The First Season of the Netflix Original Series “The Get Down”

If you haven’t already, watch the trailer:

The promise of this fantastic show, for me, started with the trailer I watched long before the show came out. I instantly recognized, Shameik Moore, who also starred in the 2015 movie “Dope.” He does a great job once again. The acting in this show is stellar all around even though it feels a little cheesy every once in a while. However, a lot of the show is about disco music…so there’s probably not much the actors could have done.

The show focuses on life in the Bronx and the birth of hip-hop, and it’s fascinating. You’re learning, watching a drama, and listening to good music all at the same time. (Listen to this scorcher, Cadillac, Miguel wrote for the show)

The clothes are also cool – Shaolin Fantastic’s legendary red Pumas 1184104.jpgpictured below, for example. Watching the show is a unique opportunity to experience this incredibly vibrant culture from the past. It combines conflicts, conflicts that are either socioeconomic, political, or musical, to make the audience feel pain through the struggles, and pride in the triumphs of these kids.

Watch this show, it’s free on Netflix, you have no excuse.

Cheers!

John

On Kanye West…The Temporary Mental Downfall of a Superstar

I went to the Oakland Kanye concert a few months ago, and the entire experience was fantastic. ‘ye threatened to boycott the Grammys in support of Frank Ocean (video). There was a floating stage, great loud music, and lights everywhere.

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The only thing I didn’t love was the merch, and I did like the merch, but I payed far too much for that long sleeve saint pablo Gildan t-shirt.

The show was as erratic as anyone would expect. Yeezus performed his controversial opening lines to the song “Famous” something like nine times before he performed the song all the way through.

What I wanted to focus on, though, was the very lengthy performance of “Runaway.” After Kanye performed the regular part of the song, with the audience nostalgically singing along, he sat on a corner of the stage and talked to us as he looped the outtro. He would talk about some facet of his genius, pause for effect, sing “run away from me baby, runaway” for effect, and then continue his oration.

He seemed to be just a little crazy, but he explained how people say that just to put him down because he’s “not regular.”

Don’t get me wrong, ‘ye is, and always will be, a hip-hop legend, and I do think that he is a creative genius. That said, his mental state was probably not as stable as he claimed back in October.

Since then, some interesting things have happened. Kanye canceled his tour, was hospitalized, made friends with Donald Trump, and he recently wore, and supported, the confederate flag.

kanye-west-confederate-flag-x17 I think the flag was the most interesting, and the most unexpected. Much of Kanye’s music is about racial struggle, but he called it “his flag.” In a very Trump statement, he said “react how you want, any energy is good energy.”

What I’m saying is, he’s come out of the hospital even more controversial than he was before. There’s no way to truly understand Mr. West, but we can always try.

For his fans, I think everything will go well. Kanye seems to be more Kanye than ever, so I’m sure we’ll get new content that’s even better than what he’s already given us. For those who don’t like Kanye, I’m sorry but there’s clearly no stopping him now.

 

Why true Hip Hop artists have to make it last

If you listen to pop music, you will probably realize that some people just seem to never go away, like Justin Timberlake and Lady Gaga. The same goes for every other type of music, including mainstream hip-hop with artists such as Jay-Z and Kanye coming out with a hit album seemingly every year. On the other hand, true hip hop has not had a single star on top of charts for more than a year or two, which is kind of strange, given that all other genres have an artist who has been around for a decade and just won’t go away. In addition, the true hip hop artists never tend to resurface after a few years like Timberlake did. These artists usually experience a sudden income flow that they have never prepared for that ends a lot quicker than they think and gets in their heads. Sudden fame getting to an artists head also makes their music worse because usually they start to lose all their humility and think they are the best rapper of all time and all of that lack of focus disrupts  the music and the flow of the song. All of this seems to lead to the conclusion that while Hip Hop artists command the attention of the mainstream public occasionally, they need to make it last, because they most likely will never have that chance again.

Why The 1975’s Album Was so Successful and Why Matt Healy is a Genius

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Three years after releasing their self-titled album, The 1975 came back stronger than ever with their album I like it when you sleep, for you are so beautiful yet so unaware of it. In preparation for their sophomore album, the 1975 scared fans by disabling all of their social media.

Fans worried about the 1975’s impending break up until Matt Healy, the lead singer, posted a cryptic announcement. The lead singer, posted a comic that depicted a black figure behind a pink figure, labeled “Old Matty” and “New Matty”. Next to this image was a blurry letter, seemingly addressed to fans that read, “Our projected identity must change not only visually but philosophically – how do you do that? Firstly we must reclaim our identity & repossess our control of it…Until then there won’t be any pop music or dancing with long hair.” The band ended this confession saying, “We can’t simply go on forever- always staying the same, never evolving. So we must leave, with a parting ‘we love you’ – we are already gone.” This note sent fans into a frenzy. What was happening? Who was the “New Matty”?

All of these questions seemed to be answered when all the band’s social media accounts reappeared posting the same pastel pink picture. Fans soon learned that The 1975 were not gone, just pink. The band had been famous previously for their grungy black and white aesthetic, so their adoption of all things bubblegum pink was a drastic change. At first one might think that a change in appearance for a band isn’t much of a change at all. Matt Healy stated in an interview with MTV, “I think we found a bit of solace in keeping everything black and white, because it keeps things quite detached from reality and kind of puts a boundary between us and what’s actually happening.” The bands change in color scheme was not simply them rebranding but they were reinventing themselves, most not only in their aesthetics but in their music.

