In defense of Jesus is King

Image result for jesus is king

There is not much one can say about Kanye West that has not already been said. Either way, I will try my very best. Kanye West is a man of extremes. There’s no other artist that has demonstrated the stopping power, relevancy, and unprecedented talent that he has. Consistently he has set the bar, raised it, lowered it, and bent it to his will. The industry winces when a powerhouse like him comes around because the rules they set in place don’t seem to apply to them.

I wouldn’t say I’m one of those people who believe Kanye West is some sort of “musical God” no matter what some burning critics would have you believe. However, going forward without properly acknowledging his legacy would be a horrible misstep on my part. People like Virgil Abloh, Drake, and thousands of other young artists have all taken inspiration from West and prospered from it. It is nearly impossible to find a contemporary artist who isn’t influenced by Ye in some fashion.

So let’s talk about what West is doing in present times. The year is 2019 and he’s been pulling his classic trick of delaying and canceling albums for some time now. Yandhi is dead, but Jesus is King lives. A tweet was finally delivered on Oct. 20 which announced that it would release on Oct. 25. On Oct. 22 the album was made available for preorder further confirming the upcoming release. To incentivize its purchase the promise of tickets to an exclusive Kanye event that very same week was made to the fans who supported its release. No phones were allowed at the event, very little planning was involved, and its exclusivity was stern.

I was one of the lucky people who got to attend this event. It was rather strange taking a short notice trip up to LA to hear an album I wasn’t completely certain actually existed, but the whole endeavor was exciting nonetheless.

When I arrived at the Forum in Inglewood, Los Angeles everything felt bigger than it actually was. The words “Jesus is King” illuminated the pillars holding the arena up. Behind it, the gigantic new Rams stadium was slowly being pieced together. It should have made The Forum look smaller, but it didn’t. When we finally set foot inside my focus began to tighten. All I wanted to do was hear the album.

The event started over an hour late. The rest I can’t really describe for you. I felt a lot of confusion, morbid curiosity, and I was probably anxious too. It was well worth the drive and the wait. However, its presentation failed to hit the mark for most people. For what it is, I enjoyed it. That was my experience just watching the film. After it ended Ye emerged from the foliage and the album began playing. I honestly couldn’t believe it was real. It’s not worth depicting every moment during that performance. I think everything that happened that night was meant to stay there. The album was performed in its most primal state. After the night was over and one final delay later, the album was released. Like a prisoner finally being exonerated.

Jesus is King was met with mixed reception from critics and fans alike. I was happy with the end product but it was certainly one of those cases where the hype built around it was simply too great for what it was. West has a habit of doing this, the same thing happened to The Life of Pablo. However, this album feels different than the others. I noticed while researching and talking to a few of my friends that some criticisms were more valid than others.

So that’s my personal experience with the album. Now that you understand my stance on it, for the remainder of this article, I’m going to pull a few choice critiques out of a couple high-profile reviews and attempt to refute them. I’m not trying to be overly sympathetic when I admit that in recent history the world has not always been fair to Kanye West. This record is one of those times where people are turning a blind eye simply because they weren’t completely enthralled with the album. So here I am eight-hundred words into an article that has the capability to destroy whatever credibility I may or may not built over the time I’ve written here. All in the defense of a piece of art I genuinely found enjoyable.

The final paragraph of NPR’s review of Jesus is King discusses the insincerity of the record. NPR writer, Oliver Wang, says: “On one of the most traditional gospel songs on the album, “God Is,” he sings alongside the Sunday Service choir, his voice wavering and warbling. It’s an imperfect performance, but it feels like this is West trying to bare himself, to put aside ego and perfectionism in the face of something greater. For a moment, you can almost believe him.”

It’s a backhanded compliment if I’ve ever seen one but it’s also the most common criticism that has appeared. Sincerity is inherently subjective. Anyone can read Kanye’s tone however they wish to. What Wang ignores is the bigger picture. West has gone to great lengths to change up his act.  Take out the press, take out the hype, and look at what he’s saying. There’s no cussing, no provocative lyrics, no premarital sex, it’s as sacred as Sunday school. At this point in his career, there’s no way he could be doing this as an act even for publicity’s sake. Assuming this new persona is a product of his bipolar disorder isn’t a solid argument either. He’s stuck with this new character for quite some time, reportedly since April of this year and people with bipolar disorder usually don’t have episodes that last this long. Going as far as College Dropout which had a single literally titled “Jesus Walks” it’s clear West has always had at least one of his hands on the Bible. At the very least, it’s clear West believes what he’s saying even if all of still weighs down on his massive ego.

