As times have changed and the genre of Hip-hop that continue to evolve, Chicago holds home to a variety of creatives that are very talented to each in their own right. With rappers like Chance The Rapper representing the city in such a great way, there are also many other artists making really great music right now that deserve more light. Continue reading “Chicago Rappers Of The New Age That Deserve More Appreciation”
Last night around midnight I was listening to, “The Brightside,” by Lil Peep when I came across a tweet that read, “RIP lil peep.” My initial thought was that Lil Peep had done something problematic and they were ironically saying, “RIP Lil Peep” as in, RIP his reputation. But then I refreshed my timeline and my feed was flooded with the news that Lil Peep had actually died.
It didn’t feel real to me. I was literally listening to his voice through my headphones when I found out that he had just lost his life.
For those who don’t know, Lil Peep (Gustav Åhr) was a SoundCloud rapper on the rise. He found a way to create an unique sound within his music by blending emo and hip-hop. Lil Peep had been recording in his bedroom from the skid row of Los Angeles – making something out of nothing – Lil Peep was one of the most promising and influential artists emerging from SoundCloud. In addition to rap, Lil Peep was also a fashion icon who had just begun making runway appearances. He was only 21. Only 21 years old and lost his life due to an overdose.
Ivan from Noteworthy here again (Mondays, 6PM-8PM) to break down another recent edition of the show. Since I cover a lot of genres, I try to make sure that each song flows well into the next one so that the switch from sound to sound doesn’t come as a shock to the system for the listener. Here’s another look at how I go about it.
Drake featuring Jorja Smith and Black Coffee- Get It Together
Amber Mark – Lose My Cool
Deee-Lite – Smile On
I started off the show talking about Drake not submitting More Life for Grammy consideration, which is why I went with “Get It Together” in the leadoff spot. There were a few other tracks I had in mind to follow it up with that had a similar ’90s house feel to it, but they were songs I’d played on the show before and I wanted to go with something newer. That brought me to including Amber Mark’s “Lose My Cool” to help me keep things contemporary while still adhering to a throwback sound.
Ryan Leslie – Diamond Girl
Aminé – Blinds
Kendrick Lamar – good kid
Joey Bada$$ featuring ScHoolboy Q – Rockabye Baby
For the past month or so, Aminé’s “Blinds” has been one of my most played tracks. I had a few special themed shows where I played 2007 songs and live recordings that delayed the inevitable, but I’m glad (and relieved) that it finally made it to air for this edition. Part of why I’m drawn to it so much is because the keyboards remind me a lot of early 2000s Neptunes, which I’m a huge mark for. I put it in between Ryan Leslie’s “Diamond Girl”, a song that’s always reminded of the Neptunes, and an actual Pharrell production by way of Kendrick Lamar’s “good kid.”
Leikeli47 – Braids Tuh’da Flo(w)
Erykah Badu – Turn Me Away (Get MuNNy)
Nai Palm – Crossfire/So Into You
Kehlani – Honey
Bobbie Gentry – Courtyard
I also debuted a new segment on Noteworthy called Flowers, which takes its inspiration from the phrase “give me my flowers while I’m still living.” It’s simply just another way of saying honor those that are still alive instead of waiting until they pass away. It’s a powerful sentiment that’s been following me around all this year and I naturally thought it would make a good segment. I knew that I wanted to put the spotlight on country music legend Bobbie Gentry, but I had to slow things down significantly in order to get there and make it feel natural. I had been struggling with this for a few weeks, but luckily, one of my current favorite songs, “Honey” by Kehlani, features a simple acoustic guitar, which fit perfectly before a segment focused on Gentry.
Has anyone else hit a brick wall that they’ve become stuck and uninterested in something you like to do?
I’ve hit writer’s block recently in writing raps/songs that it’s made me a little uninterested in writing, and it’s been hard to write about what I’ve wanted to write about, and it becomes more and more overwhelming in my head as time progresses. I usually write about a need for intimacy, my shyness, how life is going, and other things, but it’s been difficult to write and get out what I’ve been wanting to get out, because it’s about what you say and how you say it. I’ve made a playlist to help me try to get out of writer’s block, and get back into my groove of writing, whether it just be technical or writing full songs.
