The popularity of fads changes as surely as the seasons do. As human beings, we constantly influence one another with our contrasting behavioral patterns and thought processes, commonly resulting in us turning the “it” thing into something that can go from being flavor of the month to being out of style, and back again. However, when a trend becomes more transcendent and everlasting, it becomes what is known as a movement. While rare in comparison to the frequency of a fad, a movement has an undeniable presence and drastically affects our lifestyles. And when it comes to movements, A Tribe Called Quest qualified just as well in the 90’s as the natural beauty movement for women does today. Continue reading
The Week In Music:
Late last week, hip hop artist Doe B. was shot and killed in Alabama at Centennial Hill Bar & Grill. An Alabama native and emcee signed to T.I.’s Hustle Gang label, Doe B. was one of eight people in total who were victims of the gunfire at Centennial (six others were wounded, one other person was killed). This week, Doe (born Glenn Thomas) and his unfortunate killing have made the news once again as a suspect has been arrested after turning himself in, and faces two counts of capital murder. Thomas’ killing is one of several unfortunate incidents of its kind which have occurred in recent times, and serves as a reminder that the hip hop community still has issues that need solutions. Thomas was a mere 22 years old.
For the third week in a row, Beyoncé’s self-titled visual album claimed the top spot on the Billboard 200 albums chart. After releasing an additional video last week, it seems as though the R&B queen has an unstoppable momentum attached to her at the moment. It will be interesting to see how Beyoncé’s latest controversy with NASA over the sampling of The Challenger space shuttle tragedy (which resulted in the deaths of seven astronauts in 1986 and is sampled on “XO” from the new album) will affect her stock in the near future.
Finally, international artist MIA announced that she is no longer involved with Jay-Z’s Roc Nation management. After signing with the management team in mid-2012, her Matangi album was all but shelved until about a month ago. The split comes after a noted rift between the two entities, as MIA has previously alluded to both abandoning her team and needing Kickstarter in the future. It will be interesting to see where the multi-faceted artist’s career goes from here, with her number one dance/electronic album Matangi recently released and her being under new management.
Justin Timberlake sold the most albums in 2013, while Robin Thicke had the biggest hit
KISS to play first ever outdoor hockey game in LA’s Dodger Stadium
New cryptocurrency named after Kanye West set to launch
Eve and billionaire fashion designer Maximillion Cooper now engaged
New Bruce Springsteen album High Hopes arrives early on Amazon
Alicia Keys and Blackberry no longer partners in business
Drake – “Trophies”
A$AP Ferg – “Hood Pope” (Video)
Timothy Bloom – “Stand In The Way (Of My Love)”
Nicki Minaj – “Boss A** B****” (Remix) (ft. PTAF)
Vampire Weekend – “Step” Remix (ft. Heems & Despot of Das Racist & Danny Brown)
Audio Push – “Tis The Season” (ft. Joey Bada$$) (Video)
Angel Haze – Dirty Gold (Album)
Hot 100: Eminem – “The Monster” (ft. Rihanna)
Radio: Eminem – “The Monster” (ft. Rihanna)
Digital: Pitbull – “Timber” (ft. Ke$ha)*
200: Beyoncé – Beyoncé
R&B/Hip Hop: Beyoncé – Beyoncé
Rock: Lorde – Pure Heroine
Independent: Garth Brooks – Blame It On My Roots
Last month, retail companies worldwide put forth their best and most notable products for consumers to gift during the holidays. Included in this group are sneaker companies, evidenced by the quality and notoriety of the releases that occurred within the last month (LeBron X Dunkman, various KD XIs, Oregon Foamposite One, Gamma Blue XIs, Taxi & Gamma Blue XIIs, etc.). With 2013 officially in our rear view, these entities will now shift their focus towards carrying the holiday season momentum into the new year. Here are the hottest upcoming sneaker releases of January 2014.
Nike Lunar Ballistec
The upcoming Lunar Ballistec is a tennis shoe that draws inspiration from the plethora of basketball and football models that Nike has recently released. Designed for optimal quickness on the tennis court, the Ballistec is about half as heavy as a normal shoe, weighing in at 10 ounces flat. The upper portion of the shoe is synthetic leather and mesh material, which also uses flywire technology. The foam core Lunarlon technology forms the full-length midsole, while the stripped outsole is designed using outrigger technology. The Nike Lunar Ballistec is set to launch worldwide on January 2nd at Nike.com.
Nike SB Lunar One Shot
Continuing with shoes designed with Lunarlon technology, the Nike SB Lunar One Shot is a skateboarder’s fantasy. Tagged as “a wolf in sheep’s clothing”, the One Shot is comprised of several components which make it the one of the better skate shoes on the market. The shoe features a padded heel, mesh heel pocket, flexible herringbone outsole, a Hyperscreen traction layer, Lunarlon cushioning, and two-piece construction. Although the shoe comes with a hefty price tag for skatewear (US$110), the One Shot may very well be the future of skateboard sneakers.
Nike KD XI “Away II”
After experiencing a huge boost in popularity, the Kevin Durant signature shoe line from Nike looks to continue its tremendous success with the release of more colorways of the KD VI. Enter the “Away II” model, utilizing a black base with accents of vivid blue, volt, and dark gray to craft a second pair of kicks for the Oklahoma City star to match with his road uniform. The usage of volt color and precision timing print on the sneaker symbolizes Durant’s ability to strike at any time while on the court. With a suggested retail of US$130, expect to see the newest KD Vis to release on January 11th.
