pinknavel

Let The Club Meeting Commence: EPIC by Pink Navel

The emergence of the Twitch livestream as a vessel for creativity and ingenuity has given creatives unparalleled access to instant feedback and reaction from others—fans, trolls, and fellow creatives alike. Dev, aka Pink Navel, has championed this platform, using their Epic Club streams (as lovingly referred to by them and their audience) to game, take calls, make beats, and freestyle while receiving real time feedback and love from dedicated fans and mutuals. Continue reading Let The Club Meeting Commence: EPIC by Pink Navel

donda

Kanye West Plays Super-Coordinator On Donda, His Entertaining Christian Rap Jukebox

Donda is Kanye’s 10th solo studio album, arriving on Sunday (of course), August 29th, and running at a whopping 1 hour and 48 minutes, or the length of an average movie. The album confirms that God wasn’t merely a subject to temporarily explore through his music, but instead the nucleus that will define a whole era, and potentially the entire future, of Kanye West’s music. Named after his late mother, Donda will be remembered as much for its promotional packed-arena listening parties as it will for the music itself. Continue reading Kanye West Plays Super-Coordinator On Donda, His Entertaining Christian Rap Jukebox

It’s Been A Whole [LIMBO] Year: Aminé’s Limbo Turns One

One year after the release of his sophomore album Limbo, the Portland rapper’s adamant self-determinations—as well as his aptitude for blending flippant arrogance with visceral vulnerability—still captivate and shine as some of his best work to date. Limbo represents a crossroads in Aminé’s life: a state of uncertainty and experimentation he experiences while attempting to find his place in life and in music. Continue reading It’s Been A Whole [LIMBO] Year: Aminé’s Limbo Turns One

isaiah rashad

5 Thoughts on Isaiah Rashad’s New Album ‘The House Is Burning’

You could argue the peaks on THIB may not be as high as those on his other albums (Wat’s Wrong, Shot You Down), but as a holistic project, it’s Rashad’s best achievement yet. In what could be considered a risky move, he pivoted away from rapping and fully committed to utilizing his voice as a mood-setting melody-manipulating instrument. Thanks in part to a portfolio of smartly-curated production and a complementary guest list, the music on THIB is extremely cohesive without ever being dull. And yet, THIB’s greatest strength is its ability to replace Rashad’s vivid personal narratives with a more casual chilled-out aesthetic, while not sacrificing any of the intimacy. Continue reading 5 Thoughts on Isaiah Rashad’s New Album ‘The House Is Burning’

questlove

5 Takeaways from Questlove’s Summer of Soul Documentary

What 300,000 concert-goers got to experience in person 50 years ago, the world now gets to watch up close and personal. As the musical time capsule that is Summer of Soul shares its treasures, it evokes a strong sense of nostalgia for a foregone era, while not ignoring the significant cultural and political challenges of the period. Here are our 5 takeaways from the incredible documentary. Continue reading 5 Takeaways from Questlove’s Summer of Soul Documentary

Summer of Soul

REVIEW: Questlove’s Summer of Soul (…Or When The Revolution Could Not Be Televised)

Director Questlove’s Summer of Soul takes us into the heart of Harlem, New York, where the most prominent and iconic Black musicians performed over the course of a six-part concert series during the summer of 1969. The footage of those performances is so spectacular, and the film’s commentary so engaging, that viewers will never think about the summer of Woodstock without also remembering the mini revolution that took place downtown at Mount Morris Park in the city. A revolution not televised… until now.  Continue reading REVIEW: Questlove’s Summer of Soul (…Or When The Revolution Could Not Be Televised)

Kwajo Stay Up!

