Sean Leon is an artist from Ajax, Ontario, which seems to be on the outskirts of Toronto. Or maybe it is part of Toronto–I don’t know, Canada is confusing.
The real point is that he is an artist. He’s not a rapper. Maybe he’s not even a musician. He’s a creator, and he’s innovative and ambitious. I don’t want to describe the music or compare him to Travi$ Scott. These sounds are more of a feeling. It’s audio catharsis. In his own words from the video below, it is “ratchet brilliance.” These are sounds that should accompany scenes–compositions that should inspire other artists to push themselves to be better. He has three really good albums as far as I know: Ninelevenne The Tragedy, Narcissus The Drowning of Ego, and the upcoming Black Sheep Nirvana.
“Hey Pretty Girl with the Dirty Mouth” is my favorite song of his.
I first heard of Theophilus Martins on Ibra Ake‘s exceptional b i r d s mixtape. At the time I didn’t think too much of Martins contribution. Maybe it was the fact that the production on that track wasn’t original (shout out to Jamie xx and Gil Scott-Heron though). Luckily for me, Ibra just reposted Martins’s Doing It for Television EP on his Tumblr, and I’m floored. And so for the past hour, I have been playing the EP and doing what I do to every new musical obsession, stalking the shit out them. So I took to YouTube to check out interviews. The most revealing piece I found online is this “Trill Talks” from two years ago. It has me not only believing in Theophilus Martins, the musician but also Theophilus Martins, the person.
I sit here around the same time every month wondering what I should put into these little write ups. Sometimes it comes to me, and sometimes I’m just like blech. Sometimes I even wonder if anyone reads these or if they just skip to the music. Sex. I’m not going to go into a deep thoughtful post, or predict how many touchdowns Johnny Football (sex) will have for my brownies next week, but, yeah, enjoy the sex (music)!
PSA: I’m out of it tonight. Thanks, finals!
We are the loneliest generation. And I’m starting to accept that. Because it’s a beautiful loneliness. It’s a loneliness where we are both interconnected and isolated by our own devices. The chasm between reality and fantasy is shrinking. The internet allows us to develop personas, and man, these personas are perfect people. We have perfect opinions on every controversial event. And we are artists. And we have ideas for Kanye. It’s dumb but feels better than reality. We are alone together as an escape from just being alone. What we don’t realize is that being alone together is a lot sadder than just being alone.
So I made a really sad mixtape.
Note: SoundCloud does not have the first track of the mix (“Wound” by Arca), and the transition between that track and Tunji Ige’s “Song of the Night” is the best thing ever. So I’d recommend you download the mix (below) for that.
Chillin’ playing Lupe, feeling all alone, ain’t seen you in two Tuesdays
Skizzy Mars is one of too few artists who understands that music is about a feeling. It is about how good it sounds and how it makes you feel. And I realize that sounds dumb, but it is so true. “Like This,” the first single from “The Red Balloon Project,” reminds me of moving into my first apartment this summer and raging my face off with my closest friends. It reminds me of scenes from nights I might not necessarily remember. It reminds me of last night and the night before (and the night before).
“The Red Balloon Project” will be out this December.
So it’s November 1st. Let us take a couple things into consideration here:
- Last night was Halloween. I hope you stayed safe, had fun, and had a great costume!
- For those unaware, Halloween might be over, but it’s still Saturday. So repeat the above.
- You’re probably hungover, so here’s some music to relax too
- In a parallel universe, there was a Halloween party with all of you, and all of us at Sunset, and we danced, and we cried, and we laughed, and had a really, really, really, good time.
- Playlist and download link below!
Chance The Rapper just released a new song called “No Better Blues” on his SoundCloud page. For the Kid Cudi lovers out there (I’m shouting myself out right now), this might resonate with you. It’s a heavy emotional song that tells a story about the blues, and the feeling that can come with a form of depression where you hate everything – the ordinary things, the good things, the bad things, the comfortable and uncomfortable things. There isn’t joy to be found.