Moving onto Slate’s review, writer Carl Wilson touches on the lack of focused production on the record. Wilson says, “His main error, I think, is in not relying even more extensively on the choir and developing Jesus Is King into more of a complete gospel album, at the expense of being quite as much of a true Kanye record.”

The sonic aspects of Jesus is King has been highly contested among fans. Is this really a Gospel album? Why didn’t Kanye do X or Y?  Let’s be frank, Gospel is a highly malleable genre. A simple look at Gospels Wikipedia page explains Gospel music is vocally focused, with Christian lyrics, utilizes choirs and instruments ranging from simple drums to electric guitars. Just because Jesus is King does not confirm your preconceived notions about what Gospel is or should be doesn’t mean it isn’t. Limiting Kanye as an artist into the confines of a single sound isn’t fair in the slightest. West maintaining his production style isn’t a stylistic choice either. It sounds like a “Kanye record” still because it is one. This is his interpretation of the Gospel and should be taken as such.

By far the worst criticism I’ve heard levied at this record is one of pure ignorance. Time and time again I’ll hear the phrase “I’m not really religious, so this album isn’t really my thing” or “I don’t really agree with what Kanye says on this album.” It’s not so much that the statement itself is ignorant. Anyone can believe what they want to believe in. However, not being able to enjoy something simply because they don’t share the same beliefs as you is the definition of hubris. Hundreds of other rappers talk about God in their music and feature religious themes prominently. Perhaps not at the same level as Kanye, but many of them aren’t making any attempt to hide it. Kendrick Lamar, for instance, has dedicated much of his discography to glorifying God. In an interview with The New York Times, he even stated that he believes for many of his fans he is “the closest thing to a preacher that they have.”

So what’s the point of singling out West in this case? In any circumstance, an argument from ignorance is completely unacceptable and invalid. I implore everyone to listen to all music with an open mind. Whether you agree or not shouldn’t be the crux of your opinion, even for a Gospel album.

Now please don’t let my previous statements make you think I’m blinded from the fact that Jesus is King is far from perfect. That is not what I am trying to say here at all. The sad truth we all must face is that it isn’t. Much like most pieces of art, it’s flawed. West, like in most of his previous works, delivers some very interesting hot takes on his tracks. In Anthony Fantano’s review of the release, he justifiably criticizes West’s loose statements. He notes that West seems to use his faith to “indulge his persecution complex.” The parallels he draws to himself and Jesus Christ on “Selah” are not only completely tone-deaf but contradict the fact he also calls himself a “wretch” on the same track. These are just some of the flaws I’ve found while listening to Jesus is King a few times over. Nonetheless, I believe it’s still possible to appreciate this unusual little release.

It’s okay to recognize the issues of a piece of art while also enjoying it. While Jesus is King is far from a perfect record, that doesn’t make it a horrible one. Kanye West is always attempting to innovate in the music industry. In order to do that one also needs to fail. Perhaps this record is a failure, but its a positive one at that. I’m confident he will take this as a learning experience and continue to progress his sound. For now, we see through a glass darkly.

Interviewing someone with your dream job

brendan
Courtesy of Complex

Very few people ever get the opportunity to speak with someone who has their dream job, recently I had the privilege of becoming one of those people. For some time now, I’ve been dead set on becoming a journalist. This website is my primary effort. In the past year and a half I’ve written over 50 unique articles, but it’s not like I have any professional experience in the field.

Enter, Brendan Dunne. Dunne, 30, is a writer currently employed at Complex; a media outlet primarily focused on covering youth culture. His main responsibility involves running Complex’s Snapchat discover platform, and managing a lot of behind the scenes aspects of Sole Collector shows Full Size Run and Price the Hype. He is also featured prominently on both series as a mainstay co-host. Before this, Dunne studied linguistics at the University of Oregon and worked for Sneakernews on the side before being brought on fulltime in 2012. He found himself at Complex after Sole Collector editor in chief Gerald Flores brought him onto the team in 2014.

I don’t work on Sole Collector explicitly anymore but (I’m) still involved with a lot of projects, Full Size Run chief among them.

