The Rap Up: Episode No. 16
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The Rap Up: Episode No. 16

“They say you gotta sell it to snatch the Grammy”

Well Chance, you proved them wrong. In case you missed this years Grammy celebrations, The Rap Up has you covered. Perhaps the biggest story of the night for the Hip-Hop community is that Chance the Rapper took home a total of three Grammy’s for “Best New Artist”, “Best Rap Album”, and “Best Rap Performance”. After a tumultuous year leading up to the event, with regards to major artists avoiding the ceremonies altogether, its clear the right decision was made. Additionally, even though Beyonce did not win “Album of The Year”, her incredible performance (while pregnant with twins we might add), and relationship with Adele stole the show. In fact, Adele broke her Grammy in half on stage so that she could share it with Beyonce, who she felt deserved the award just as much.

 

Big Sean drops “I Decided”

Big Sean came through last Thursday with the release of his newest studio album, I Decided. The project is laced with 14 tracks, and has features from Eminem, Jhene Aiko, The Dream, and Migos. Understandably, a lot of people have been debating the quality of Eminem’s feature, however we’ll let you be the judge of that. However, it is important to note that this is the first track Big Sean and Eminem have shared exclusively. Its also significant due to the fact both are at the moment Detroit’s most dangerous emcee’s. Overall the album seem’s to be well received by fans and even became America’s #1 album on Billboard this week.

(Written by TJ Mroz)

 

Songs Played This Week:

Outlet – Desiigner

Yeah Yeah – Travis Ft. Young Thug

I’m Better – Missy Elliot Ft. Lamb

BagBak – Vince Staples

No Favors – Big Sean Ft. Eminem

Moves – Big Sean

Slippery – Migos Ft. Gucci Mane

What The Price – Migos

Run Up – Major Lazer Ft. PND & Nicki Minaj

Drew Barrymore – SZA

Proud Family – Tory Lanez

The Star Potential of Starboy (?)
Album Reviews
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The Star Potential of Starboy (?)

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Yesterday, The Weeknd released his highly anticipated album, Starboy. It is presently sitting at #1 in 80 countries. I have listened to the album cover-to-cover, and all I could think to myself was, “Where is the angst?” I only really saw a trace of this in the song “Party Monster.” I can’t deny that it is well-produced and that his vocal ability is admirable, but it is undoubtedly an album that is meant to appeal to the masses. The biggest problem for me as a long-time listener, I personally feel left behind. Before you think I’m just going to bash The Weeknd as an artist, I encourage you to keep reading.

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Why do I feel left behind? 

It is inevitable that people grow and change, but this change is a hard pill to swallow. The Weeknd made dark, seemingly drug-induced tracks that dealt heavily with young love, growing up, and teen angst. Sure, this is a sign that he is growing up, but even his last album The Beauty Behind the Madness still possesses some of those sentiments while possessing the ability to penetrate the mainstream music market. I have no issue with Abel’s mainstream success, but I do have an issue with what seems to be a lack of care to carry his Day 1 fans forward with him. The compilation album of all of his mixtape, titled Trilogy, really takes you on a journey into his mind. It features a plethora of slow, reflective tracks, detailing experiences with different people and different places. The realities of drug use and love are things that people of our generation can certainly relate to on some level. Even if you have just been asked to partake in drug use and you said no, this is still an album that you can relate to.

The albums Kiss Land and King of the Fall fell a bit under the radar, but they did well in a live setting. I had the pleasure of attending the King of the Fall tour in September 2014, which also Jhene Aiko and scHoolboy Q. It was especially a treat because The Weeknd performed everything noteworthy from the very beginning, and Oxymoron by scHoolboy Q was one of the hypest Hip-Hop albums that was out at the time. In listening to Starboy, I wonder how it will it will translate in a tour setting, when it is already so easy listening to begin with.

Overall though, I am very happy about the amount of worldwide success and recognition that The Weeknd has. It is an incredible achievement for him, and for Canada as a whole.

