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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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Get Familiar With Cautious Clay

Clay opts for deep, cryptic lyricism, which sets him apart from most of his R&B contemporaries.

Imagine waking up in a utopic world. Poverty and world hunger have been completely eradicated. Self-driving cars whiz through pristine streets. Planet Earth has been at peace for more than a decade, and a universal government has been established. A flute and saxophone playing, singer-songwriter and producer, with a voice that sounds like a John Legend, Kid Cudi, Frank Ocean hybrid, is one the most significant artists out. Alas, while we have a ways to go before we achieve world peace (fingers crossed for 2020), said dream artist does exist, and his name is Cautious Clay.

Less than a year ago, the Brooklyn based, Cleveland raised (shout out Cudi again) 24-year-old talent was working as a leasing agent marketer. Now? He’s accumulated more than one million plays on Soundcloud, is being hounded by major labels and has a rapidly expanding fan base that includes Zane Lowe of Beats 1. Clay’s buzz began with the release of his debut single, “Cold War,” back in September 2017, a minimalistic banger highlighting his lush, dynamic lead vocals, some powerful harmonics, and an addictive horn riff.

Clay followed up with an impressive debut project in February of this year; a six-song E.P. entitled Blood Type. The short project opens with swelling harmonies and bouncy tribal drums on the track “Silos,” as Clay switches effortlessly between falsettos and chest vocals. On “Joshua Tree,” Clay explores emotional isolation, explaining plainly, “Cause I, take fear in those who love me, low lighting with a gated entry… I don’t wanna be loved,” over a joyous instrumental, perhaps implying that he is beginning to understand and overcome these struggles. Clay’s voice sounds eerily similar to Cudi’s on track three, the title track, as he dives into subject matter similar to that of the song prior: “To the love of my life, I wish I was stable,” and the clever double entendre, “Yeah I’m type A, but you gotta be right, I must be lost.” On track four, “Juliet + Caesar,” mellow saxophones and some more vocal harmonies steal the show. Track five is Clay’s aforementioned debut single, “Cold War,” in which the singer critiques modern love: “Cause they only swipe right if you fuck for follows, welcome to the days of the broke and shallow.” The closing track, “Elsewhere,” takes on a more somber tone than the rest, featuring emotional acoustic guitars and a downcast yet catchy verse melody.

The Blood Type E.P. is a triumphant first at-bat for the talented multi-instrumentalist. Throughout the project, Clay displays an advanced grasp of vocal harmonics along with a knack for well-polished production that features a healthy mix of both live and electronic instruments. Clay opts for deep, cryptic lyricism, which sets him apart from most of his R&B contemporaries, many of whom settle for oversimplified and cliché lines. Musically, Clay excels on all fronts and has no apparent shortcomings; the sky is the limit for the young talent. Expect a “Cold War” music video soon and until then, enjoy this stripped-back acoustic version of the track.

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‘Rico Love Presents TXS’ “Do Good” [Video]

More than perhaps anyone else this decade, Rico Love has been one of R&B’s go-to-men when it comes to making…

More than perhaps anyone else this decade, Rico Love has been one of R&B’s go-to-men when it comes to making hits. Some of his most prominent plays have come courtesy of his songwriting and producing. Love penned tracks for Beyoncé, Usher, Chris Brown, Kelly Rowland, Trey Songz, Jamie Foxx  – in essence, all of the notable R&B singers since the early 2000’s – and even had a few of them hit number one on the Billboard charts.

Love has racked up a career’s worth of accomplishments, and now, the Grammy award-winning artist is venturing to reach his “ultimate goal” of paving the way for emerging talents through Rico Love Presents series. The first installment features the new visual “Do Good” by Dallas singer, TXS (pronounced “Texas”). The song was written by Rico Love and co-produced by Danja.

'Rico Love Presents TXS' "Do Good" [Video]

“When I found TXS, I literally named her TXS, and I said, ‘You know what? We got to come up with something dope that’s authentic, real and defining.’ I wrote the treatment for the video [and] came up with the visual concepts,” Love said in Vibe Magazine.