That’s a quote from Dunne himself. On Wednesday, Sept. 18 I had the privilege of speaking to Dunne personally over the phone amidst his busy work schedule and the ambient bustling noises of New York City. Dunne was the prime subject to interview about my dream job. He’s an experienced journalist and editor with a big hand in a media outlet I consume regularly and yes, he loves talking about sneakers the same as I do. Getting his contact information was not the simplest task but after a few days and sheer luck I got his personal email and we started talking almost immediately. Within a few days, we had a phone call scheduled.

When the day finally came I was nervous. How do you talk to someone you look up to? Someone who, in more ways than one, is your superior.  I was pretty shaky to start off but, Dunne’s congenial attitude and casual yet articulate manner of speaking put me at ease. The interview only lasted 15 minutes but what it lacked in runtime it made up for in substance.

I’m going to leave a transcript below of the last few questions of the interview. What follows is some of the best career advice I’ve ever received, from a gentleman who is well beyond his years in terms of heart.

What do you love about your job?

I love being able to be critical about sneakers because I feel like the scene as a whole is lacking that so I like having that opportunity to voice my opinion on those things and also I like the opportunity to talk to industry people or famous people who have sneaker histories that aren’t necessarily out there and kinda bring those stories out… I think there’s a lot of things, about like the Off-White stuff, for instance, that is valuable and that is good design but it’s so obvious. Those shoes I see every day so I’d rather just try and do something a little different or show people that I appreciate something a little different. 

What’s one misconception you think people have about your profession?

I think a lot of people think that when you’re in the sneaker world professionally whether you’re writing, blogging, making videos is that people are just going to send you free things… I guess the idea that it’s easy to just get whatever you want from these brands you know? People have to work really hard to make these connections and make these relationships or convince people in various positions of power across the industry that they are someone worth listening to or someone worth talking to, you know what I mean? It took a long time for us to be able to do something as bold as to make a show where we present the idea that our opinions matter. I had to do this for a long time before I could be that bold or before Welty could get on camera and have people trust his opinion. People don’t necessarily realize that it takes a lot of work to get to that point a lot of writing, he worked in retail for years, I wrote thousands of blog posts on this stuff. It wasn’t a short road.

If you were me right now, a college student, what would you be doing to get where you are right now?

I would be looking for stories that aren’t being told by sites like Complex because I think there are a lot of them. We’re at a time now where big media is realizing how important sneakers are to so many people or how even profitable the idea of covering them can be and I think that we’re only at the beginning when it comes to sneaker media. I think there’s a long ways to go and I think there’s a lot of stories that haven’t been told… I mean I wish I had time to tell ’em. Always new stones to turn over.

One last question here, have you ever resold sneakers?

Yes, I have. I have, I do, and I don’t have any qualms about it really anymore. Unless it’s like a shoe somebody gave to me, somebody close to me gifted me something, means something personally. Otherwise, I have and will continue to resell sneakers. Just don’t tell Welty.

Sorry, I had to ask that one.

Yeah of course. The most important question.

I look forward to what you continue to do in the future, I look forward to the new season of FSR. Which is coming out soon I believe?

Next week.

Next Week?

Yes, sir, that’s an exclusive. Put it out there.

Glad I got that one. Alright, thank you so much, Brendan, have a great day my friend.

You can follow Brendan Dunne on Instagram and soon enough Twitter. You can also see him on the Sole Collector channel as a co-host for Full Size Run and Price the Hype.

Ameer Vann comes back to the spotlight.

ameer.pngAfter about fifteen months of silence, Ameer Vann, ex-member of BROCKHAMPTON, has returned to the music scene with a brand new EP. Many had believed he had left the industry for good, for all his social media had been deactivated and the details surrounding his departure from BROCKHAMPTON were quite muddled. However, behind the scenes, there was a lot of pseudo communication between Ameer fans and their beloved artist.

For at least ten months, dedicated listeners have been communicating with Ameer’s uncle via YouTube comments on his videos. It’s certainly unorthodox but it worked for some time now. Here’s a quote from Ameer’s uncle from two weeks ago. Before this, a fan had thanked him for putting up with all the comments on his videos asking about Ameer and asked about details for his eventual comeback. His uncle had this to say afterward:

Well. I just thank you all for supporting him and not believing everything you see or hear. We don’t focus on negativity in this family and always try to encourage him and each other. And when he looks at the comments section in my videos and sees the love, he knows how much you all still love him and he appreciates that. Stay tuned. You’ll be hearing from him.