So in this playlist I’ve included mostly Hip-Hop songs with a few alternate rock and pop rock songs. I included some songs in this because they’ve helped me write before such as: “What’s Understood (ft. Joey Bada$$)” by Nyck Caution and “The Way I Am” by Eminem. Other songs, like “Illuminate (ft. Kendrick Lamar)” by Ab-Soul make me think about writing. Meanwhile songs, “Train Your Mind” and “State of Mind” by Dizzy Wright, “Enter the Void (ft. Ab-Soul)” by Joey Bada$$, and “YMF” by Ab-Soul make me think and overthink about what I want to say. Then there are songs like “Chum” by Earl Sweatshirt, “Hard Times” by Paramore, and “Slow Down” by Phora which I relate to personally as I go through problems and try to get through them. Lastly, there are songs about pushing forward such as, “Sing For The Moment” by Eminem. Many of the topics in these songs I’ve wrote about in some way, and can probably help me get through writer’s block and get me back in the moment. Maybe it can also probably help those out there struggling with writer’s block or if you’re stuck on a project.
Sweden has produced an abundance of talented individuals ranging from Tove Lo to Lykke Li to Avicii, and so on.
Considering my family originates from Sweden, I always take great pride in artists who share the same origins. The sense of connectedness makes me root for them that much more.
On October 21, I had the pleasure to see the indie-pop artist from Sweden, Léon, perform live at Chicago’s Lincoln Hall.
Arcade Fire was last spotted at this year’s Lollapalooza. They return to town on October 30th, but this time, they have come with only one other musical compatriot (The Breeders).
I don’t have much to say about the upcoming show; Arcade Fire is fantastic live, and I urge anyone who is either fans of Arcade Fire or fans of electronic indie rock to see the show next Monday.
You guys can grab tickets here.
Anyway, in preparation for the upcoming show, I wanted to list the Arcade Fire albums, from my personal opinion on worst to best.
5. Everything Now
I hate to jump on the bandwagon to place the most recent album last for any artist or band, but I think that in this case, Arcade Fire had somewhat of a hiccup with “Everything Now”. I still think that it is a solid album, but among the rest of Arcade Fire’s discography, it falls short. This album sounds the most synthetic and electronic in Arcade Fire’s productions. The most notable negative of the album is the fluff. The concept of infinity in the album seems to be lost due to a lot of weaker tracks that take away from the cynical message of the entire album. I noticed that the album seems to split itself up with the tracks Infinite Content (1) and Infinite Content (2). These tracks are much weaker than the rest, and the position of the songs in the middle of the album breaks up the smooth continuity that I think should have been present in this album. I do like the message of the album, that being that the world is constantly choking on its own abundance of resources, and that pain will continue infinitely with the cultures we force ourselves to have. My personal favorite track on the album is Electric Blue. It stands out among the rest, and Regine Chassagne’s vocals are very much welcomed.
4. Neon Bible
“Neon Bible” introduces somewhat of a similar theme to Everything Now, but on a much grander scale. Everything Now was more about American cynicism and pain, while Neon Bible is about much more: dangers of religion, the government, and personal dread. Basically all of Arcade Fire’s albums talk about pain, but Neon Bible tackles this issue in the biggest way. There are a lot of Bruce Springsteen and American themes in how this album presents itself. The album is lower on my list due to my personal dislike for the flow of the album; almost all of the tracks stand out, but they do not work well with each other. Each track seems to be performing their own thing, and with concept albums like this, I think that the spread of themes was a bit too wide with Neon Bible. My favorite track on this album owns its album’s namesake: Neon Bible.
