If you take some of the world’s most influential thinkhouses (Pixar, DONDA, Tesla) and ask yourself what they all have in common, two concepts will come to mind: hard work and collaboration (also, risk taking). While many of us are staunch supporters of these brands, only a few actually follow the blueprint of ideation left by, for example, Kanye’s post-Yeezus interview spree. Jon Waltz is one of the few.
The Memphis rapper/singer has taken great care in the making of his upcoming Anna EP. In doing so, he assembled a team of some of the most talented young people in music (Romil, Tebs, Alex Siber, Joba). The title track from the EP is a 3-minute glimpse into a kaleidoscope found on the ground of Coachella that is mysteriously labeled “love.” It is a fluid depiction of young romance that is constantly moving forward, as background vocals from Joba and Taeghan Hagood help fill-in black spaces of the painting.
Kevin Abstract makes it well known that he has a lot of heroes. In attempt to emulate his heroes while also discovering his own sound, his producer Romil and he turned in the 12-track MTV1987 LP that I consider the year’s best album. So during this live interview (that you may be viewing after the fact when it’s not live), I will be talking to Kevin about his heroes, his album, and his quest of becoming the most popular artist alive, and I will be discussing in depth the making of MTV1987 with the suddenly iconic duo.
EDIT (6/2/15): Kevin Abstract’s MGMT asked for the interview to be taken down. Sorry for any inconvenience.
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.