#IndieSpotlight, Main, Reviews

#IndieSpotlight: Snypes Releases Debut Mixtape

Today an impressive album came across my desk, courtesy of Snypes. Coming out of South Florida, his first official release…

Today an impressive album came across my desk, courtesy of Snypes. Coming out of South Florida, his first official release Rookie Debut is a collection of songs with a ton of personality; there’s a little of everything here, which creates a healthy balanced listen and builds a solid first impression.

Over the ten tracks, which includes an unnecessary “Panda” remix, traverses topics that range from working hard to achieve his dreams, traversing the dangers of his environment, dealing with a bunky—seemingly overbearing—relationship. Most notably he faces down the important topic of police violence in the first single off of the project, “Terrance Tamir Bland.” On the aforementioned record, he takes two perspectives, a witness speaking from a place of outrage and a victim speaking directly to the shooter.

Other standout records are “Melisa,” a record that takes a hindsight perspective on a lost relationship, and the piano-driven “Don’t Play” that has a ton of potential. The super smooth “Elevator Music” is a crown jewel, though. The syrupy-southern sound bed gives a perfect lens to use his ultra-descriptive style to drop a stack of introspective bars like, “you don’t make it where I’m from with bad intentions.”

Snypes had a rough upbringing, and the music was his coping mechanism; this project is a fantastic introduction to what he’s all about. He’s being slept on—if you’re reading this, wake up!

Riley here — father, artist, videographer, professional writer and SERIOUS hip-hop head. I'm a member of the Universal Zulu Nation, and I think everything is better on vinyl. Add me on Twitter! @specialdesigns
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2nd Annual Milk and Cookies Music + Food Festival Re-Cap

This past weekend was definitely one for the books! The highly anticipated 2nd Annual Milk and Cookies Music + Food…

This past weekend was definitely one for the books! The highly anticipated 2nd Annual Milk and Cookies Music + Food Festival kicked off on April 7th at 787 Windsor in Atlanta. The event highlighted well-known locals along with some big names from the music industry. There were also tasty food and dessert trucks that served ticket holders all evening long.

The event started with ATL native, Dj Decoteau of Bae Worldwide; following Tim Gunter who both ripped the turntables as the venue began to fill up. Later, Summer Walker, the first female artist of LVRN, took to the stage to perform for her very first time. Energetic local talent Bosco, came out jumping as the crowd went wild. After her epic performance, I was able to steal a quick question from her. I asked how she’s feeling at this point in her music career. Bosco stated she’s feeling super inspired and excited for her career. She also talked to me about who in the music game influences her. It wasn’t a surprise when she dropped names such as Erykah Badu and Lauren Hill and of course loves her indie artists.

Sahbabii followed, tearing the stage down with their mega hit “Pull Up With Ah Stick” and “Purple Ape.” Their hype man brought out a life-size blunt that filled the sky with a purple haze that surely set the tone for the rest of the evening. When ATL native Xavier Omar hit the stage next, he started with a rendition of the infamous “Pokémon Go” track. He then brought out some major R&B vibes when he performed his hit “Blind Man” and his band was definitely one of a kind.

Around 7pm, the sun disappeared and chilling temperatures and rainfalls came as a surprise. However, none of that stopped the amazing Singer, Songwriter Alina Baraz when it was her time to shine. Her album The Color of You that debut just one day prior to the Milk and Cookies Music Festival was in perfect timing. She performed two songs from her album and some good throwbacks.

“I want my fans to know I love and thank them very much for all the support they have shown.”
—Alina Baraz

Hours before she took the stage, she held a private meet and greet with her fans that were in VIP. Right before her team shuffled her back to her trailer, I was able to grab a quick interview. I was curious where her inspiration came from for her new album; Baraz mentioned how she didn’t necessarily have a plan for the album, stating she would go into the studio and let her vibes do the writing. Her album is based off things that have happened from her past. I asked Baraz what is one thing she wants her fans to know; she said “I want my fans to know I love and thank them very much for all the support they have shown.”

The last to perform was none other than Tory Lanez. After just playing one song, his humble spirit wouldn’t allow him to continue performing on stage while the crowd stood in the rain. Lanez continued his set while jumping into the hands of his screaming fans and standing on speakers. He shut the stage down with songs from his 2nd album Memories Don’t Die which released March 2nd. He also reminisced with the crowd while performing hits “Luv” and “Say It.”

To go along with the great music vibes, there were mouth-watering treats and culture filled food trucks. The menus consisted of everything from funnel cakes and hibachi grills on wheels, to curry chicken and of course cookies and ice cream. There were also local graffiti artists in attendance that added their touch to the former steam-boiler manufacturing facility turned industrial art space which is now called 787 Windsor.

