Allan Kingdom and Kevin Abstract, two Sunset Selections and leaders of the future regime of hip-hop, join forces on “Already.” The title of the song is fitting because both of these guys just dropped their own projects super recently, and they’re already in the studio making moves. The most impressive part of this collaboration is how both artists maintain their own sound, while working towards a greater, collaborative sound. The biggest challenge for young artists is finding your own sound, and these guys have done it at such a young age, which is part of the reason we are so excited to watch them flourish in their careers.
Remember in like 2010 when Big Sean remixed “Too Fake” by Hockey and like Chiddy Bang was thriving with Xaphoon Jones on the boards? With his past two releases, Skizzy Mars is kind of bringing back that moment in time. The real difference is that producer Michael Keenan and him are doing it better. “Lucy,” which remixes future/current indie sweetheart Olivver, sounds less like a sample and more like a feature, which is kind of a miracle if you understand how sampling works. Somehow, these guys have a sound so original that their spin on another song sounds uniquely theirs. And lyrically, Skizzy is just getting better and better at expressing the realest shit, picking up on the subtle intricacies of the most minute moments.
Damaged from the last, so I’m focused on the first, probably settle with the next, ’cause it just couldn’t be worse
Check out the original if you haven’t yet.
CP went in. Pause. On the self-produced “Quarter Life Crisis,” the NY native reflects on his 25 years or so of existence. It feels glorious to listen to, and isn’t that how music should feel? I think that’s enough said; listen to the damn track.
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