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“The Great Gambino” 

 

The Great Gambino
Album Reviews
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The Great Gambino

Where does one begin when it comes to discussions of Donald Glover? He is an incredibly talented screenwriter, comedian, actor, and musical artist, amongst his dealings in other noteworthy areas. The majority of people would identify him as the actor that played Troy on Community, but he also co-wrote a number of seasons of the television show 30 Rock with Tina Fey. In 2018, he will star as Landon in the next Star Wars film. There is nothing that he can’t do.

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The Music

The first mixtapes: I Am Just A Rapper, Cul de Sac, EP

Although they are all very different, these three mixtapes are what put Donald Glover on the map as Childish Gambino. These mixtapes features not one, but two Adele samples, and as well as a full re-work of All of the Lights by Kanye West and Real Estate by Wiz Khalifa. Collectively, these tapes provide listeners with Gambino’s origin story, and how his career as a writer prepared him for a career as a rapper. He affirms the message that being an intellectual should not take away from his ability to succeed in hip-hop. Obviously, he was right.

Studio album #2: Camp

This is the album that brought us the hit single Heartbeat and Bonfire. This is inarguably the most beloved work of Childish Gambino fans, not only as his first studio release, but as something that they could easily listen cover-to-cover. It offers a little bit of everything, including all of the wit expected from a comedian, writer, and actor. Additionally, it encompasses a larger discussion about life, love, and pursuing the Arts.

Mixtape #4: Royalty

One word: bangers. If you’re looking for an unreal mixtape to play at the gym, this is the one for you. It features artists such as Wu-Tang Clan’s Ghostface Killah and Danny Brown, but he also goes in on a track with his younger brother, Steve G. Lover. See what he did there? I do.

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Photo Credit: Khadijah Plummer (the deep web tour: toronto; March 30, 2014)

Studio album #2 (and screenplay): Because the Internet

This second album was released in November 2014, and featured his first international tour called the deep web tour. I had the privilege of seeing his first of the two Toronto shows in March of 2015. Gambino experienced mainstream success with singles such as Pink Toes featuring Jhene Aiko as well as the ever-so-catchy 3005. Because the Internet is very complex album and arguably his least accessible. I only say this because the understanding of the overall message is partially embedded in the 70+ page accompanying screenplay (which is very hard to find these days). Luckily, I read it back in 2014. The “rich kid a**hole” that Gambino personifies both in the album and on stage is used to illustrate the collective struggle and problem of the Millennial generation. Due to the creation and perpetual evolution of the Internet, information is easily accessible, but our communication is suffering. Mistakes are forever, and feelings are fake. It is so easy to create a persona through the various social media platforms; we can be whomever we choose to be online. The consequence? Losing your true self in the process.

#ROSCOESWETSUIT

Mixtape #5: STN MTN/KAUAI

This fun-loving mixtape came out of nowhere in 2015, to bridge the gap of silence that followed after Because the Internet and its accompany deep web tour. Childish released the mixtape for free, because he wanted it to be accessible for everyone; no purchase necessary. STN MTN/KAUAI is a two-part mixtape consisting of 18 tracks. There are a great deal of ad-lib tracks, and noteworthy features and re-works. The track that had the most impact on my listening experience is Gambino’s cover of U Don’t Have to Call by Usher. This cover was further re-worked by Mura Masa and Elhae. It features soulful vocals in the beginning, and then segues into a spoken word by Gambino (and no, I don’t mean rap).

What’s next: Awaken, My Love! 

So far this month, two singles from his upcoming studio album Awaken, My Love! have been released. The album artwork (see feature image) is very eye-catching The tracks are both very soulful, showcasing more of Gambino’s vocal talent that initially emerged through Because the Internet. The tracks are very experimental, which in itself is a Gambino trademark. I find Me and Your Mama to be Pink Floyd-esque in nature, playing out similarly to the track Wish You Were Here on the purely formal level. The second single, Redbone, has a vibe that is reminiscent of Lauryn Hill, primarily in terms of the vocals. The album is set to release on December 2nd of this year. I look forward to listening to and reviewing this album, as it is shaping up to be another breath of fresh air.

