. Jon Waltz surprises me. Kevin Abstract surprises me. This 7-track project features grounded, structured songwriting but with vibrant, experimental vocals. Makonnen’s voice bends and swerves around these bass heavy instrumentals. The songs are funny and depressing at the same time and challenge the listener to look dumb now but like, cool in the future. ‘Cause you know, I think this EP is about two years ahead of its time.
I can’t have many more summers like this. Silver Car Crash is the result of that realization and the looming issue I refuse to face that is my future. I know what I am about to say about ideas is ironic considering this cover, title, and paragraph are a direct result of my ideas, but I don’t feel like I do enough with my ideas. Here’s why. In the perfect world, everyone shares their best ideas, and from that grand mixing pot of people’s best ideas, the absolute best idea is selected as the concept for a product. But in the world we live in, the best idea doesn’t always win, so we learn to conform. We learn to adjust our ideas to fit with old ideas. In essence, we are constantly updating the second or third best idea, and no matter how much we update that idea it will never match the potential of the absolute best idea. iPhone 5s are a good reference for this process. It is backwards and terrible, so that’s why a frustrated, young thinker invented art (probably) because there is no “best” art; there are many “best” art(s). I don’t really know the point of this. I just know that I enjoy using art as the medium for sharing my ideas because the real world is horrifying, and there’s no reason why the best idea shouldn’t always win. But the fact that I enjoy something doesn’t mean it’s right, and as I type this I am realizing that I need to start sharing more ideas outside of a safe, cushioned context and face this shit head on in a silver car crash. Okay, that was corny. But hey, I said the title, so it had to feel at least a little validating after reading all the crap I wrote above. Sorry. Don’t conform, and be brave.
Continue reading “[Download Mixtape] Tape Tuesday: Silver Car Crash” »
The U.S. might’ve lost against The Waffles yesterday, but that won’t stop us from celebrating our independence day this Friday! To those who have plans to get drunk and run wild, or to those who prefer to have a glass of wine and enjoy fireworks with your loved one (or do both at the same damn time), enjoy your weekend and freedom. Why? Because this is America and it is our duty as writers to serve you with an awesome playlist filled with June’s best music for your holiday weekend. God, I’m so emotional right now.
I have been waiting for Allan Kingdom‘s Future Memoirs EP ever since it was announced. Or maybe ever since I asked him to be on Sunset Selections last year. I needed to drive. The past few days had been weird–lots of little things piling up into this large, unnecessary mound of tension. I try to maintain a cool exterior when all this shit happens, but I really needed to drive, and I noticed the project had dropped. So I quickly downloaded it, burned it onto a CD, tweeted what I was about to do, and drove off listening to Future Memoirs for the very first time.
As the CD traveled through the first three songs, I felt like it was good; a step in the right direction; a realization of some of the limitless potential we saw from last summer’s Talk to Strangers. Then, the project’s single “Evergreens” played. That is undeniably the best song on the tape. I danced. But it wasn’t until I got to the completely freestyled “Positive” that I realized this was a moment. The actual song speaks to my undeservingly optimistic generation. The tape as a whole speaks to… me. Without making this into an uncomfortable, awkward situation, I feel how Allan feels. I try to maintain this cool exterior when shit hits the fan; Allan makes music about keeping that cool exterior when shit hits the fan. In other words, he completes me. Wait, nevermind nevermind nevermind–that was, uh–I didn’t mean that.
Stream and download the 12-track EP below. Note that it features Spooky Black with most of the production done by Allan Kingdom with help from Plain Pat, SITR favorite Bobby Raps, Psymun, and Ryan Olson of Poliça.
I’m wonderful, I’m wonderful, that works for me
It’s already been six months into 2014, and that’s just weird. So weird that we had to tell you our top 100 songs from the last six months. All of them are compiled into one giant SoundCloud playlist with over 5 hours of tunes to fill your ears with. No particular order. Special shoutout to our writers for helping me put this together, and to our readers that are on this page checking out our picks. Y’all are awesome!
Dae Zhen has quickly earned his way into my rotation with one of my current favorite songs in ’94. Most rappers aren’t able to handle melodic parts, but he does with such ease. Below are the visuals for ’94 that tells a story about relationships.
From an outsider’s perspective (no pun intended), it could be easy to discredit G-Eazy‘s success, saying that his brand is “manufactured.” It could be easy to say that this faux-retro brand he has built from nothing is just a shtick to set him apart in an over-saturated hip-hop market. Once you witness his “shtick” firsthand, you realize that maybe his brand is manufactured to set him apart in this crazy game. It doesn’t matter. G-Eazy is a smart guy–a graduate of Loyola University’s Music Industry Studies program. He knows what he’s doing, and maybe his image is a calculated attempt at monetizing nostalgia.
But image only gets you so far.
These Things Happen will be G’s first commercial album. The man is treading into the deep waters of actually asking his fans to purchase his music! But what I saw when I interviewed young Gerald was an experienced yet still hungry rapper with a smart style, a loyal fan base, and an unending supply of good music and ideas–not to mention, he is one of the most genuine artists I have ever met. Like, he lives exactly what he raps. In our interview, the Bay Area rapper talked candidly about the challenges of tour life, the details of his come up, rap disses, his favorite brands of whiskey, and of course, the making of These Things Happen. Pre-order the album on iTunes now or buy a physical copy on June 23rd. Continue reading “[Interview] G-Eazy: “This Is Where It All Starts”” »