I imagine there are people out there who don’t appreciate hip hop music who will press play and say they hate this song. They hate that rappers don’t have any musical talent and that they can just speak over music that they often don’t make. They could go on and on about what they hate, just as Chance has in this song. But what I’d urge them to do is go beyond the sound that they may or may not like about hip hop music and think about the storytelling that goes into this. Chance is telling a story about the blues at exactly the right time. Just over a month ago, the world was mourning the passing of Robin Williams and depression and the demons that come with it were being talked about on the news. Today, it’s a thing of the past, and we’ve moved on to the more current news. We mustn’t forget the true battle so many face with a darkness so overwhelming one can feel they hate every single thing in life — their bed, their home, their family, the sun, the rain, the clouds, the war, the charities. It’s all covered in darkness.
But there are two lines in particular in this song by Chance that stand out to me. One is repeated throughout the song as Chance sings and raps “it don’t get no better,” and one is more subtle when he says “I hate to hate.” This isn’t something people choose to feel. But unfortunately, it’s not something there’s an easy cure for either. It’s an important matter that needs to stay in the foreground, and I commend Chance for bringing it back into the conversation, so long as people can see the true meaning of the song as I’ve interpreted it.
Is Chance himself actually feeling this way? Who knows. Maybe not…after all, he talks about things in here that he doesn’t have (a twin, for example). But that’s the beauty of art: it can tell stories about meaningful topics that don’t always have to represent the 1st person’s true life. The power is the story behind it. And Chance has told an incredibly powerful story in a song that many may brush off as something they hate. But take a deeper look, and you just may see the importance of it after all.
San Francisco based rapper Oswald is releasing his debut EP, Ride, on the 14th of this month. The young rhyme-slinger made a splash this past September by dropping the extremely unique single “Sea Full of Sharks” into the blogosphere via a Premiere on The Music Ninja. The song features Oswald’s signature impassioned flow, paired with the delectable vocals of Canadian songstress Hannah Georgas. Both artists seem to be making a statement about the music industry – specifically the current state of Rap with its reliance on dumbed down subject matter and milked over creativity. Ride will be out next week and can be pre-ordered via Bandcamp here.
If Drake ever slid into my DMs–I don’t know why Drake is sliding into my DMs but he’s Drake, and he’ll do whatever the fuck he wants–and was like, “Arjun, Toronto rapper Drake here, what artists should I pay attention to from Toronto?” The first artist that would come to mind would be Lais. The second would be Sean Leon, but that’s besides the point.
Lais is the newest addition to Skizzy Mars‘s Penthouse Music roster. To stick with the
lazy comparisons, he is a lot like the PND or The Weeknd to Skizzy’s Drake. His brand of music is filtered through a lens of intoxication and faded beauty. On “Dirty Martinis,” he croons about the hazy decadence of his (and her) lifestyle of choice. And through all the haze, you might just relate super heavy to these experiences and find your new favorite artist.
September just flew by, and the Sunset Crew is here with our top tracks of the past month. The playlist starts off with straight hip-hop vibes, then transitions to more indie / indie-pop, and ends with some funky bangers. Hope yall enjoy the dope tracks.
P.S – Halloween is on a Friday this year >:)
Devan DuBois – D L M G L
Skizzy Mars and Marc E. Bassy team up on this Diana Ross-sampling banger. This year has been pretty incredible for Skizzy. After dropping Pace in March, the New York native has gone full Drake mode and released a slew of free, non-album tracks that all fucking kill. And he’s not done. His next tape The Red Balloon should be coming out soon. Stay tuned.
It is not easy in 2014 for an up-and-coming artist to hibernate for a year and make a project. There is so much pressure to constantly create an influx of new music to keep fans and powerful people interested. Dylan Owen has not released a new song since last summer, which translates to a zillion blog years. But with every gap between songs, Dylan is living and writing and working and perfecting his craft. He is experiencing life and writing about it in hopes that people relate to his thoughts. I respect Dylan for two main reasons: he makes incredible music and is willing to wait for a perfected product. This is an artist you follow for life–not just a temporary blog fling.
Driving down the interstate, it’s 2 AM, I’m infinite…
“Everything Gets Old” is the first single from Dylan Owen’s new project There’s More To Life.