The Rap Up: Halloween 2015
News/Shows/The RapUp
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The Rap Up: Halloween 2015

 

Hip-Hop Halloween 2015

Student Loans… commitment… exams… Sorry didn’t mean to frighten you, but then again, who doesn’t love the excitement of Halloween? Your favourite artists would agree, and really brought their A-game this year. Schoolboy Q was a blunt, Jhene Aiko got her Audrey Hepburn on, Beyonce was Storm from X-men, Chris Brown redid Michael Jackson’s werewolf, Nicki Minaj was on point with her fairy god mother look, but by far, hands down, the best Halloween costume of 2015, and I think the internet and Future would strongly agree, is the unknown guy who made his own Gucci Flip-flop costume (see featured photo). After all, we thought it was a drought.

 

In Yeezy We Trust

That’s right, FINALLY we have an update. In similar fashion to how a chosen prophet announces the coming Jesus, Travis Scott has foretold the second coming of Yeezus. In a recent phone interview, Travis Scott told Hot 97 that Kanye West’s incredibly mysterious and highly anticipated upcoming album SWISH, was “coming very soon”. On top of that exciting proclamation, Scott also said that the album should not be slept on, and earlier in the year teased fans that it would be a game changer. Wow. That’s a lot of hype to live up to but if anyone knows what Kanye has in store, it would be his producing protégé Travis Scott. Last month Kanye also released two tracks on his SoundCloud profile, to which Travis Scott confirmed was legitimate and captioned a photo with “it begins” and another stating something that he and Kanye had been working on for years would soon surface. In a recent phone interview Kanye also added to the hype by describing the album as a “sonic painting”. Either way, Travis Scott and Kanye West need to stop playing with our hearts but then again, it’s kind of surprising we even got this warning. Caution, Yeezy season approaches.

 

Rider Demands

There’s no debate that Jay Z and Kanye West might be the biggest artists you may ever have in your city, however, have you ever wondered what they ask for when spending a few nights in the most luxurious hotel your city has to offer? Well for Mr. West it starts with; no cylindrical vases, a brand of speakers (Genelecs 1031a) that’s been discontinued for ten years, only black towels, Kashi Go Lean cereal, mint flavored dental floss, and finally thirteen bottles of alcohol totaling $3,200, three of those bottles being Paradis Hennessy. While this would be an absurd list of requests for the average individual, this is pretty much what we expected from Kanye and to be honest, we’re surprised it isn’t more ridiculous. As for Hov, he requests no vacuuming near his room, that none of the hotel staff ask for concert tickets lest they “avoid embarrassment”, that the hotel room temperature be set at 71 degrees, three $80 Mayan tuberose-scented candles, and finally one bottle of Ace of Spades champagne, and not be charged for it (which makes sense considering he owns the company). That actually isn’t too crazy considering Jay’s status, and we here at The Rap Up appreciate that Hov likes to set the mood, and saving a little cash is always a smart move. Maturity is a good look Mr. Carter.

 

Songs Played:

White Iverson (remix) – Post Malone Ft. Rick Ross

Whole Lot – Akon Ft. Migos

Royalty – Jeremih Ft. Future & Big Sean

Third Shift – Fabolous

Sitting Pretty – Ty Dolla $ign

Solid – Ty Dolla $ign

Angel – Fetty Wap Ft. French Montana

Stuck In My Ways – Fetty Wap

The Omen – Ace Hood

Real (interlude) – Ace Hood

Workin’ – Diddy ft. Travis Scott & Big Sean

MMM – Diddy Ft. Future & King Los

Most of Us – wiz Khalifa

Outsiders – Wiz Khalifa

Illuminate – Wale

New Phone – Wale

Mind Right – Young Thug

Phoenix – Young Thug

Angel Dust – Lloyd Banks (prod. AraabMuzik)

Live4Ever – Lloyd Banks