By Brandon C. Kesselly, Staff Writer
In 2007, the realm of hip-hop was introduced to someone spectacular. A man calling himself Jay Electronica released “Act I: Eternal Sunshine (The Pledge)“, a 15 minute song in which he rapped continuously over Jon Brion’s soundtrack to “Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind”. It was, to put it short, a breath of fresh air to see someone unique to the genre with a poetic approach, incredible rhyme scheme and a willingness to take risks with his projects.
In 2008, he began working with legendary producer Just Blaze (Jay Z’s “Public Service Announcement,” T.I.’s “Live Your Life”) to work on his first two singles: “Exhibit A” and “Exhibit C”. Both tracks were met with critical acclaim, and everyone was poised for more. By 2010, he was signed to Jay Z’s Roc Nation and announced his debut studio album “Act II: Patents of Nobility (The Turn)”.
But it never happened.
It has been many years since a full project from Jay Electronica has been released. He was featured on a few Roc Nation mixtapes with Jay Z and J. Cole in 2010 and 2011, with new songs like “The Ghost of Christopher Wallace” featuring Diddy and “Shiny Suit Theory” featuring Jay Z. In 2012, he famously tweeted a picture of the album’s track list and announced that it was complete, and that Jay Z was looking for a single from the album for promotional purposes. Alas, nothing came about, and the album was again delayed.
It was not until 2013 that Jay Electronica became a more prominent artist. He made guest appearances on five different songs, collaborating with the likes of Mac Miller, The Bullitts, Rapsody and, most notably – with Big Sean and Kendrick Lamar for “Control” (in which Lamar’s verse names Electronica as one of his competitors). Now, the stage was set for his return and he needed a strong comeback.
On Sunday, a new song surfaced: a remix of “We Made It” by Soulja Boy and Drake. This remix featured the likes of Jay Electronica and Jay Z. In the song, the two make numerous references to slavery and the recent Academy Award-winning film 12 Years a Slave. This was the second song featuring Jay Electronica to be released in a month, following “better in tune w the infinite” featuring LaTonya Givens.
“We Made It” has been generating a lot of controversy over Jay Z’s comments toward Drake, but the bigger buzz right now is what does this mean for Jay Electronica? Is it finally his turn? Will “Act II” be released this year? Keep your eyes and ears peeled!
By Brandon Kesselly, Staff Writer
Over the last few decades, the genre of hip hop has slowly been evolving. With each year, each new artist that has risen to ‘mainstream’ status has brought something new to the table (for better or for worse). Certain artists constantly push the boundaries either lyrically, sonically or both. Others tend to fly under the radar with a few notable songs. Sometimes, the producer has even outshined the artist, but one thing has remained clear: the genre has been progressing every year.
During the ‘90s, which has been dubbed the “Golden Age of Hip Hop,” the rise of popular rappers such as the Notorious B.I.G (Biggie), Tupac Shakur (2Pac), Nas or Jay-Z showcased the different directions in which the genre could progress. After the deaths of B.I.G. and Shakur, who were already locked in a deadly feud, Jay and Nas had their own feud.
Biggie and 2Pac are the most controversial artists of the era and the genre – with Biggie perfecting Big Daddy Kane’s braggadocio rap style and 2Pac adapting Slick Rick’s storytelling to fit his own tales. Jay succeeded Biggie as the big bragger, and Nas succeeded 2Pac as the dark storyteller and preacher as the 90s became the new millennium, what I like to call the New Age of Hip Hop.
New Age hip hop artists that became crucial movers and shakers were Eminem, Lil Wayne, 50 Cent and Kanye West. Eminem – who sold more albums than anyone else in this era – was the former protege of NWA rapper/producer Dr. Dre. Wayne was the adopted son and rising young rapper of Birdman; 50 was discovered by Eminem and became a hitmaker; and Kanye was the underdog producer-turned-rapper with an attitude that wanted to outshine his mentor, Jay-Z.
As the years went on, these names constantly popped up all over the genre as the biggest names in “the game” (despite OutKast and Lauryn Hill snagging DIAMOND albums). But eventually Eminem took a break and 50 lost his album duel to Kanye West as both released their 3rd studio albums on the same day. In the meantime, Wayne had released a stellar series of albums and mixtapes that had him claiming to be the “best rapper alive.” By 2010, Kanye and Lil Wayne were arguably the biggest names in hip hop during the 2000s.
2011 proved to be a good year as well for both of these titans as Kanye collaborated with Jay-Z for Watch the Throne and Lil Wayne released the best-selling hip hop album of the year with Tha Carter IV (which went double platinum). Both had also put together strong labels in West’s G.O.O.D. Music and Wayne’s Young Money Entertainment – a move that rising titan Rick Ross soon mirrored in his Maybach Music Group.
