The Vignette: J. Cole, The Blow Up, & Your New Year

“Keep grinding, boy. Your life can change in one year. And even when it’s dark out, the sun is shining somewhere.”
– J. Cole, “Premeditated Murder

Resolution

J. Cole has grown and progressed during his time as a recording artist. (Photo credit to Candice Rose & The Come Up Show, respectively)

As 2013 nears its closing moments, it’s safe to say that a good number of us will take the time to reflect on the year as a whole. Between a spoonful of black eyed peas and a big sip of your cider of choice, chances are your thoughts may drift to become those of an introspective nature. Before the dust settles, you will analyze, pick apart, compare, and contrast your year to years previous, as well as the years of others. The resulting thought pattern almost always consists of us identifying at least one area in which we are willing to commit to improving – commonly referred to as a resolution. Giving up soda and fried foods. Losing the extra inches off of your waist. Committing more time to your loved ones. Is anything ringing a bell? If so, then you probably catch my drift. Continue reading

The Reviews: BJ The Chicago Kid – “A Soulful Christmas” EP

“This song is for all those people that [are] putting all that crazy stuff
on their Christmas list. You don’t even use half of the stuff you’ve got.”

BJ

The irony of the words we use lies in the manner in which their meanings can change depending on your interpretation of them and how they are used in a sentence. The above quote is the first thing the Listener hears when BJ The Chicago Kid’s latest project, A Soulful Christmas EP, begins playing. At first listen, it is easy to take BJ’s words at face value and perceive him to mean that this latest project is a short and sweet gift to his fans for them to enjoy during the holidays. However, with more thought, it could also be that the statement is referring to BJ’s development and progression as an artist in recent years, and his future plans of harnessing his growth to deliver great music. Either meaning you apply to the quote turns out to be an accurate assessment, though, as the kid from the windy city fulfills both of these meanings to the best of his abilities on his holiday-themed EP. Continue reading

The Rap Up: Week of December 23, 2013

The Listening Magazine is back, once again, to let you know about the hottest news and music to come out of this week!

Rap Up

This Week In Music:
The minds behind the immensely popular Rap Genius lyrics website are in hot water this week after attempting to “hack” or “bypass” Google servers in the quest for new viewership. Rap Genius co-founder Mahbod Moghadam attempted to gain this viewership by partnering with pre-existing blogs and essentially using them to link-build, a genius sneaky move for the website that would result in massive traffic. Google, however, was made aware of these actions and subsequently punished Rap Genius by moving their results off of the front page of the Google search engine. If the plan would have come to fruition, Rap Genius would be the extreme beneficiary of a database of Justin Bieber’s lyrics. Continue reading

The Hype: Air Yeezy II “Red October” Release Teased

“You ain’t got no Yeezy(s)?!”The Models

Yeezy

The 2013 holiday season has been, as it usually is, a hectic one for sneakerheads worldwide. With the release of several notable pairs of kicks (Gamma Blue Jordan XIs, Taxi Jordan XIIs, Retro Air Zoom Flights, and new LeBron 11 & KD VI colorways, among others), one would assume that collectors would be satisfied with the pickups they may have made in recent weeks. Yet and still, Nike had one last bomb to drop on us, as they announced that the highly sought after Air Yeezy II “Red October” would be released exclusively via Foot Locker’s online store. However, the culture was crushed just as quickly as it was cultivated when the planned released was cancelled days later. Continue reading

The Listening Magazine’s Favorite Artists of 2013

Favorite Artists of 2013

‘Twas the night before Christmas, and all through the house, not a creature was stirring…

Well, this isn’t entirely true. In reality, your parents are somewhere attempting to shatter the world record for the least amount of noise made while wrapping presents. Your younger siblings are probably huddled around the family room television watching The Grinch, waiting to catch the elusive Saint Nick and deliver his snicker doodles alongside his glass of milk. For fear of being annoyed by the young ones, your relatives are poking around every room other than the guest room in search of nothing in particular. And you? Well, you could’ve been anywhere in the world, but you’re here with us. And we appreciate that. To show you how thankful we are, The Listening presents our list of our favorite artists of the year 2013. Whether you are looking for your latest music fix, grasping for midnight-hour stocking stuffer ideas, or biding your time until the gifts are unwrapped, we’ve got you covered.

Continue reading