Lupe’s a genius storyteller, guys. I mean, we all knew that. But I’m still amazed at not one, but two tracks across Drogas Waves that reimagine the lives of newborns taken too soon and too tragically.
Speaking of Genius, after the first couple of listens on your own, you’ll want to follow along, song-by-song and pick up references like this one (via our own @hetalbot). Lupe continues to reference Canada in Alan’s reimagined story because his family wanted asylum in Canada. And the more references like that you catch, the more we see that next-level where only Lupe resides.
“Jonylah Forever”, after Jonylah Watkins, a 6-month old baby tragically succumbing to crossfire gunshots, was originally released shortly after her death in 2013.
The one reference I didn’t catch until five years later was the Jimmy Neutron/neutron term for not being gang affiliated in Chicago.
Sadly, “Jonylah” has even more of a somber tone and now I have the feels all over again. There’s much more I want to write about the album as I, still a week later, want to continue to digest. Until then, sit back, and listen to these back to back (and out of order). Maybe the connection will be even clearer…
September is full of hot new albums and one not to overlook, especially for a different vibe, is ZHU’s Ringo’s Desert.
It’s not as totally upbeat as ZHU’s early releases, but it still has some of those elements off the top. Great riding music.
A couple of cuts I’ve found myself going back to all month: “Ghost In My Bed” and “Waters of Monaco”. Both kind of take a little bit to get going but once they do… (or after a couple listens at least…)
Review: Branding as icons in front of iconic pieces at the Louvre like the Mona Lisa, Nike von Samothrake, and the Great Sphinx of Tanis.
…But what are they actually saying in this song?? The visuals are really artsy, set design is on point, and I appreciate that they are creating beautiful imagery at Louvre. I even enjoy the beat, their delivery, and subtle harmonies throughout.
But again what is this song about?! Thankful about making it? How do these lyrics represent that “Everything Is Love”? Expensive habits, ice ornaments, 35 chains, (glorifying capitalism, consumerism, fake shit) Smoke gorilla glue like it’s fucking legal (sniffing glue.. what?), Banana clips for that monkey business (promoting violence), Sippin’ my favorite alcohol (Alcohol ruins lives) Got me so lit I need Tylenol (prescription pills destroy mental health), they wishing they equal (being better than other people) I don’t give a damn ’bout the fame (ya you do) -> Hang one night with Yoncé, I’ll make you famous.
I know Beyonce and Jay Z are intelligent people, and are at heart positive and promote positive things, but this is something fake. They know how the law of attraction works, they know what they are doing. This song is a good example of how a very well packaged mask of positivity is used to promote negativity. Everything about the branding of this video looks positive, everything except the lyrics… what they are saying in this song is by definition not positive.. it’s ego glorification. It’s what is popular, will hype people’s egos up, make The Carters more money, and promote the same negative bullshit that is actually destroying people’s lives. I know people that pretend to be positive just to glorify their ego to make others think they are such amazing people, when in fact they don’t actually care about any of it. They only care about glorifying themselves in any way possible. #cloutchasers
The album is called ‘Everything Is Love’ — then why are they lyrically promoting hate? They are branding with icons at the Louvre, but their lyrics are not iconic. Words become things. Words feed the subconscious mind to create a reality that reflects those words. These are the two most popular artists in Hip Hop setting an example that is lyrically saying to make it you have to negatively glorify your ego with a positive facade at the forefront. I’m not buying it like the brainwashed crowds. I can see through it.
That is not my idea of making it. I believe making it is world peace and abundance for all. Unity consciousness. Love consciousness. Equality in diversity. Redistribution of wealth. Mindfulness. Taking care of our planet and everything on it. Healthy habits of body, mind, and spirit. Not this fake shit.
Again.. I know Beyonce and Jay Z are spiritual and positively oriented, so I believe they are doing this to sort of fit in with the current culture… but if they are really about that Ascension life… then they need to take a closer look in the mirror and transform the remaining negatively that causes them to promote negativity in the guise of positivity. We really need good people to stand up and go against the grain of what’s “normal”. Peace and love to all, an honest critique.