“Reflektor” is Arcade Fire’s largest album. The full version is almost double the length of Neon Bible’s. On CD, it is split up on two separate CDs, which makes this a double album. The music themes align to Haitian style music, making this album arguably the most unique sounding. The themes discussed in this album deal with the same religion and death that all Arcade Fire albums deal with. This album is an easy listen and is not overburdening in its themes. However, I do think that the album drags on due to its great length. It is does not carry the world like Neon Bible, and is akin to a personal journey more than a global one. A strange parallel that I relate with this album is that it sounds like a dark version of Vampire Weekend’s Contra. My favorite track on this album is Supersymmetry. (I first heard Supersymmetry in a trailer for the movie “Her” by Spike Jonze; I highly recommend it)
Arcade Fire’s debut album “Funeral” already starts off with a somber tone in its title. The themes in this album may seem obvious, but I want to say that this album deals with death the least. I think that this album talks more about the celebration of someone’s life rather than their death. This album is the most conventionally rock, but it is very satisfying to listen to each and every track. The album is a much more digestible piece of music than “Reflektor”, clocking in at 48 minutes. One theme that it covers very surprisingly are hometowns; Funeral has a backstory of youth living in small towns around the world, from America to Russia to France. I believe that Funeral has the deepest story in all of Arcade Fire’s albums. I would say that this is Arcade Fire’s best album, but I still personally enjoy the following album more. My favorite track in this album is “Neighborhood #2 (Laika)”.
1. The Suburbs
I can listen to this album any day of the week. “The Suburbs” draws so many parallels to my own coming of age and it is such a fantastic album to listen to. The deaths of childhood are prevalent in the themes of The Suburbs. It talks about the evolution of technology, the blind happiness of childhood, and the irreversible fate and cynicism of adulthood. The Suburbs is the most conceptual album out of all of Arcade Fire’s, and while “Funeral” had the most in depth, The Suburbs follows how a child would grow up in an average American suburb, along with the trials and tribulations that accompany the coming of age. It is a pretty long album, clocking in at 62 minutes, but I love every second of it. It is very much conventional rock in a musical sense, and it I would say that this album is the most relatable out of all of them. Even if you didn’t grow up in a suburb, everyone eventually grows up or dies before they do. My favorite track in this album is “Suburban War”.
– Matt Cuartero
Am I the only person that stumbles upon a new band or an old band whether it be on YouTube, the radio, in a movie and becomes completely obsessed with it until it’s unhealthy?
Sometimes it’s not even the band overall, it could be just one of their albums, one of their songs or a couple. Either way, they become a part of my daily playlist for about a month, playing in the same order my mind thinks of them every day.
So, for the month of September and mid way through October it has basically been these songs on repeat, EVERY DAY.
I apologize in advance to anyone disappointed by this news, but: I have never listened to Pink Floyd in depth.
My influences growing up were either spanish music, rap or Slipknot. Although limited, once I got into early 2000’s pop punk that’s all I ever listened to, that’s all the music that mattered. Besides bands like the Ramones, Nirvana, AC/DC and the Beatles, I didn’t have too much knowledge about older bands. However about a month or two ago, I listened to The Wall (1979) in depth for the first time. It takes a lot for me to shut up for an hour, sit down and listen to not only the music but the lyrics. It’s hard for me to do this with a band I’m not too familiar with, but two of the Pink Floyd songs I added to the playlist were what reeled me in. The album, although too long for my impatient self, told a story with not only the lyrics but the instruments.
This awesome band is currently on a U.S. tour, they’re set to play Chicago next month at Lincoln Hall AND they’re in the process of recording album #3!!!
Fidlar and the Frights have a different sound and delivery, BUT if you like one, you have to like the other. Zac Carper, lead singer of Fidlar, produced the Frights’ second album You Are Going To Hate This (2015). Like the title predicted some of their fans DID hate it. It has less of a rough sound than their first album, but personally the second album seems more mature (sound, instruments working together wise) although some of their lyrics haven’t matured like in the song “Kids”, the chorus is literally “I hate my mom and dad” awks.