Dusk-lit Drives Across Deserted Highways: Stay Up! By Kwajo

There is a certain feeling that is inextricably linked to the idea of summer drives at dusk—a feeling of total presence in the moment and untamed, unabashed hope for what’s to come. Stay Up!, the latest single by DMV rapper Kwajo, gracefully captures that sentiment. Continue reading Dusk-lit Drives Across Deserted Highways: Stay Up! By Kwajo

GoldLink Doesn’t Try To Be Bigger Than His Music

With the heavily distorted and almost muffled vocals on HARAM! GoldLink’s raps don’t dominate his album’s sound like rappers’ raps usually do. Like on his previous albums, Diaspora in particular, GoldLink doesn’t feel the need to make it all about him. He wants to be a part of the music, he doesn’t want to be the music. Continue reading GoldLink Doesn’t Try To Be Bigger Than His Music

J. Cole Embraces the New Era of Hip Hop and Goes Back to Rapping for Sport On The Off-Season

Despite the open-minded new direction Cole takes, make no mistake: he shows zero mercy on The Off-Season. He hasn’t sounded this hungry since his mixtape days, when the young simba was rapping for sport, lyrically terrorizing other rappers and threatening anybody in his path, punchline by punchline. On his new album, he returns to his rap-first think-later instincts that defined his early mixtapes. Continue reading J. Cole Embraces the New Era of Hip Hop and Goes Back to Rapping for Sport On The Off-Season

Introducing Jay Jordan: The Young Producer Making Lo-fi Beats And Channeling Hip Hop Nostalgia

Hip hop producer Jay Jordan is taking it back to the basics, crafting nostalgia-infused beats that glitch and glide with soulful purpose. The amount of heritage, history, and legacy that is all consciously packed into Jordan’s work makes for a profound statement from an artist who’s just getting started. Continue reading Introducing Jay Jordan: The Young Producer Making Lo-fi Beats And Channeling Hip Hop Nostalgia

Kendrick Lamar’s ‘The Prayer’ is a Critique of How Society Values Art

Of the three songs leaked on September 5th, The Prayer is the closest to album-grade Kendrick in terms of sound mastering and depth of concept. In exploring the concept of dualism between art vs. artist on the track, Lamar questions why the legacy of an artistic creation must depend on the reputation of the artist’s personal character. Continue reading Kendrick Lamar’s ‘The Prayer’ is a Critique of How Society Values Art

Introducing JoeJas: The Free-spirited Hip Hop Artist Doing Everything Himself

On JoeJas’s Spotify bio, he explains how his music is inspired by his personal experiences being labeled weird and different. After listening to his music and checking out his various design projects, it becomes clear that being weird and different is an asset, not a hindrance, for the UK-based creative. Few artists embody today’s limitless do-it-yourself (DIY) spirit quite like utility man JoeJas, who has found a way to control the entire narrative, all from his own island.  Continue reading Introducing JoeJas: The Free-spirited Hip Hop Artist Doing Everything Himself

Presenting… Erykah Badu’s Quarantine Concert Series

With the future of in-person concerts paused for the foreseeable future, musicians and fans alike are hoping that virtual concerts and performances can temporarily fill the void. One of the musicians looking to make the most of the circumstances is neo-soul legend Erykah Badu. Joined by her live band, Badu has streamed 3 performances from Dallas in increasingly elaborate settings, featuring jam sessions, experimental dj remixes, and commentary on everything from the COVID-19 pandemic to asteroids flying towards earth. Continue reading Presenting… Erykah Badu’s Quarantine Concert Series

Introductions to the Dinner Party Roster

Terrace Martin, 9th Wonder, Robert Glasper, and Kamasi Washington have come together to form a new supergroup. They blessed the world with their 7-song debut album, called Dinner Party, this past Friday. In collective form, the group is musical royalty: an elite roster made up of musicians who continue to thrive at the creative forefronts of their respective genres. Continue reading Introductions to the Dinner Party Roster

The Gradually Increasing Significance of Kids See Ghosts

Creating one of the most innovative albums in a respective genre, as Cudi did with MOTM, comes with the burden of astronomical expectations and an elevated standard, which make it extremely challenging to follow up. With KSG, Cudi finds that elusive spark that made his albums from a decade earlier so visceral, evocative, and… alive. The key difference on KSG is that he’s shed his tendencies toward self-consciousness and insecurity, and replaced them with self-motivation and faith – culminating in his symbolic re-birth. Continue reading The Gradually Increasing Significance of Kids See Ghosts

