Checkout out our review of Trevor Noah’s new book, “Trevor Noah: Born A Crime”!
Asli Hip-Hop has met Hindustan.
Teyana Taylor’s latest album, KTSE, is a short yet impactful album that illustrates themes of love, loneliness, beauty, and lust.
The project, produced by Kanye West, is sample-heavy, which works well to enhance Taylor’s own soulful delivery, as Ye’s samples on this particular album are derived from mostly 60s and 70s R&B/Soul Groups. The first track on the album, Gonna Love Me, uses a sample from an early 60s and 70s group called The Delfonics. The sample functions to create a sense of longing, and also immortalizes that sensation by using a nostalga, as well as Taylor’s own voice. In this song, Teyana is asking her lover to forgive her, to wait for her. She belts: “Please wait up for me, ’til whenever I get home.” Taylor’s voice is powerful yet pleading, and though it is strong in its volume and intensity, it reveals the true nature of Taylor’s desire, that even though she may be tough, she is still dependent on her lover, and needs them to respond.
The second track on the album, Hurry, takes on a more playful cadence, but still shows off Taylor very serious vocal talent. The song features a verse from producer Kanye West, as he ruminates on a bad Trinidadian chick, the memory seemingly sparked by Taylor’s own avowal of the powers of the fatty: “”Keep your eyes all on this fatty, if you like what you see take your hands and grab it, Hurry, Hurry.” Though the track is masterfully produced, it fits uncomfortably among the other songs on the album, probably due to the reduced intensity of the themes that swim throughout the project. Some have said that the track does, however, sample Kim Kardashian’s sex tape with Ray J, though a G.O.O.D. music rep disappointed many fans by disavowing that particular piece of knowledge.
The third track on the album, Rose in Harlem, reiterates an idea that many black artists from the inner-city have used, that of a rose growing from concrete, a flower growing from a place where it is unwelcome, a thing of beauty and purity coming from a tough environment. The idea became a household metaphor after poet Tupac Shakur explained that a rose coming out of concrete is similar to a ghetto kid growing up and being able to impact other peoples’ lives positively, despite growing in a harsh environment.
Issues/Hold on, the fourth track on the project, uses a sample from Billy Stewart’s I still love you, Taylor agains seems to be pleading with her lover, asking for forgiveness and amends. Taylor respects the idea of mutual guilt, as she sings: “You ain’t always been an angel but heaven’s on our side I got my demons too, I know just how you feel.” Taylor’s ability to express her own emotions while empathizing with her lover is one reason that her song resonates with listeners, it isn’t one-sided at all, rather it delves into the complicated nature of love itself. The fifth track of the album, No Manners, combines decadent strings with trap-influenced flows, as well as a soul-sample.
On the whole, the album is much like Teyana herself, beautiful, powerful, deep, and personal, and though it carries heavy baggage on its shoulders, the project manages to handle its weight by using it as a chip on its shoulder rather than as a roadblock. Taylor’s voice is beautiful, but it isn’t angelic. It draws from its inner strength to be heard, but it still brings its demons with it. And as a result, the world gets to listen to, but perhaps never completely understand, the very complex and intuitively moving voice of Teyana Taylor.
Bishop Nehru is arguably one of the most intelligent barmen of the generation.
Yet another talent arises from the Nasty North; NUE is one the most interesting rappers to come out of the new wave. His music is a mixture of ice-cold production, producers like Sauceboy and Aid are responsible for some of the beats on his recent mixtape Iroquois, and though his music has been described as “bleary-eyed,” it isn’t confused or existential, but rather melodically raps a melancholic party mood.
