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“Flower Boy” Should Have Won Best Rap Album

Allow me to begin with the obvious: I have nothing but love for K. Dot and I cannot think of…

Allow me to begin with the obvious: I have nothing but love for K. Dot and I cannot think of anyone in mainstream hip-hop who deserves more respect than he does. Overly Dedicated and Section.80 are criminally underrated projects. good kid, M.A.A.D. city is a triumphant work of conceptual art. I do not think it is out of line to declare To Pimp A Butterfly one of the top 20 albums of the last decade. Most recently, DAMN. earned Kendrick Grammy nods for, among other categories, Best Rap Album and Album of the Year. He won the former and, in a sad yet unsurprising turn of events, Bruno Mars took home the latter.

Now, to be clear, I love DAMN. I think it includes some of Kendrick’s most brilliant material to date: “DNA.,” “ELEMENT.,” “FEEL.,” “FEAR.,” “DUCKWORTH.,” and the first two and a half minutes of “XXX.” (I hit skip as soon as I hear Bono’s voice). Unfortunately, I think it also includes some of Kendrick’s weakest material to date, namely “LOYALTY.” featuring Rihanna and “LOVE.” featuring Zacari. Alternatively, the album that I think should have earned the honor of Best Rap Album, Tyler, the Creator’s Flower Boy, is just about flawless.

The hype for the Odd Future founder’s fifth full-length project began when he dropped arguably his two best singles to date: “Who Dat Boy” featuring A$AP Rocky and “911/Mr. Lonely” featuring Frank Ocean and Steve Lacy. The former is an outlandish banger anchored by a cinematic string section and Tyler’s incredible charisma. The second track rides a funky, soulful instrumental and showcases a vulnerable Tyler as he addresses the extreme loneliness with which he has struggled since achieving superstar fame. From an instrumental perspective, the third Flower Boy single, “Boredom,” is Tyler’s masterpiece. The chugging drums, melancholy keys, and blissful violins that conclude the track put Tyler’s genius on full display. The fourth and final hype track, “I Ain’t Got Time,” is a hand-clapped, throttling solo effort which reminds the listener that Tyler truly operates in his own lane.

 

As much as I love these four singles, the remainder of Flower Boy is far from filler. The opening track, “Foreword,” sets the tone for the album with some of the strongest bars Tyler has dropped in his career: “How many cars can I buy until I run out of drive? / How much drive can I have until I run out of road? / How much road can they pave until I run out of land? / How much land can it be until I run in the ocean?” With guest vocals from Kali Uchis, “See You Again” is a masterfully layered track which features gorgeous harmonies and one of the best rap flows in Tyler’s catalogue. Perhaps the most discussed song in the tracklist, “Garden Shed” is a delicate, confessional ballad on which Tyler solemnly addresses his deepest insecurities.

I could go on and on about all fourteen tracks on Flower Boy, but I think you get the point. It is a revealing and sonically diverse exploration of fame, depression, and identity that demonstrates Tyler, the Creator’s immense talents as a rapper, songwriter, and producer. It is a landmark in both a career and a life, and it is better than DAMN.

I am an economics student at The University of Massachusetts Amherst. Beyond my studies, I work as a DJ at the university radio station: 91.1 FM WMUA Amherst. Back in July, a good friend of mine launched a political debate website called The Dialectic, where I currently work as a staff writer and the Editor-In-Chief. I love all genres of music - everything from hip-hop to post-rock to hardcore punk. Aspiring writer. Avid reader. Coffee addict.
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Future Honors His Grandmother At FreeWishes Golden Wishes Gala

Over the weekend, multi-platinum recording artist and Atlanta-native Future paid respect to a very important piece of life, Family. At…

Over the weekend, multi-platinum recording artist and Atlanta-native Future paid respect to a very important piece of life, Family. At his FreeWishes Foundation hosted 8th annual Golden Wishes Gala honoring Metro Atlanta Seniors. More than 750 seniors dressed in their finest attire attended the annual Gala.