We all should know by now that award shows are absolute garbage. Something that should be held to recognize achievements and events within the music industry as a whole, ends up only going to the top precenters and completely disregards underground and/or independent artists. And not to mention, a large amount of the people behind the scenes of these shows are either racist or sexist. Or both.
Frank Ocean showed his disapproval of award shows when he chose to abstain from the 2017 Grammy Award Show. Ocean said, “I think the infrastructure of the awarding system and the nomination system and screening system is dated. I’d rather this be my Colin Kaepernick moment for the Grammys than sit there in the audience.”
And I completely agree with his statement and the action he chose to make.
But even though I already know that award shows are a joke, I still couldn’t help but to be irked when the American Music Awards revealed their nominations today and presented a disappointing amount of female nominees.
Not a single female artist was nominated for the following categories:
- Artist of the Year
- Collab of the Year
- Best Duo / Group
- Best Pop Album
- Tour of the Year
- Video of the Year
There are so many incredible female artists, in the mainstream and underground music scene, who have been delivering an abundance of talent this year, but are going unrecognized. The lack of appreciation for these ladies in the simplest term is: frustrating.
Confident women expressing themselves is empowering and is something we need to pay more attention to.
With that being said, here are some female musicians I think everyone should check and support, because they truly deserve it:
Blogging season is back and I have album reviews and musical opinions ready to go, but to kick things off, here is a little summary of how my life has been going since my last post:
This week I’ve cried to ‘Supercut’ by Lorde approximately 68 times. I’ve drafted up several different blog posts, re-read them, and then deleted them out of fear of sounding mindless and shallow. I’ve had zero will to do the things I’m supposed to be doing, and instead have been hoarding bottles of Smirnoff in my room.
This past week I’ve embarrassed myself on at least 16 different occasions, one of them being right in front of Nick Jonas. I am going to snap my neck if one more person comments on how “edgy” my new haircut looks. I despise the word, “edgy” with a passion and being, “edgy” was not what drove me to cut off 12 inches of my hair, but in fact was just the aftermath of a full-blown Britney Spears styled mental breakdown, which I am still having. Evidently.
I out of impulse booked an appointment to get another tattoo (which I really can’t afford). I also booked plane tickets to go back to California (which I also, really can’t afford).
Ever since I went to California this summer, I’ve been extremely frustrated every morning when I wake up and realize that I am no longer in California. I whole heartily believe that is where I should be, and not in the Midwest, causing me to have even more of an existential crisis.
I’m on the verge of dropping every single one of my classes, I busted my iPhone, and I finished watching every season of “It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia,” on Netflix and now I don’t know what to do.
And that’s been a brief summary of my life since my last blog post.
Though I sound like a total pessimist, I promise I am not. I’m living in a “glass is half empty, half full” kind of world right now, and while part of my life is going great (I truly do have a lot to be thankful for), and the other half is going not so great, I am trying my hardest to see the “half full” side.
With that being said, however, today is just not a “half full” kind of day, so here’s a playlist I put together to soundtrack this weird funk I’m in.
This year on my blog, I’m sticking to my theme of music news and reviews, with a political piece here and there, and in addition to that, I am also going to push myself to write a personal storytime piece every other week, so stay tuned!
If you want to keep up with with my saucy life, follow me here:
This is Blahsmopolitan, a weekly column about one sophomore’s misfortune as he navigates his New Adult Life in Chicago. New stories are posted every other Monday, alongside a curated Blahsmo playlist, and an audio reading, to take the journey yourself. This week, our columnist meets the four Fates of U of I, crosses paths with a probable murderer, and goes skinny dipping in hopes you can learn from his mistakes.
I hear people tiptoeing around me. Floorboards make little creaks and doors are opened and closed ever so gingerly. All talk is kept to a hushed murmuring. Am I still wearing my boots?
“Ohmigoddddd, how are we gonna fit the Omega through the dooooooor?”
“I don’t know, Sylvie. I just don’t wanna chip it. The girls were up so late painting it last night.”
God is doing the Hoedown Throwdown on my skull and has injected fire ants into my temples.