NUE has the ability to adapt to different types of productions while maintaining the tonal quality of his voice. For example, on “Deadman” produced by TT AUDI 808 MAFIA, NUE speeds up his raps, but doesn’t lose any of the drawling nature of his flow. This fusion of fast and slow, tired but energetic can be compared to ingesting depressants and then wilding out. NUE recently signed to 300 Entertainment, becoming the first Canadian to join the label. Though Iroquois is formulaic, with NUE melodically rapping over new-age beats, his personality bleeds through on tracks like “Freestyle 26.” Despite the fact that NUE’s music revolves around numbing himself, it’s obvious that his narrative finds away to voice itself, even in the face of suppression. NUE is a powerful addition to Toronto Hip-Hop, and I’m excited to see him be a part of the culture.
Nightly, a pop band with honest lyrics and heart-wrenching melodies has recently been opening up for Michigan rapper NF as he tours the country. I had the privilege of being able to speak with the two members of Nightly, Jonathan Capeci and Joey Beretta. Their most recent EP, “Honest,” is an endeavor in becoming vulnerable and truthful with fans.
I was lucky enough to speak with one of Baltimore’s major current talents: Bandhunta Izzy while he was in New York on the day of his mixtape release Code Blue. We spoke about his experiences growing up, his relationship with music and art, and of course, his current releases.
If there’s one thing that the Netflix original Black Mirror does exceptionally well, it is getting the darkest places of the watcher’s mind and taking advantage of our subconscious fears.
Kering Presented “Women In Motion” Screening of “In Between” at The Crosby Hotel.
Amy Sedaris’ new show “At Home With Amy Sedaris” received a warm welcome at its premiere this past Diwali Thursday in NYC, as cast and crew walked a multi-colored carpet, quite appropriate for the occasion.
Sedaris entered The Bowery Hotel in a puffy blue dress, complete with blue frills and sparkles. Though Sedaris is a huge fan of comedy, she appreciates the mundane too, and thinks that the “boring” has redeeming qualities, often looked over in American television. Her new show “At Home With Amy Sedaris” centers around crafts and cooking, two of Amy’s favorite hobbies. Though she had originally intended for the show to be dry and focused, she realized that laughs were necessary to break the ice for a home-show such as this.
This led to the creation of a show that mixes the slow with the fast, the witty with the humorless. A perfect example of what I mean by this juxtaposition is the way Amy describes fish in the beginning of her first episode. “Fish a strange cold-blooded and limbless creature that thrives in the stuff we drown in…but when battered and pan-fried, scrumptious!” Amy goes into a historical, nature-documentary sort of drawl, but then makes sure not to bore the audience for too long as she jumps into delicious and oily possibilities.
The show is corny and awkward, but employs both traits to strengthen its niche. It bathes in idiosyncracy in an endearing way rather than an annoying one. The sexual tension between Amy and her guest chef is the perfect energy for a home-cooking show, and it gives the episode a laid back, homey feel. “You handle those so well,” Amy says seductively to her guest as he straddles raw fish with his gloved hands. The mundane is funny, and the funny is mundane with Amy’s style. Her characters tell the audience unnecessary information about their lives, sort of like when one of your relatives drones on and on about pointless occurrences.
I had the pleasure of speaking briefly with Amy about her show:
Q: So what kind of comedy can we expect to see on the show, is it going to be more physical, more verbal?
A: There’ a lot of physical comedy, a lot of verbal comedy, a lot of visual comedy, so yeah!
Q: From what I’ve read the show wasn’t originally intended to be a comedy, so if you take away the comedy from the show – how does it function?
A: It’s “bring a book”… that’s why you need comedy you realize “oh this is just killing us, so boring.” But I mean I like boring shows, but we just naturally like to laugh, so we tried not to be so serious.
Q: You like boring shows?
A: Like PBS type shows, how-to shows, shows you can zone out too.
Q: Are there any elements of that kind of mundane-ness in the show?
A: Yeah, not for too long, because then you want to laugh.
The show also screened at the inaugural Tribeca TV Festival last month. Below are two clips from the post – screening panel courtesy of the festival:
The show premieres October 24th on TruTV at 8pm, perfect to relax to after a long day.