Hey folks! It’s 5ABIO here with a quick recap of day two for Lollapalooza. This is more of a blog type post than it is a write up going in full detail about artists. There was so much that I could do with the time I had so I tried to do as much as I could to see as many artists as possible with the time give.
I was at Lolla for Day 2 specifically for Hip-Hop because this day was full of different Hip-Hop artists and had the most to showcase from the three day lineup. I was also able to see other acts from different genres but I went with the intention of seeing as many Hip-Hop artists as I could.
Just for a little further clarification, I was there from 11:30am-10pm so there was much ground to cover. There were also some time conflicts so I was only able to see some artists for about half their set and others for their entire set.
Mick Jenkins 11:45AM [Full Set]
The day started with Mick Jenkins, the lyrical savant from Chicago’s Hip-Hop scene that has amassed nationwide attention as a result of his conscious raps that take a stance against social injustice as well as unrest over the wrongful murders of black youth and black lives. Needless to say, Mick Jenkins was one of the reasons why I decided to come to Lolla because I have been able to see his growth from Trees & Truths to the recent Water[s] and Waves project.
[Vid credit Pursuit of Dopeness]
It was really remarkable to witness his set over the years. The first Mick show I attended was two years ago at Township in Logan Square where he rocked a crowd of 50 people. Years later Mick easily PACKED a crowd of thousands as he had the Pepsi stage over capacity all clinging to every word and knowledge he spoke to his fans.
The highlight of his set was the new music as Mick played three joints off the forthcoming Waves project he is set to release recently.
Raury 12:50pm [Full Set]
[Video credit: Pursuit of Dopeness]
I’m pretty new to Raury. The recent XXL Freshmen and Atlanta, GA native has been captivating crowds because he’s not the norm when t comes to the Atlanta Hip-Hop scene. Up to the point of this performance I had only heard two songs from this promising artists and at first didn’t know what to think of it over than ‘this is different’. That uniqueness has led me to further appreciate Raury after his set. The kid is special. He reminds me of a mix between Outkast and Frank Ocean cause the kid can sing and his production is different, it’s folk, it’s pop, it’s music that should be appreciated for what it is and his live performance turned heads. It definitely made a fan out of me.
//platform.twitter.com/widgets.jsGOOD MUSIC signee Travi$ Scott is another artists that I was not too familiar with. I had never heard any of his projects but had been exposed to him on features he was on. He was one of the artists I wanted to see the most because of the fact that he was under Kanye’s brand and is highly considered to be the future of Houston’s Hip-Hop scene. For those that were not in attendance, ‘the Rodeo’ was shut down real quick.
[S/O Pursuit of Dopeness]
This performance was a bit of a disappointment. For the set being expected to be an hour it started with 30mins of DJing which brings down Travi$’ performance to at least a half hour, right? WRONG. Travi$ performance lasted about 5-10minutes before folks in the crowd started creating rampage. It didn’t help that Travi$ pretty much incited a riot and prompting folks to hop on stage with him. This led to a lot of ‘fuckboys’ hopping on stage, security starting to flex people, and eventually the set canceled within 10mins to Travi$ performance. It was a huge letdown for a lot of people that really wanted to see his performance which was packed with his esteemed ‘Rangers’.
Death From Above 1979 is a band I had been put on when I was in high school by my best friend so I looked forward to seeing them live. I spazzed out as they performed as well as I was able to hear my favorite “You’re A Woman, I’m A Machine” in the 30mins I had before running off to see the next performance.
//platform.twitter.com/widgets.jsI only know Toro y Moi cause Treated Crew/Legion of Dudez showyousuck made a mixtape rapping over their songs so I had to check it out. It had the ShowYouSuck stamp of approval and I definitely did dig the 30mins of the performance I saw. It’s not what I would usually listen to but it was interesting live.
For those not too familiar with Tyler, The Creator- he is one crazy dude! The substance matter in his lyrics reminds us how wicked and weird we are individually, which is why folks gravitate towards his music. I had only seen videos of him live so I had an expectation of what his set would be. I’ve been following his Bastard project so I expected a wild yet fun performance which is what we got at Lollapalooza as the Golf Wang/ODD Future emcee delivered his fan favorites as well as new joints off his recently released Cherry Bomb project.