Fans of Ameer clung to the last sentence and soon after on Sept. 9th his Instagram was reactivated. From there on after, only minor changes would occur things like him unfollowing people, deleting his photos, and taking BROCKHAMPTON out of his bio. This lead fans to believe that something new was coming soon. They were right.

On Sept. 16, 2019, Vann posted a photo of a sign on Hollywood Boulevard that read “Ameer Vann, Available now, Emmanuel.” Ironically at this time, Emmanuel was not available fans were only able to listen by switching their location to areas like New Zeland on Apple Music. Emmanuel would end up being Ameer’s first project since leaving BROCKHAMPTON was released just last night on all major streaming platforms. Along with this, a music video for the titular track was also released the very same night.

As for the music itself its radically different than anything Vann did with BROCKHAMPTON. The production isn’t poppy and melodic. It’s percussion focused and harrowing. The production owes itself to legendary producers, Hit-boy, G-Dav, and Cool & Dre. All of which are very prominent producers in the rap industry who have worked with very big names like Kanye West and Travis Scott just to name a few.

Vann also experiments with different flows and articulation on this EP. It still sounds like Ameer Vann but something has definitely changed. Chalk it up to it being a different studio, or perhaps age but this is without a doubt, a different side of Ameer fans are just barely being exposed to. The only thing that remains relatively similar is lyrical content.

Yes, Ameer still references drugs. However, as heard in the title track, Ameer has a lot to say about his departure from the old boyband. He even makes a few posthumous references to a few verses from his old BROCKHAMPTON days. It’s only fair considering the fact they’re very liberal about him on their own records.

Along with all of these developments, there have also been some setbacks. Vann’s alleged victim has taken to Twitter announcing her withstanding opinion on him. Many have been quick to typecase Ameer fans as abuse sympathizers with little to no understanding of what that actually entails. The BROCKHAMPTON community is also very split on the issue. Many complained about the BROCKHAMPTON subreddit because Ameer-centric posts were being taken down by the moderators.

It would seem Vann’s return is a divisive one. On one hand, you have those who simply want to support Vann and his creative endeavors. On the other, you have those who want to see him fall. Is it truly worth separating the artist from their art? Or is this indicative of a much bigger problem in the music industry? One can decide for themselves what spectrum they want to be apart of.

Emmanuel is available on most streaming platforms

I wrote something new but it isn’t here.

As some of you may know Evan “Burning the Celluloid” Ambrose and I are pretty good friends. His website primarily focuses on critiquing the film industry. While I focus on analyzing music and other forms of media.

For a while now, we’ve wanted to write something together. Evan proposed a so-called duo-review. While I still don’t consider myself a reviewer, I couldn’t pass up the opportunity to talk about BROCKHAMPTON’s newest album. Evan and I have such differing views on music and different approaches to writing so I believe the article has a lot to offer for people on all sides of the viewing spectrum.

The review is up on Evan’s website and I will leave a link to it below. There’s a lot of hot takes and fun banter throughout the review. I had a blast creating it with Evan.

Aside from that, I have a few articles and interviews that are set to come out in the near future. I’m already working on my top albums of the year list too. Stay tuned.

The Review.

Disney Vs Sony: The harm of public opinion

spiderman far from home box officeIt was recently announced by Deadline that, beloved Marvel character, Spider-Man would no longer be present in the MCU due to legal issues with Sony. Since the Sam Raimi trilogy of Spider-Man films back in the mid-2000s Sony has owned all film rights for the usage of the Spider-Man character. However, in order to include Spider-Man in the MCU, Disney, who owns Marvel Studios, made an agreement with Sony. Up until now that agreement had long stood and carried them into Spider-Man: Far From Home.

The deal was simple and went something like this: Marvel would only attain 5 percent of first-dollar gross. So that initial box office day Sony receives an overwhelming amount of that. It seems like a bad deal until you realize that their agreement also meant that Disney would get one hundred percent of all merchandise sales. Which if Frozen was any indicator means that Disney would receive adequate compensation for the usage of the Spider-Man property.