But with the rise of these new labels and their respective talents, I ask one question: who’s next? Who will be the big hip hop star of this decade?
Some names have already been thrown onto the table, names such as Drake, Nicki Minaj, J. Cole, Big Sean, Kendrick Lamar, Meek Mill, A$AP Rocky, the list goes on. What I am asking is that in another 10, 20 or 30 years, who will be controlling the genre?
As of August 2013, only three hip hop artists that debuted in the current decade have gone platinum: Drake, Nicki Minaj and Kendrick Lamar. Drake has two platinum albums. Nicki has two platinum albums. Kendrick has one. These three are the current stars of the genre. Who will join them? Who will end at the top?
By Maya Devereaux, Staff Writer
While hailing from the town that inspired West Egg in F. Scott Fitzgerald’s The Great Gatsby certainly adds to my excitement for Baz Luhrmann’s film adaptation out next week. A long list of other factors account for my increasing enthusiasm— the soundtrack and Leonardo DiCaprio, just to name a few.
The star-studded cast, which includes Leonardo DiCaprio, Tobey Maguire, Carey Mulligan, Joel Edgerton and Isla Fisher, seems to be going head to head with the also star-studded soundtrack that has been recently revealed to the public. Jack White’s rendition of U2’s “Love is Blindness,” can be heard in the film’s first official trailer. The rendition is enough to send chills down your spine as you watch Leo’s character Jay Gatsby toss his abundance of silky shirts at Daisy Buchanan in the novel’s famous scene.
To name-drop a few artists in the fabulous line-up: Gotye, Sia, Fergie, Will.i.am, the xx, Lana Del Rey, Florence and the Machine, Beyoncé, and Jay-Z. An article on MTV describes Lana Del Rey’s “Young and Beautiful,” the film’s original song, as somber-sounding, which seems only fitting for the mood of the film.
In case you haven’t yet seen the trailer or any of Luhrmann’s other films for that matter, they are over the top. So who better to include in the soundtrack than Beyonce? Combined with Andre 3000, she has produced a cover to Amy Winehouse’s “Back to Black.” Though many are thrilled by the sultry and dark cover, Winehouse’s family is certainly not, especially Winehouse’s father.
According to an article by the Huffington Post, Mitch Winehouse, father of the late singer, has taken to Twitter to voice his discontent with the portrayal. He says the cover “doesn’t bring anything to his daughter’s 2006 original.” Winehouse also states in a tweet from April 2 that he had no idea his daughter’s song was going to be covered by Beyoncé. In response to multiple tweets from the disgruntled father, fans from both parties have taken to the Internet to defend both sides.
One thing for sure is that Baz Luhrmann’s take on the 1920s novel and his overall filmmaking style demand something unique from its predecessor— the 1974 adaptation with Robert Redford— both musically and stylistically.
Check out the trailer below:
By Jasmine Ferrell, Staff Writer
Justin Timberlake recently released a single called “Suit and Tie” featuring Jay-Z, and it’s kinda turning out to be a big deal. Rolling Stone magazine stated that it after the high was projected to be his best week in song sales ever, which is saying a lot considering Timberlake’s previous success. The whole album, The 20/20 Experience, won’t be released until March 19, but until then, let’s all gather around our dormitory heaters and reminisce about the highlights of J.T.’s memorable existence.
He got started on “The New Mickey Mouse Club”, but who really cares about pre-eye candy JT? It all really started in the age of the boy bands, where as a member of N*Sync he charmed his way into every girl’s heart with his bleached hair and ultimate swag.
- While Justin was in N*Sync, they released a couple pretty big hits, likely to have been played at a couple of your school dances. There were the classics like, “Tearing up my Heart” and “Girlfriend,” but nothing can compare to the glory that is “Bye Bye Bye.” That song marks a generation.
- He also dappled a bit in acting and his first film happened to be a little Disney channel number called Model Behavior. A poetic tale of two girls switching places, and wouldn’t you know it? JT plays a love interest.
- Then there was the first solo experience: Justified. His debut CD was released in 2002 and was released at the number two spot on the Billboard charts. It also leads to yet another monument in JT history, the single “Cry Me a River.”
- The whole JT and Britney thing was actually a highlight in itself. What romance of the early 2000’s could’ve been more perfect? Two of the top pop culture icons merging into one glorious couple, brings tears to my eyes still.
- Later in the decade brought more acting to Justin, but more importantly his most famous contribution yet. Future Sex/Love Sounds. Is it even necessary to explain this? No.
Now as we journey closer to the present things die down. Justin seemed to go on a musical hiatus as he acted in some more movies (all rather hit or miss) and well you know, got married. But man, is it good to have him back where he belongs. Let us all gather and celebrate a man we all grow up with and say to the world:
“If you wanna fly, Come and take a ride, Take a space ride with a cowboy, baby.”