Cudder was the highlight of Lolla. From beginning to end his performance was high energy as he continuously interacted with his crowd that was packed. Cudi not only delivered some of his most celebrated material but as well as delivered a new acoustic joint as he showcased what is in store from his forthcoming project. It was a real dope set from beginning to end and definitely one of the highlights of Lolla.
With a two hour set I had to make sure I saw the legendary Metallica. I’m a Hip-Hop head to the core but I know when to give respect where it’s due so seeing this legendary band was my biggest priority. As someone that is not that too familiar with the legendary band, Metallica was not only welcoming to new listeners but played a wide array of classic and newer material to welcome any listener that wanted to give them their time and an ear to play to. This is a once in a generation type band playing for the first time at Lollapalooza which became a once in a lifetime event in my first ever Lollapalooza.
G Eazy 9pm [Half Set]
The last on the list for me to see was G Eazy. He’s another artists that I wasn’t too familiar with but was definitely digging from the few joints I was able to hear as well as the few live television performances I had seen him on previously before seeing him live. The Bay Area emcee not only introduced me more to tracks I hadn’t heard before but as well as payed respect to the city that lay the groundwork for his sound as he embraced his listeners in Chicago and welcomed him to witness more of his roots and influences. Also, one of the cool highlights was G Eazy embracing the greatness behind the Chicago Hip-Hop scene and bringing out Vic Mensa to perform his hit “U MAD”.
Overall, Lollapalooza for me was a real cool experience. I was able to see once in a lifetime performances by some of the best doing it today and it has definitely gotten me thinking of continuing to attend for many years to come.
Since Wavefront folded a couple years ago, I’ve been itching for another event to be held on the city’s greatest asset – the waterfront. Cue Mamby on the Beach, Chicago’s newest music festival, which hit Chicago’s South Shore over the weekend. Water was centrally located and easy to find, police on site were friendly and helpful, and the people at Mamby were laid back and friendly – a refreshing change from the reckless neon kids of similar events.
Empire of the Sun and Passion Pit headlined the fest, but it was The ‘Go’s own Holt who stole the show. When he took the stage there couldn’t have been more than 100 people there. But the law of attraction would prove strong for the G.O.O.D. MUSIC signee, as Holt brought something to Mamby no one else would – real trap music. It was a much needed change of pace from the dominantly electronic lineup, a breath of fresh air for hip hop heads like myself. Fellow Treated Crew leaders Mano and Mic Terror kept the energy up as people flocked to the stage, and when it was all said and done an intimate crowd had become a high octane mob.
With Chicago’s skyline glistening across the lake and forgiving sand beneath your feet, Oakwood Beach served as an ideal location for the festival. I’m proud to live in a city accommodating a growing taste for live music and peaceful gatherings, and stoked to see Mamby on the Beach possibly become a staple of what we like to call Summertime Chi.
After watching the show it was clear that Mike Posner is in the midst of a personal transformation both internally and musically — One that you can date back from before he even started making music.
He openly talked about struggling with depression throughout his life, and revealed that “Save Your Goodbye” off the first album was about depression, and not a girl like most thought. He explains that even after making it as an artist, having his songs on the radio, and making lots of money — there were still feelings of un-fulfillment left lurking within him. Therefore save your goodbye to depression, because something from the unconscious keeps bringing it back.
Mike Posner “Save Your Goodbye”
Mike’s early career had a strong focus on making it as an artist, and his early songs channeled a more dorm room college party vibe. There was a clear vision of ‘I can make my dreams a reality’, especially after his Detroit homie Big Sean got signed to G.O.O.D. Music.
Before he started singing as late as age 20, there were plenty of obstacles Mike had to overcome until solidifying the conviction within himself that he can achieve his dreams. In this interview Mike talks about how no one believed in him, no one wanted to buy his beats, and all doors he actively sought to open were closed in his face. This kind of external rejection can stop you dead in your tracks, unless your inner vision is strong enough to keep the dream alive.