Seniors danced the night away to live jazz music provided by the Douglas Whatley Jr. Band and hits spun by DJ Bluue. The seniors enjoyed a luscious Thanksgiving styled dinner in the spectacular setting of the Ocean’s Ballroom. Seniors learned about Future’s FreeWishes foundation, their ongoing community events, and ways to be involved.

Guest speaker, Fulton County Commissioner Natalie Hall, spoke about the “future” she envisioned for Atlanta seniors. Future and his mother, FreeWishes Foundation co-founder, Stephanie Jester, presented a surprise community service award to Emma Jean Boyd, Future’s grandmother.

A final performance by the legendary Jazz and R&B vocalist, Jean Carne, wrapped up the warm and positive evening. Along with Freebandz, the event was sponsored by Jet One Charter, Anthem Blue Cross Blue Shield, Aetna, Luxury Connections, Zaxby’s, Chick-Fil-A, JenCare and InTouch Properties.

Watch the recap now on YouTube.

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Track Seven Band Makes A Strong Reintroduction With “Memory Loss” Single

Today’s game is truly a never-ending cycle of here today and gone tomorrow. For Track Seven Band, haven’t released a…

Today’s game is truly a never-ending cycle of here today and gone tomorrow. For Track Seven Band, haven’t released a project since 2016’s The Try And The Fail, the uphill battle it seems is reigniting the flame within casual fans who may have moved on to the next one. It’s this overarching idea that guides Cost’s pen for their brand new single “Memory Loss.”

RELATED: #IndieSpotlight: Track Seven Band – The Try And The Fail

There is a lot to unpack with this single. Top-level, there is this flagrant (metaphorical) slap across the head — as though he’s screaming, “I’m still here, stupid.” Below the surface, Cost takes the opportunity to reiterate his position, introduces rumor inducing storylines, and takes a look back at his past.

In the first verse, he drops mention of having traveled around the world on the dime of a figure whom he chooses to keep anonymous; as he explains, this person gave him the motivation he needed to jumpstart his career, but has since “turned faces.” It’s in this act — he further notes that haters induce the same phenomenon — that he seems to have found the strength to thrive.

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The second verse begins by reiterating where he’s come from — noting that section 8 and financial aid were his life preservers in his darkest moments. He also notes that he’s still in debt (half of which he paid off with the money he made selling weed). All this isn’t done to glorify anything, but rather serve as motivation. It also hammers home the fact that he has been there and done that, too.

Perhaps in a way, he’s exuding the same motivation that he felt traveling the world.

Playing chess as opposed to checkers is a line that poignantly pops out. “Memory Loss” is a strong (re)introduction or merely business as usual — depending on your knowledge of the band. Either way, it’s drenched in that endearing sense of honesty and realness that made them a group I’ve returned to numerous times since first being introduced to their music.

It’s all about the long game, and — in the end — good music. Cost notes that he’s motivated by things that money can’t buy. That, quite often, is code for having something to lose on a deeper level. It’s in seeing an artist stick to their figurative guns without bending their ethics that true inspiration can be felt.

If you haven’t explored the past releases, do so … immediately.

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Akhil Sesh – “Amazing”

Akhil Sesh is back to debut a brand-new visual in the form of “Amazing.” It’s a slick record on which…

Akhil Sesh is back to debut a brand-new visual in the form of “Amazing.” It’s a slick record on which Akhil glides across the uptempo, percussion-driven production, displaying his knack for melodies and songwriting, as his lyrics come to life across the rooftops of the city, all adding up to one “Amazing” song and video.

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Jazz Regal – “Lifetime”

Jazz Regal is likely a new name to your radar, but he’ll surely catch your attention with his newest effort…

Jazz Regal - "Lifetime"

Jazz Regal is likely a new name to your radar, but he’ll surely catch your attention with his newest effort Lifetime. It’s a short but sweet project on which Jazz’s gritty tone and vocals lead the way for his hard-hitting, reflective rhymes, adding up for a well-crafted listen from start to finish. Give it a spin here, and look out for more from him soon!

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Sonny Digital Drops Off Two New Tracks: “Keep It Real” and “Love My Plug”

Sonny drops “Keep It Real” and “Love My Plug” featuring recurrent collaborator Black Boe.

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