It’s safe to say that the 2nd Annual Milk and Cookies Music + Food Festival was a total hit! Despite the weather, everyone, including the artist truly enjoyed the entire event. I’m sure we’ll all be anticipating the 3rd year, as well.

Below, catch some shots of some of the artist who performed!

2nd Annual Milk and Cookies Music + Food Festival Re-Cap

2nd Annual Milk and Cookies Music + Food Festival Re-Cap

2nd Annual Milk and Cookies Music + Food Festival Re-Cap

2nd Annual Milk and Cookies Music + Food Festival Re-Cap

2nd Annual Milk and Cookies Music + Food Festival Re-Cap

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“My Dear Melancholy” is Bone-Chillingly Beautiful

Judging from the dark subject matter that has typified Abel “The Weeknd” Tesfaye’s catalogue to date–which includes rampant drug abuse,…

Judging from the dark subject matter that has typified Abel “The Weeknd” Tesfaye’s catalogue to date–which includes rampant drug abuse, his struggles as a homeless young-adult, and suicidal thoughts–few could have guessed that it would be his short stint with a former Disney Channel star that would leave him at his lowest. The Starboy crooner leaves little to speculation on his latest commercial release, My Dear Melancholy, a succinct six-song EP inarguably based on the fallout after his recent fling with pop star Selena Gomez. 

While The Weeknd’s anguish seems genuine and makes you feel for the guy, it’s impossible to ignore the glaring irony in his recent complaints, one, given Gomez’ goody-two-shoes persona, and even more so given the overtly misogynistic lyrics that Tesfaye is so well known for. Here are a few in case you need a reminder (no pun intended):

From the track “Party Monster” off of Starboy: “Woke up by a girl I don’t even know her name.”

From the smash hit “The Hills” off of the 2015 release Beauty Behind the Madness: “I only call you when it’s half past five, the only time I’d ever call you mine.”

Later on the same track, “I just fucked two bitches ‘fore I saw you.” 

Lastly, on the track “Reminder,” also off of Starboy: “When I travel ’round the globe, make a couple mil’ a show, and I come back to my city, I fuck every girl I know.” 

With that being said, musically, My Dear Melancholy is bone-chillingly beautiful. The Weeknd returns to his dark and cavernous House of Balloons roots on the project while still maintaining his newfound pop sensibilities. Rattling bass, slow, driving percussion, and subtle, haunting synths and keys cproductions. The production on most of My Dear Melancholy leaves room for Tesfaye’s vocals to take the driver’s seat, unlike that of the brighter and grandiose Starboy. From a lyrical standpoint, the EP is peppered with moving, weighty bars:

Off of “Wasted Times:” “I don’t wanna wake up if you ain’t laying next to me.”

Off of “Call Out My Name,” the opener: “I almost cut a piece of myself for your life,” a reference to Gomez’ recent search for a kidney donor

Tesfaye saves the best for last, providing the most melodically beautiful and lyrically clever portion of the EP on the closing track “Privilege,” as he repeats in a despondent, Vocoder-enhanced tone: “I got two red pills, to take the blues away.”

It is hard to deny the allure of much of The Weeknd’s work, regardless of lyrical content, due to the singer’s angelic voice and cutting-edge production. On My Dear Melancholy, Tesfaye achieves success from both a melodic and lyrical standpoint, substituting (for the most part) tales of apathetic sexual encounters for raw, vulnerable descriptions of his recent struggle with heartbreak. The Weeknd has finally found the middle ground between his groundbreaking, alt-R&B House of Balloons project and the poppy, Funk-infused Starboy. Lastly, to those Weeknd Stans worried about the Toronto star returning to normalcy, the singer explains on “Privilege:” 

“And I’ma fuck the pain away, and I know I’ll be okay…But I’ma drink the pain away, I’ll be back to my old ways.” 

Not to worry people; the Abel we’ve come to know, and love isn’t going anywhere.

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Cardi B’s Debut Album “Invasion of Privacy” Is Out Now

It’s almost a week since Cardi B’s debut album, Invasion of Privacy dropped. Her fans, the Bardi Gang, are more than…

It’s almost a week since Cardi B’s debut album, Invasion of Privacy dropped. Her fans, the Bardi Gang, are more than pleased with the LP, which has aldo managed to make those who weren’t fans, into new ones..