“The identity behind that record is me painting a picture of who I believe the artist TXS is. I build on her energy and try to create an ascetic, an ambiance, a scene, a plot. All of those things that makes for an incredible artist. I look at an artist, I study them. And then I say this is how I would interpret them,” he explains. “So, the meaning and intention behind “Do Good” is just the attitude of a woman who says, “I’m sick of going back and forth. You know what, I hope you do good. I’m done, live your life, [just] do good.”

The visual captures the theme of a woman’s breaking point in an unhealthy relationship. It brings into existence how women feel when their mentally done with a guy, but physically still dealing with him. TXS shows purity and being free from what caused her stressed in the video.

Check out TXS’ “Do Good” video below.

 

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Kinship Entertainment Shines Light On Domestic Abuse With Powerful New Mini Movie

Brothers Australia and Michael Hoover — who perform under the monickers Ubiquitous Poet (U.P.) and Eloquent — got into the…

Brothers Australia and Michael Hoover — who perform under the monickers Ubiquitous Poet (U.P.) and Eloquent — got into the game in 1990. To put that into perspective for some younger readers, that same year Brand Nubian dropped their debut All For One, and Ice Cube dropped his first post-NWA solo venture, Amerikkka’s Most Wanted. Hip Hop has, and it goes without saying, changed a lot in the past 28 years. 

So what are two emcees/creatives too old for the new wave and too in love with the culture to quit to do. Well, the duo — collectively known as the Kinship found a unique creative vision, and have spun that focus into a multi-media company spanning animations and comic book. 

“We now write and produce a variety of works [beyond music],” says Australia. “Every bit of work we produce is written or curated in-house.”

The concept of an Out of Place Artifact, an idea realized by American naturalist and cryptozoologist Ivan T. Sanderson, is one that catalyzes the majority of the duo’s current film, music, comic books, and other projects they have under development — though that growth was organic. Inspiration first sparked a song, which became a series of songs, which expanded into a full-fledged movement and mantra. 

The series of songs, which have all been released for a few months now, serve as support for an upcoming film, which is set to drop this Summer. That seems like a lot on one plate, but Kinship never sleeps; they have some new music videos, notable the mini-movie “Love You Like That,” an exciting look at what the pair can create.

 
The visual is — well — a little hard to watch. It follows a woman’s journey through an abusive relationship, which culminates into a surprise ending that you need to see for yourself. The scene where the mother sees her daughters bruised face is heart-wrenching. This is Music with a message and powerful cinematic imagery that helps bolster their company’s ability to produce quality.

“In essence, Kinship Entertainment is now operating as a multi-media company,” Australia notes. “Still owned and operated by me and my brother Michael. Just like in 1990.”

Stay tuned.

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Telescreens Debut Breezy New Single “Poison”

Artists — and founders of MCS Records — Telescreens have finally popped their heads out of the underground with an…

Artists — and founders of MCS Records — Telescreens have finally popped their heads out of the underground with an excellent new single built for a breezy summer evening in your respective downtown metropolis.

“Poison,” with it’s laid back vibe and live chunky southern chords, almost has an Organized Noize feel to it. Specifically, the beat made us think of the Chuck Heat produced “What a Job This Is,” by Devin The Dude featuring Snoop and Andre 3000. Telescreens create a slow-flow sound bed perfectly suited to the emcees: Doov, CyphTwo and Manny P. All three are signed to the Telescreens’ label, so the record almost feels like a coming out party, so to speak.

“Poison is the sound of hip-hop had it been invented on the West Coast in the 60’s amid a blissed-out acid-trip rather than having its origins a decade later on the tougher streets of New York.”

–DAA Mag

Hailing from NYC, the trio consists of Austin Brenner, Jackson Hamm, and Josiah Valerius (hailing from San Francisco, London, and Newark, respectively). Although they are classified as an alternative brand, they are creating a fresh new sound and putting their label another (creative) plateau. The single is an exciting look at what’s to come.

Good music ain’t dead!

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