Mike Posner “Started From The Bottom” (Remix) ft. Asher Roth, T Mills, Chuck Inglish, King Chip
So with no one to depend on but himself, he started from the bottom and overcame the challenges that took him to the top — by creating out of love. He was in a creative G Spot while making that music in college, because he was doing it out of the love of self expression. There was no where to go but up, and there was no pressure to make a certain kind of music. He was making music that sounded good to him, over his own beats that no one wanted. He had nothing to lose, no one to help him, and a clear creative focus on achieving his dreams a.k.a. turning the pages from his notebook into real life.
But after achieving all his dreams, and now living them — it seemed that the depression he saved his goodbye for had come back. ’31 Minutes To Takeoff’ definitely had that vibe where Mike was working through new inhibitions that his unconscious was ready to confront him with. Now that there were no more burning accomplishments left to drive him, it was much easier to see what was left to be transformed within. Mike is already such a positive ray of sunshine that it may not seem like he has any demons, but if your happiness is dependent on your goals, your accomplishments, and your material possessions — then what are you going to do if all that is taken away or forgotten? Where will your happiness and stability come from?
These are the new types of challenges Mike seemed to be facing in order to reinvent himself as the more authentic Self he was discovering himself to be. He was no longer college Mike trying to make it big, and at the same time not totally sure what he was becoming nor where to take it. His debut album seemed to express some of these feelings, and was part of the process of his reinvention into the artist I believe we will see on his upcoming sophomore album ‘Pages’ – due this Fall of 2014.
After watching the Unplugged Tour at Schubas Tavern in Chicago, and hearing a few of the potential new records from ‘Pages’, I feel that Mike has begun to answer that question of where his inner stability and happiness comes from, with the record “My Light”.
Mike Posner “My Light”
“My Light” talks about happiness coming from within yourself, and not anything outside of you. I believe that we give meaning to our circumstances, and it’s through the meaning we give that’ll determine the outcome we’ll get back. Stability comes from knowing that the power is always in your hands — even if the circumstances look very negative, you always have the power to give them a positive meaning. That way you can always be at peace inside yourself regardless of what is happening in your outer world. That is the power of you, your light, and my light!
‘Pages’ is exciting to me because it will echo many of Mike’s newly discovered truths from his life’s notebook, and share them with the world in an unfiltered and poetic kind of way expressing his reinvented self.
Some themes that I’ve noticed at the show of this newly defined self I speak of is: a stronger desire to help others, gratitude for all of life’s experiences, an honest look at his own fears, and most importantly his inspirational motto of Love, Relate, and Inspire.
To further elaborate, Mike has teamed up with the Food Bank for New York City, and vowed to donate a meal to a child in need for every album sold. He wants his music to help people not only feed their souls, but their stomachs as well.
Throughout the tour he talks about how grateful he is to each individual city and his fans there, even writing a personal letter expressing that gratitude on twitter. During the unplugged set, he also talked about gratitude for his family, his friends, and even his challenging disbelievers.
There was even an elegant 3-verse spoken word poem called “Gratitude” that he performed dedicated to his teacher Mr. Z for telling him he ain’t shit, to his Uncle Fred who believed in him, and to his Dad who inspired him. He said he was grateful for every experience that shaped him to be the person he is today.
Mike Posner “Gratitude Poem for Mom”
And while being grateful, he also performed songs that revealed some of his own fears that he’s still working on overcoming and letting go like in the records “Sad Songs” and “It’s Not That Simple” below.
Mike Posner “Sad Songs”
Mike Posner “It’s Not That Simple”
But throughout the whole performance he most highlighted his new motto, and most likely the motto for this new album and reinvented self: Love, Relate, Inspire. That was the general theme of the night, which was emphasized by his incredible talent to perform with dynamic vocal ranges, comedic commentary with the audience, real ass moments of truth, and a hype party sendoff to close the night.
So in the end Mike may not have everything all figured out, but being a longtime fan since the beginning of his music career, I know I’m excited to see how he’ll end up expressing and reinventing himself next on the upcoming album ‘Pages’ and beyond!
Mike himself said it best that night though “I still haven’t found where I belong, but I can write one hell of a song!”