“I like proving niggas wrong, I do what they say I can’t,” raps Cardi B on “I Like It”

I can’t think of an artist that has had as bomb a breakout year as Cardi B has. She gave us the summer 2017 hit, “Bodak Yellow,” and since then, she’s been on the Billboard charts back to back (to back). The last ten months have been especially great to her, let alone this week. After releasing Invasion of Privacy, Cardi revealed her pregnancy with rapper Offset on “Saturday Night Live”; also, she was the first person ever to co-host The Tonight Show Starring Jimmy Fallon.

Invasion of Privacy is an upfront look into Cardi’s everyday life. She’s confident, vulnerable and full of witty remarks. Laced into 13 tracks, the newly minted Quality Control management signee made anthems for the rest of the year. “Get Up 10” sets the bar for what’s to come on the project. Inspired by Meek Mill’s “Dreams and Nightmares” intro, Cardi’s version is also broken into two parts about her ascension to the riches from the rags.

As well, the album includes “Bartier Cardi” with 21 savage, which recently earned platinum certification, and is still doing numbers.

 

Cardi B money moves on this album show her versatility. She dabbles into the trap sound with “Drip” featuring the Migos, shows her confidence and positive vibes on “Best Life” featuring Chance the Rapper, and gets very personal with “Be Careful,” a track addressing an unfaithful partner/boyfriend. Cardi is not the one to mess with!

Social media pundit-turned reality TV star-turned rapper is a way of saying that this girl from the Bronx, is made of grind and determination. You don’t have to like her music, the way she talks, or her persona, but you have to respect her hustle. She came from the bottom and executed her way to the top.

Listen to Cardi B’s debut album below.

<iframe src=”https://tools.applemusic.com/embed/v1/album/1368105671?country=ca&at=11l4Qg&ct=invasionofprivacy” height=”500px” width=”100%” frameborder=”0″></iframe>

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Donny DoomsDay Goes Against The Grain

Three listens had us open!

Going blind into an album is a liberating experience; with preconceived notions, it’s easier to take a raw listen at the actual material — without politics and BS. I had such an experience just this week with an artist name Donny DoomsDay. Everything about this guy is intriguing post-three listens. His latest LP, the hefty 17-song slice of hip-hop that is Reality Raps is loaded with positivism, a good amount of relatability, BARS, and unabashed nods to his Christianity.

To top it all off, he delivers a healthy tribute to the screwed up sound Texas is synonymous with.

What was most intriguing about the album was the layers I uncovered during my three top to bottom spins. Upon the first pass, I was taken in by the production. The project begins with “Moonlight,” which has an eerie/jazzy sound; “who’s the dealer and who’s the fiend,” he asks rhetorically. Elsewhere, I found myself running back “Fifth Wheel Motion,” his (sonic) salute to the style Texas became famous for, where you can almost imagine his dense wordplay getting a “chopped not slopped” treatment.

“Texas Made,” which walks you through life in the section was another one that got a few run backs, with it’s slick, atmospheric record pops.

Upon the second pass, I got deeper into his wordplay. He’s a Christian rapper, as I’ve come to know upon more research, but he doesn’t at all shove it down your throat; instead, he makes positive music. Not rainbows and shit, just … positive. Let me break that down.

 
“Graveyardz” follows him as he comes home from a literal graveyard shift at a plant, only to look at the face of his sleeping with and realizing his grinding is all worth it. “Selfish” is another example, where he raps about how he — despite circumstances — manages to stay out of jail, chases degrees rather than selling drug; he even raps about paying taxes on the second verse.

Keep in mind, the production on this LP is amazing, so he has these trap tinged, dark, southern tracks made for rolling around to in a candy painted Cadillac at midnight, but it is at points, (lyrically) swimming against the grain like a hip-hop salmon.

Then there are these really powerful records in the mix, like “Nothing To Something,” where he addresses the sameness of emcees in the game: “concepts are the same … the producers are the real artists, I’m a say it.” Another clear standout for me was “Villainy,” where he discusses the illusionary nature of the “things” that hip-hop culture consider important. This particular song is two-fold, also looking at the way he perceives himself as being viewed, despite being anything but a basic “rap guy.”

“You can run the trap; I’ll run to the bank with a business plan.”
–Donny DoomsDay

“Many Blessings” was probably the song with the most overt show of his faith, though he does instill it into bars throughout the album, and you can’t overlook “Been Praying,” either.. Tracks like “Coach Store” and “Give It and Go” do throw you off the trail though, without really listening to the bars, a light listen of this LP lets a lot of amazingness go over your head.

There is a ton to love and unpack on Reality Raps, but it’s worth getting lost in for a day — or two.

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