REVIEW: Thundercat continues to invent his own brand of groovy and goofy soul

Thundercat is on a mission to build his own brand of funky neo soul music. On his new album, It Is What It Is, the talented bassist concocts another blend of avante garde jazz with funky bass lines and dopey humor. Thundercat throws the weirdness of an Adult Swim segment into the webs of contemporary jazz compositions to tell goofy love stories that bring his musical comics to life. Continue reading REVIEW: Thundercat continues to invent his own brand of groovy and goofy soul

REVIEW: Childish Gambino’s 3.15.20 is a sprawling example of anti-genre

   Childish Gambino does a little bit of everything on his best album yet: 3.15.20. By drawing clear influence from the likes of Frank Ocean, Prince, Kanye West, Toro y Moi, and Andre 3000, Gambino creates an eclectic and sprawling work that’s been a decade in the making. On 3.15.20, Donald Glover shifts the paradigm of what anti-genre entails in contemporary music – but his newest experiment doesn’t come without a catch. Continue reading REVIEW: Childish Gambino’s 3.15.20 is a sprawling example of anti-genre

In the Era of Unlimited Access to Music, Yasiin Bey’s Negus Exhibit is the Antithesis to Streaming Consumption

Yasiin Bey, formerly known as Mos Def, is re-imagining what it means for fans to experience music. His new album Negus is exclusively available during ticketed listening sessions taking place at the Brooklyn Museum. The listening sessions will run through January 2020, and the album component will not be released on streaming services or hard copy – not any time soon at least. Continue reading In the Era of Unlimited Access to Music, Yasiin Bey’s Negus Exhibit is the Antithesis to Streaming Consumption

REVIEW: Freddie Gibbs & Madlib – Bandana

For all the debates ablaze in the hip hop community, the unanimous appreciation for Freddie Gibbs and Madlib’s music is a true testament to its quality. The duo has released two albums together, Piñata (2014) and Bandana (2019), and are planning on a third installment to complete the trilogy. The rapper-producer team up combines Madlib’s pristine jazz-fusion, soul-sampling production with rapper Freddie Gibbs’s knack for storytelling that is hardcore yet full of streetwise sensibilities. The result is a sort of hip hop purism reminiscent of the early 90’s.  Continue reading REVIEW: Freddie Gibbs & Madlib – Bandana

REVIEW: Danny Brown – uknowhatimsayin¿

At no point during Danny Brown’s critically acclaimed Atrocity Exhibition could he reasonably ask: uknowwhatimsayin? That’s because, frankly, very few people (if any) could relate to the disturbing drug-filled and deranged sex-obsessed trip he shared via his last album. What might be reality for Danny Brown is merely vicarious fantasy for the vast majority of his listeners. Atrocity Exhibition was a cringeworthy wild ride that was simultaneously jarring and thrilling; it was like the musical equivalent of a haunted house. And that’s why people loved it.  Continue reading REVIEW: Danny Brown – uknowhatimsayin¿

ALBUM REVIEW: Chance the Rapper’s The Big Day is full of ecstasy, but lacks in consistency

Chance’s three mixtapes leading up to his debut album were impressive and impressionistic. Acid Rap introduced a trippy free spirited talent and Coloring Book found him refining his sound, and bringing gospel hip hop to the mainstream. With The Big Day, Chance further expands and experiments to make the ultimate musical toast to his newly wedded wife. While The Big Day’s toast finds beauty and bliss in alternative hip hop territories, it gets unpleasantly interrupted too frequently by bland and random moments. Continue reading ALBUM REVIEW: Chance the Rapper’s The Big Day is full of ecstasy, but lacks in consistency

The Artist’s Revolution: The Significance Behind Chance’s ‘The Big Day’ Release

Chance the Rapper’s hugely anticipated debut ‘owbum’, The Big Day, is coming out this Friday. His earlier projects 10 Day, Acid Rap, and Coloring Book were all mixtapes that were available for free online on sites like Soundcloud and DatPiff, technically making them different from official … Continue reading The Artist’s Revolution: The Significance Behind Chance’s ‘The Big Day’ Release