The 1975’s signature sound is maintained in their sophomore album. However, there is an entirely different mood. Their self-titled debut album is a collection of alternative rock songs that immerse the listeners in the struggles of the lead singer. In contrast, i like it when you sleep is filled with harsh social criticisms and observations surrounding the topics of individuality, sexuality, religion, mental health, family, and love.

The most interesting part of the 1975’s sophomore album, especially for long time fans, is the parallels in lyrics from the first and second album. The second album is filled to the brim with extensions lyrically as well as criticisms at the band’s earlier naivety.  There are a few specific songs that connect the first and second album. The chorus of their hit song “The City” exclaims, “If you wanna find love then you know where the city is”. The 1975 rebuts this statement in a moment of regret and disappointment with their song “A Change of Heart” saying, “I feel as though I was deceived, I never found love in the city.” Again in one of the band’s most famous songs, Robbers, Matty describes a girl saying, “She had a face straight outta magazine.”

Once again, in “A Change of Heart”, Matty sings, “You used to have a face straight out of a magazine, now you just look like anyone.” As implied by the title, “Change of Heart” describes much of the evolution of the band’s opinions and how they have changed in the three years before releasing their second album. Matt Healy is without a doubt pretentious, but he gets a way with it because of his lyrics. While he is keen to criticize society and those around him, he is hardest on himself by incorporating witty self-awareness and self-deprecation. Matty described this tendency to criticism himself saying, “One of the things that I want people to be aware of is that if I’m talking with a kind of sense of dissatisfaction about behavior I’m normally talking about me.”

The song “She Way Out”, in their first album has the lyrics, “She said it’s not about your body, it’s just social implications are brought upon by this party that we’re sitting in. And I’d like to say you’ve changed but you’re always the same.” Matt Healy is criticizing social structure with his lyrics. The female character in his song is insisting that there is nothing wrong with Matty and they can attribute all faults in character to flaws in society. However, in his song “The Sound”, he retaliates by singing, “It’s not about reciprocation, it’s just all about me. A sycophantic, prophetic, socratic, junkie wannabe.” Matty is without a doubt a genius lyricist who is able to criticize his own narcissism eloquently.

One song that encapsulates the genius that is Matt Healy is the song “If I believe you”. Matty has always been outspoken on his opinions on religion, once tweeting, “’Religious belief resolves no moral problem and yields no knowledge’. “If I believe you” is a cry to God that introduces a paradox that because of his lack of interest in God, he can’t seem to find a purpose. The song is a criticism that uses comedy to express his perspective with lines like, “I’ll be your child if you insist. I mean, if it was you that made my body you probably shouldn’t have made me atheist”.

Matt Healy prides himself on being self-aware, and claims he understands that things he says can come across as pretentious. He recognizes the criticism surrounding the aesthetics of the band, but he has strong beliefs surrounding his own art which is why the band has reached so much success. In an interview with Hit 30, Matty expressed his belief that, “The only art… worth investing in is art that makes you feel personally addressed…You either acquire that through a true belief in something or immersing yourself in a world that you believe. The continuity and the consistency between our music and the way we look, or our presence on the internet, all of our visuals, all of our album artwork. It’s so intertwined that it gives people this sense of identity. It feels like you’re buying into something that is more dynamic and more believable and more human than something that isn’t as thought out.” In another interview with MTV, Matt encapsulated the spirit of the band’s sophomore album saying, “It’s about making decisions. Making bold decisions.

The record is kind of comprised of that attitude. Conviction and truth…it’s a pursuit of the truth and the pursuit of excellence.” The success of the band can be attributed to their aesthetics, appearance, lyrics, instrumentals, stage performance and attitude. Matty is a genius, but above that, he is an entertainer. He recognizes flaws in himself and society and he pieces together to create beautiful lyrics and a brand that makes fans feel part of something bigger.

Thank you, Mr. Tokyo

Now, I know some people will count out my credibility after my fiasco of an article. Now that is my opinion and I will defend it to the death of me. Mr. Tokyo made a new album quite some time ago but I decided it was worth talking about. Now this album has a few “bangers” as the kids call it these days. Unfortunately the songs cannot reach “Uber Everywhere” and “Kelley Rowland” status but the songs still have an amazing bounce to them. The album starts off with the quiet yet deadly song, “Broken Hearts” this song shows the listener the classic sound we have grown so fond of and accustom to, sadly this is a forgettable song and not that memorable. Next track “Skateboard P” is, in my opinion, one of my favorite songs from the album. It is impossible to listen to the song without Hitting them folks. “Skateboard P” provides that tone similar to uber everywhere and is a song you and your friends can “turn up” to as the kids say. “Mr. Tokyo” is a song that provides a slight different style. Listening to it provides that chill feeling or maybe even a sad feeling. The transition between “Skateboard P” and “Mr. Tokyo” is amazing, wonderful song arrangement by Madeintyo. An amazing dance song to that Sunday afternoon chill song. “Gucci Polo” is a commercially famous song but I, quite frankly, do not see it. It has a okay beat and okay flow but it is quite forgettable. “Lose it” as well is quite forgettable but still is not a bad song. It is possible to listen to the entire album in one take now, but in the future I might skip this song. Now, “Drip” is the next banger, the best song of the album. High Hit ‘dem folks levels and high turn up levels. Extremely catchy and provides the listener with amazing flow and beats. The other tracks are as well forgettable, but every once in a while one can listen to them, but not regularly. Madeintyo comes back strong after his first album “You Are Forgiven” this album has many classics and songs I, personally, still love to listen to. “Thank you Mr. Tokyo” is to new to say it has classics or anything (think Star Wars the Force Awakens, too early to decide if it is better than the classics) This album is amazing, top five of the year, I urge everyone to listen now.

 

Signing off,

Yours truly,

Nick Rick 11_Nice