Now after the release of Spider-Man: Far From Home and the announcement of the fourth phase of the MCU, Disney came back for a new deal which ultimately shook their creative ties with Sony. Disney’s new deal entailed a fifty-fifty co-financing arrangement between the studios. However, seeing that Spider-Man: Far From Home had just become Sony’s highest-grossing film of all time, they obviously declined the offer entirely. So now it would seem that all future MCU endeavors would have to continue without Spider-Man and any film using that IP would no longer include Kevin Feige as the lead producer.

However, this isn’t the only messy part of the story. Sony Pictures took to twitter to tie up a few loose ends and explain their thoughts on the matter specifically about Feige. The internet wasn’t ecstatic about it, to say the least. The hashtag “SaveSpidey” is now trending on twitter guided by a large group of people that have no idea what they’re actually talking about. Many are quick to villanize Sony for their apparent lack of understanding but simply just taking a step back to analyze the situation further will make the situation more clear.

Firstly, its about money for both sides. Many are claiming Sony is greedy simply because they didn’t want to extend the deal toward Disney more than they already were but one has to understand that this deal has stood for as long as Spider-Man has been in the MCU. That’s a three-year deal Disney was trying to completely flip on its head right after Spider-Man: Far From Home became Sony’s top-grossing film since Skyfall back in 2012. It’s astonishingly obvious why Sony would be hesitant about sharing their most valuable property.

Secondly, Sony has always owned Spider-Man. The Sam Raimi trilogy of Spider-Man films is essentially what kicked off the superhero film craze that has since become an industry standard. They got to the property first and did it playing square. It is their property which they are licensing out to another company. What they’re doing isn’t slimy or corrupt, it’s business.

Thirdly, it was Disney’s decision not to continue the deal and Feige’s to leave. There were plenty of negotiations that could have been met but Disney was simply not interested in that. It was reported in the Deadline exclusive that, Sony representatives did attempt to make configurations to their original deal, likely ones that would have accommodated their already established agreement. However, those were declined as well. So they reached an impasse and Disney ultimately dropped out and Feige severed ties with Sony himself. All due to the fact that they couldn’t take half of a property they never owned, to begin with.

It’s incredibly easy to shift the blame on to an unpopular company. Sony, who completely failed with their Spider-Man reboot back in 2012 and 2014, hasn’t received the best press since and isn’t the only offender in this situation. I implore everyone to look at the finer details before judging the two companies. Is Sony the lazy money-hungry entity trying to take credit for another company work or are they simply trying to take control of a property they own from an industry powerhouse that already owns many others? Well, that’s really up for you to decide, because with great power comes great responsibility.

Euphoria and its characters analyzed by a former high schooler.

Image result for euphoriaEuphoria is another one of those, teenage centric, celebrity produced, originals that, in the same vein as 13 Reasons Why, attempts to capture the true wonder and mystery of adolescence. Over the span of a few months, its garnered a very large fanbase and many are calling it one of the most brutally honest depictions of teenage life on television. While I beg to differ since this show was created by a man who hasn’t been in high school in 16 years, beneath all the dramatization there are a few painful truths that lie beneath.

Based on an Israeli series of the same name, Euphoria was created by Samuel Levinson, an American actor, screenwriter, and director.  Much of the show was based on the original series as it prominently features teens struggling with a life that mainly consists of drugs use and sex. However, Levinson’s personal struggles with drug abuse during his formative years also served as inspiration for those sections. That is the main crux of the story. The drug abuse, the misery that is bound to come with it, the struggles of attempting to quit, and the despair of failing several times.

When asked by an ATX representative about what separates Euphoria from the ongoing slew of dark, teenage melodramas, Levinson gave a non-commital answer saying he believed it was up to the audience to find their own answer. While this isn’t necessarily false it’s definitely unsatisfactory. So in an effort to defend a show I genuinely enjoyed, I will attempt to answer this question as well as how it holds up against actual contemporary highschool.

Firstly no, Euphoria is not the most realistic depiction of teenage life. It nails some things, completely misfires on others, and at some points just barely misses its mark. I will always maintain that the most realistic depiction of teen life is one that will actually cast teens as its lead actors. However, what Euphoria manages to ger right are typically what matters most to its central plot. Let’s discuss that first.

The drug addiction elements are right. The main character, Rue, throughout the show faces the ongoing challenge of substance abuse. The pain her family, friends and fellow NA members feel are very much indicative of how their real-life counterparts feel. Most people around me ended up falling into drugs during my high school life and along with them, I was forced to suffer the consequences. It’s the most gripping part of the story and therefore is most informed by real-life experience. I was never stupid enough to fall into such tendencies so my experience was very similar to Maude Apatow’s character Lexi Howard.