Jordan X “Bobcats” & “Infrared”
The Jordan brand will stick to the retro releases at the top of the year, unleashing two new colorways of the shoe that Jordan wore in his first return to the NBA. The “Bobcats” colorway is a pretty straightforward concept, utilizing the color scheme of the team which Jordan holds ownership of, with a wolf grey leather upper dominating the shoe. The “Infrared” model features a mostly charcoal grey suede upper with black and infrared accents. Both pairs are set to release on January 11th for US$170.
Reebok Kamikaze I “White/Black/Dark Green”
After the successful retro of the Kamikaze II last year, Reebok is now deciding to bring back the original Kamikaze model that first became popular in the mid-90s. The first colorway of this release will be the “Sonics” model, which is influenced by former Seattle Supersonics star Shawn Kemp and accents a black base with white and dark green counter-blocking. Look for the Kamikaze I to hit Reebok retailers on January 17th for US$115.
Nike Air Max 90 PRM “Navy/Volt”
The classic Air Max 90 design receives another premium colorway in the upcoming Navy/Volt scheme. The shoes is simple is design, yet extremely attractive in its simplicity. The shoes navy blue upper is made of premium suede, and is accented by tonal leather swooshes and a volt tongue logo. The feature which makes the shoe pop is the midsole, which features a strong volt color on the half closest to the heel. The contrast provides character for the entire shoe, and should make this one a favorite when it drops on January 20th.
“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.”
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 Listening Magazine is back, once again, to let you know about the hottest news and music to come out of this week!
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
“When you talk about longevity, you can’t base that on one year, or six months, or eight months, or anything like that… I was speaking to anybody who’s riding with me for the long run, and who’s looking for the next thing for me to do”.
–Wiz Khalifa on his comments in “Strictly For My Taylors”
A quick flashback to last year would be indicative of Wiz Khalifa’s meteoric rise to stardom. At this time in 2011, Wiz had just released his major label debut Rolling Papers to lackluster reviews after experiencing his first mainstream success behind the hit record “Black And Yellow”.
Fast forward and TGOD supporters around the world rejoice as the 24 year-old Pittsburgh native is back on the scene with his newest project Taylor Allderdice. Named after Wiz’s high school alma mater, the project shows a return to the form he had prior to his Atlantic Records venture. During that span, Wiz enlisted a shortlist of producers and engineers (Sledgren, Cardo, Big Jerm, Johnny Juliano, I.D. Labs) to create synth-heavy, bass-blaring, listener-engaging instrumentals which were crafted specifically to fit his signature deliveries and lyrical content, the latter of which is centered on his heavy usage of marijuana and his party lifestyle. Taylor Allderdice sees Wiz bringing back a sound which fans have come to expect from him, and that’s definitely not a bad thing.
The qualities and characteristics of Taylor Allderdice are largely comparable to some of Wiz’s more recent works. For instance, the more aggressive atmosphere which Wiz attempted to achieve with Cabin Fever has a presence on Taylor Allderdice. With songs like “Taylor Gang” and “Homicide” being huge fan favorites last year, it’s good to see Wiz incorporating this sound into this new project with records like “Guilty Conscience”, “T.A.P.”, and “The Code”. Simultaneously, fans of Kush & Orange Juice will appreciate the cohesive sound of Taylor Allderdice. Whether it’s the flow-heavy rapping and melodic choruses which spawn memorable records, or if it’s the familiar production styles and thematic interludes which provide a packaging for those records, Taylor Allderdice sees Wiz and the gang perfectly meshing these essential song qualities in order to craft a project which is wholly enjoyable and plays like a soundtrack fitting of a stoner lifestyle (no Mac and Devin…).
Taylor Allderdice has several standout tracks for the listeners to enjoy. The inaugural record “Amber Ice” is likely to be the smoothest opening to any of Wiz’s projects to date, while “Mary 3x” is more than serviceable as the “weed song” this time around. The beauty of Taylor Allderdice is that the project gets better after it reaches its midpoint. “Rowland” (track 10) features fellow emcee Smoke DZA and captures a vibe which is faintly reminiscent of Wiz’s How Fly days with Curren$y. “My Favorite Song” sees the Academy Award-winning Taylor Gang member Juicy J make his first of three straight appearances on the project. The song is produced by Rob Halladay (of Yung Berg “Sexy Lady” fame) and is slightly infectious to say the least. Next up, the SpaceGhostPurrp-produced “T.A.P.” slows the pace and brings a more bass-heavy production for Wiz and Juicy J to takeoff to. Finally, a Lex Luger production finds its home on the project as “The Code” lets the Taylor Gang (Wiz, Chevy Woods, Juicy J, & Lola Monroe) engage in a new-school posse cut. While the momentum gained by these four records is somewhat lost after the project fails to go out with a bang, Wiz’s effort is still commendable.
In summary, Wiz Khalifa fans will appreciate and enjoy Taylor Allderdice for the foreseeable future and add it to their collection of Pittsburgh-penned marijuana music. Hopefully, this project is foreshadowing of good things to come for Wiz and the Gang.
+Serves as a nice rebound from Rolling Papers
+Returns to the use of in-house producers/engineers, with efficient use of outside production
+Further demonstrates Wiz’s ability to craft cohesive projects
+ “Mary 3x”, “Rowland”, “T.A.P.”, “The Code”
–Closes out with lackluster, filler-quality songs
–Shows a lack of growth in terms of subject matter; no expansion or evolution
–“Brainstorm”, “Number 16”, “Blindfolds”