Many moons ago, a wise prophet named Patricia Benatar proclaimed that love is a battlefield. Jumping off that sage conceit, I named this mix, War Games, after the tactical exercises the military conducts to test strategy without real combat (read about them here). So, if love is an actual battlefield/the real shit/total war, then what I’m saying is that everything prior to love is war games, and that’s what this mix is about: the infatuation, lust, and general stickiness that happens prior to love. Does that make sense? Should I have not used the word “stickiness”? Well, I hope it makes sense, and there’s nothing I can do now about the use of that word. Forget I said it! And listen to this playlist of immensely talented, largely undiscovered artists below.
P.S. Lydia, I am so sorry about the butt that is now on the homepage of this website you created. I feel like it’s probably unfair to you that there is a butt on your site’s main screen, but I like butts and this one looks particularly cool. Maybe we agree on this; maybe we don’t. Nevertheless, I’m sorry.
Wherever you are, no matter how far, no matter who you’re hanging out with, I hope you’re having fun
It is always exciting when a new president is elected in the United States. Between election day and inauguration day, speculation runs rampant, as the President-elect decides who will run the government with him or her for the next four years. During this time of great intrigue, people begin to get a feel for what their country will look like under this person’s leadership.
Earlier this month, Donald Trump was elected to the highest office in the land. Most people who voted for him did so in the hope that he will institute laws that will work better for them and their family. However, so far, during this transition period before taking office, Trump has put questionable people in positions of power, while tweeting thoughtless lies and failing to properly address the global conflicts of interest caused by his company (He has also suddenly reversed his position on many issues, making it seem like he previously never learned the details of, say, climate change.). Right now, the way his first days as President-elect have gone, it seems like Donald Trump will not work for the people who voted for him or for “all Americans,” as he claims; it seems like he will work only for Donald Trump.
That’s why I named this mix No Mans Land. It is a really, really dumb way of saying that I don’t think Trump is going to be a good president.
These lights sparkle but they might hurt you
NOTE: Original cover image by Natasha Jen.
This past December we introduced you to Sean Leon. Since then, the Ajax, Ontario rapper has been kept busy with his newborn daughter, awesomely named Xylo, and the creation of his highly anticipated album Black Sheep Nirvana.
Today he dropped “81,” inspired by Kobe Bryant’s godly 81 point performance against the Toronto Raptors in 2006. The Eestbound-produced track is two minutes in the desert heat on the set of a Tarantino film. It sounds like summer in Las Vegas, featuring the same “ratchet brilliance” that first drew us to Leon.
I love the fact that he does not lose his sound when he works with other producers. This sounds like a Sean Leon joint through and through. It fits right into his body of work, and that, I believe, is the mark of a truly original artist and one of the most promising rappers in the Toronto area.
Stream Leon’s other recent loosie “This Ain’t 2012,” in which he says the hardest thing an independent rapper could probably ever say:
That’s why they sound like my sound, they really like my shit / It’s like I write they shit, I need the rights and shit.
Based on probability alone, most people are bad for you. The problem is my generation is so antisocial that they cling to any semblance of familiarity. Familiarity, oftentimes, is also bad for you. This mixtape documents that internal struggle between the comfort of familiarity and the drab of routine. I miss new feelings. In order to experience newness, you first have to acknowledge how damn easy it is to be sucked into unhealthy but familiar tendencies, and then you have to fight those urges. Progress comes from the fight for novelty.
On a different note, “Vic Mensa sang beautifully on a Kanye West song” is not a thought I ever imagined I’d have. But on “Wolves” Vic croons, “I’m just bad (bad, bad) for you,” and it’s the most affecting part of the song (along with the haunting sounds that follow his verse). This mixtape is in part an ode to the perfection of that song. It’s my attempt to channel the same energy of “Wolves” into an entire mixtape that doesn’t include the song itself.
And I was only trying to make it
*SoundCloud mix missing track 7 (“Home” by Heems), track 8 (“The Death, The Funeral” by Sean Leon), and track 19 (“Stay Down” by Big Sean) — so basically, download the entire thing below.
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.
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