Lexi is a bystander, silently watching, and sometimes subject to the antics her drug-crazed, hormone influenced friends and family often find themselves getting into. She’s the one with the least amount of issues on the show and is also my favorite character. One may call her lazily written but there are a lot more Lexi’s out there than one would think. In the last episode, her character starts to get deconstructed which is all too real. She is mainly seen interacting with Rue despite the fact that her older sister, Cassie, is another prominent character in the show.

Cassies struggle has to do with her reputation and how her life is affected by it, which is another pretty realistic part of the show. During the show, she dates another character Mckay who just so happens to be in college. This is pretty common in high school but the most faithful facet of it has to do with how Cassie is typecast. She has to deal with the “slut” stereotype and because of that, she is treated differently by most men in the show. It’s somewhat painful watching this character interpreted. The only other couple on the show is Nate and Maddy which encapsulates the on again off again abusive couple. From their relationship derives the internal struggles between both of them characters which are pretty real in themselves.

I suppose if there was one thing that the show really struggled with it was with its writing. Toward the last stretch of episodes, the writing really begins to unravel and reveal awkward plot elements and holes. What Euphoria fights with the most is a classic case of “people don’t talk like that” or in this case “teenagers don’t talk like that.” While it may sound like I’m generalizing a lot here there really are some moments where the kids don’t really talk like kids.

I understand that there are some liberties that have to be taken as an adult writing for youths. However, some moments are utterly uncharacteristic. I do like that each character has their own level articulation, in the sense that some are very clearly more eloquent than others. However, in some cases, this has put Levinson into a corner and at times he’s had to make some characters more rational than they should be. Personally, I think Rue shouldn’t be as intelligent as she is in the show. She’s a drug-addicted teenager who as far as I know never excelled in school. While that doesn’t necessarily inform social ability as far as I’m concerned she should be grunting to communicate. It’s especially annoying during her moments of narration, she speaks like she’s reading off a script and not like she’s coming up with these thoughts herself.

I understand the initial question I posed was what made Euphoria stand out among its contemporaries however I wanted to explain those things before I answered it. I think what sets Euphoria apart from other shows like it, is that unlike them it doesn’t feel like a product. 13 Reasons Why has a commercial purpose, it attempted to jackpot off the current trivialized view of depression society has. On the other hand, Euphoria is very much a story personally tied with Samuel Levinson. Yes, it’s based off another show but Levinson purposely parallelled his life to it in order not to muddle its artistic integrity.

Euphoria isn’t a cautionary tale about drug abuse, although one could certainly take it that way. It’s more so telling the story that’s gripped its creator since their childhood. Look at the artistic choices in the show, its cinematography and focus on spectacle rather than the message. Even the last episode, despite being structurally faulty, the very final scene is so stylishly flared that its impossible to not recognize the passion and heart behind it. Euphoria is this surreal package that is just as confusing as the point of your life that it focuses on. It’s a good illustration of the simple fact that for as long as time continues to tick, the mystery of adolescence remains a mystery.

YBN Cordae releases much-anticipated debut album The Lost Boy

Image result for the lost boyAfter being inducted into this year’s XXL Freshman list Cordae has been riding off his newfound popularity and finally released a full-length album. Cordae has been trying to set himself apart from the current scape of contemporary rappers and focuses on introspective existential, lyrical music. In his XXL interview, he cited New York rapper, Big L as one of his greatest influences due to the fact his wordplay was so advanced. Just from the few singles, he had released before the album it was already clear he was quickly mastering this lyrical style of rapping.

While rappers like Earl Sweatshirt, Joyner Lucas, and Milo have come to define the contemporary form of lyrical rapping YBN Cordae finds himself sitting comfortably between them while still maintaining his unique charm. His rhyme schemes are complex but not impossible to follow. He can tell a deep story without seeming preachy. His punchlines are anticipated but never overstay their welcome. He harkens back to a time in hip-hop that many have expressed desires to return to.

Even when accompanied by well-established artists like Chance the Rapper and Pusha T Cordae still holds his own and never loses control of his song. He understands fully that this is his album and above all else, he is the focus. This point is very noticeable when you get down to the theme’s Cordae introduces throughout the album.

He doesn’t hesitate to get personal on this record, he frequently mentions his late grandmother and on “Family Matters” tells the many intricate yet depressing tales of his family. Once again in his XXL interview, he reveals that being a freshman was part of his vision and for a year he worked to achieve it. This record is the fruits of his labor and a testament to his longevity as an artist.

The Lost Boy is the best way to do a debut record. It’s unrelenting, personal, and most of all it’s a clear depiction of the creative direction he’s moving in as an artist.

The Lost Boy is available on Apple Music, Spotify, and most other music platforms.

Donald Trump vows to free A$AP Rocky

Image result for donald trump and asap rockyIn an unorthodox turn of events, President Donald Trump recently announced on social media his plans to help exonerate rapper A$AP Rocky from Swedish authorities. It all started earlier this month on July 3rd when he was arrested on suspicion of assault. He has been held in Swedish prison for over two weeks and now prosecutors have until the 25th to decide whether they want to charge him or not. If things go array the New York rapper could be looking at a long sentence.

This news shook the internet and caused forces from all over the country banded together to vindicate Rocky. One notable celebrity Kim Kardashian used her white house connections and on July 18th tweeted “Thank you @realDonaldTrump, @SecPompeo, Jared Kushner & everyone involved with the efforts to Free ASAP Rocky & his two friends. Your commitment to justice reform is so appreciated.”

The story continued to spiral and just today President Trump from his official twitter said, “Just spoke to @KanyeWest about his friend A$AP Rocky’s incarceration. I will be calling the very talented Prime Minister of Sweden to see what we can do about helping A$AP Rocky. So many people would like to see this quickly resolved!”

So it would seem this event will be coming to a close soon. With so many powerful forces at play its only natural, this dispute will be solved momentarily. Just hope that guys headphones were worth it.

UPDATE: JULY 25th

The deadline for the prosecutors has been reached and A$AP Rocky has been charged with assault and could be facing up to two years in Swedish prison. The trial date has not been set but is likely going to be happening very soon.

Donald Trump returned to Twitter to lash out at Swedish authorities. In a short series of tweets, Trump wrote, “Very disappointed in Prime Minister Stefan Löfven for being unable to act. Sweden has let our African American Community down in the United States. I watched the tapes of A$AP Rocky, and he was being followed and harassed by troublemakers. Treat Americans fairly! #FreeRocky.” The tread continues, “Give A$AP Rocky his FREEDOM. We do so much for Sweden but it doesn’t seem to work the other way around. Sweden should focus on its real crime problem! #FreeRocky.”

Following this thread, some people have started to put A$AP in their twitter handles in support of A$AP Rocky. This is truly an unfortunate turn of events.

UPDATE: AUGUST 2nd

As of today, A$AP Rocky has been released from Swedish prison.

Forbes video reveals hundreds of new Yeezy samples

Today the popular American business magazine: Forbes released an article and video detailing the process behind the creation of Kanye West’s Yeezy line. In said video, hundreds of Yeezy samples were shown in the classic sneaker wheel format. Among them were some unreleased Yeezys yet to be officially announced and or released.

Yeezy 350 V3
Yeezy 451
Yeezy Basketball

Aside from that, the video is incredibly interesting. Kanye West is an incredibly fascinating artist who’s known for his vibrant and sometimes off-kilter personality. However, the video itself doesn’t focus much on him but his creations. It’s a nice change of pace from the usual publicity he’s been known to receive to the past. While some of his quirks still manage to rear its way into his interactions with the interviewer it’s equally as easy to pick up on the passion he speaks with as he reminisces about the Yeezy line.

Once again, Kanye thanks the popular anime film Akira for inspiring the creation of the Yeezy brand but he also cites the Lamborgini as another big influence. He even goes as far as to call the Yeezy “the Lamborgini of shoes.” When asked about numbers Kanye responded with “I’m not a numbers guy” and then launched into a long-winded speech about how you cant calculate the love you feel when creating something by using a complicated metaphor about the interviewer’s grandmother.

The article and video are strangely entertaining and getting to new Yeezy’s up close and personal are very exciting. Hopefully, the world will get to see these models relatively soon. We are running on Kanye time after all.

The full article can be found here: Kanye’s Second Coming: Inside The Billion-Dollar Yeezy Empire