All posts by Ambush Vin

[AltWire Interview] LEX The Lexicon Artist

Al and Omayra sit down with LEX The Lexicon Artist to discuss her unique brand of 'weird smart rap'!

Main Photo Credit: Anthony Bongco

AltWire [Omayra]: So what can you tell me about yourself that you want your future fans to know?

Lex the Lexicon Artist: I’m LEX The Lexicon Artist. I write weird smart rap. I’m from Taipei, Taiwan, and currently live in Oakland, California. I started this project to share my unique perspective on the world as a third-culture in-betweener navigating multiple cultural and social intersections in the US. It’s since become my primary vehicle of writing odd, funny, relatable stories of my life through song.

AltWire [Al Gibson]: Why do you consider it weird? Because its unique? Or honestly because its weird to you as well?

LEX The Lexicon Artist: I’ve been told that I have a unique voice (literally and figuratively) and that my perspective and approach isn’t one that’s very common in music. I personally think it’s weird because I look weird and do weird things on stage. There’s not exactly a way for me to look like a “real rapper” and feel like I’m being authentic, so I’m just true to myself and the things I do and say in all my weird glory. As a kid I never fit into any cliques, so now I want all the oddballs to feel like they belong.

AltWire [Omayra]: Have you dealt with any criticism because of your rap style? If so, how have you handled it?

LEX The Lexicon Artist: Actually and thankfully, I haven’t. I’ve performed in front of many different types of crowds, from rock to “gangsta rap” to conscious hip-hop to even stand-up comedy fans, and I find that my style of rap actually speaks to something in each of those groups. It’s been nice to know that my music transcends genre well and is appealing to a diverse range of tastes. I know it’s coming, though. As an Asian American doing rap, there’s going to be at least one person who thinks I’m culturally appropriating. I’d like to think that I’m not – one of my rules is to never pretend to have had experiences that I’ve never had, or wear or say anything that doesn’t feel authentic. That’s why I don’t wear “hip-hop fashion” or put on an accent. I have respect for the roots of hip-hop, AND I’m using the spoken form of rap to make something that’s true to me, across a variety of sound palettes. Despite that, there will still be people who say I’m a poser, that I’m a joke, that I’m an appropriator, that I’m “not real hip hop”. People can say things. I don’t have to listen.

AltWire [Al]: That is an amazing way to think and I’d like to see more music creators think that way. Especially in these days of uniformity becoming the standard, as opposed to being viewed as ground-breaking because you’re different. Do you feel as if the music industry is taking a turn for the worse? Or are we witnessing a transition time where the best is yet to come?

LEX The Lexicon Artist: Thank you! I don’t think it’s taking a turn for the worse. It never has – trend bubbles like dubstep (2013) and trap (today) always pop, and good music always stays good. As far as musical trends, I think we’re seeing a revival of organic instruments. I opted to work with Klopfenpop because his production incorporates very organic sounds and he has a solid musical background in many live instruments, often playing them for collaborators in live shows. When I do live shows, I do them with a band because it has such a bigger visual and sonic impact and presence. I think people are gradually getting tired of producers spamming 808 hi hats, and they’re turning back to the sounds of live drums and guitars again. It obviously still needs to sound modern, but I think the most successful up-and-coming musicians are the ones who are taking advantage of that trend and combining it effectively with electronic production – one example I can think of would be London’s AKA George.

AltWire [Omayra]: So your song, “artist anthem”, relates to many artists. Was this song based on your personal journey?

LEX The Lexicon Artist: Yeah. It was a weird idea. It stemmed from a conversation with a friend where the conclusion was that I actually had really low self-esteem despite my artist persona saying otherwise. Being an entertainer gives me a lot of anxiety and is certainly not the easiest life to live. But at the end of the day I’d much rather have a shot at success and fulfillment than be “normal” or in a 9-5, which is reflected in the end of the music video.

Photo Credit: Jason Chew

Photo Credit: Jason Chew

 

AltWire [Omayra]: What advice would you give to up and coming artists going through this process?

LEX The Lexicon Artist: Be collaborative, not competitive. People can like both Kanye and Eminem – in fact, most hip-hop fans do. Just because someone’s in your scene and similar to you doesn’t mean they’re “stealing fans from you”. In fact, their fans are even more likely to be your fans. Work with your peers and be a part of different scenes. You’ll have a much wider reach than if you limit yourself to one pool of artists/fans.

Be fun live. Energy is everything. When fans see shows, the biggest thing they’ll remember is how your performance made them feel. Have great lyrics and music, and a killer stage show, and people will be talking about you to their friends after they leave. Making sure you’re reaching new people through the live medium is one of the best ways to build a following as you move forward.

AltWire [Omayra]: That’s great advice! So what are some personal hobbies you enjoy?

LEX The Lexicon Artist: I like to joke that there’s pretty much nothing to my life other than music. It’s about half-true. I’m also a theater fan, so I like seeing plays and musicals. My not-so-secret dream is to be a lead actor in a musical. I like writing, too. That’s where I got my creativity started. I still want to write a best-selling novel and regularly come up with ideas that are very much LEX ideas, but in novel form.

AltWire [Al]: When can we expect to hear more from you? Is there an album in the works?

LEX The Lexicon Artist: Yep. I’m working on my debut self titled LP, The Lexicon Artist. This is the lead single. The album will be done by the summer, probably May, maybe later. Until then, look out for more singles from the album dropping as the date approaches. I’ve also been releasing remix albums of my previous work on LEX is More, and the next one, Glasses, will be out sometime before then, too. I’m looking forward to a productive first half of the year!

AltWire [Omayra]: We all look forward to more music, but before we close do you have a message you’d like to send to your fans and our readers?

LEX The Lexicon Artist: Thank you, Omayra and Al, for having me on. You can find me on every streaming platform, on Facebook, and on Twitter and Instagram as lextheconartist. Same for Klopfenpop! I’m stoked for everyone to hear what’s coming. And for any fans outside the San Francisco Bay Area – if you want me to come to your city, send me a message and I’d love to make it happen. Thank you again!

Gasparilla Music Festival

Gasparilla Music Festival Reveals The Roots and Father John Misty as Headliners

The Gasparilla Music Festival presented by Cigar City Brewing have unveiled the initial lineup of acts that will be performing at the 7th Annual Gasparilla Music Festival taking place March 10-11, 2018 in downtown Tampa. More performers will be announced in the coming weeks.

The Roots will be headlining Saturday, March 10th and multiple 2018 Grammy® Award nominee, Father John Misty will be headlining Sunday March 11th.

Rounding out the early line up:

Spoon

Break Science (Live Band)

Mondo Cozmo

The Cave Singers

The War & Treaty

KOLARS

Eric Tessmer Band

Imagination Movers – headlining Kids Fest

GMF’18 will feature over 40 bands across 4 stages along Riverwalk in downtown Tampa. Each year the festival has grown in size and breadth with an eclectic assortment of music hand-picked to inspire as well as entertain. In addition to diversity of sounds, the Gasparilla Music Festival offers a variety of experiences including a wellness kickoff early Saturday morning. Last year,  the fest hosted its first everDubb Tenn Yoga and Ride the Park, a stationary bike ride which served as a fundraiser for GMF’s Recycled Tunes program.

The annual festival celebrates the Tampa community and culture with local culinary delights, activities for families, performances by local artisans, aerialists, crafters, dancers, drum circles, elaborate hair-braiders, double dutch jumpers, pop-up performers, marching bands and more. Once again, the fest within a fest Kids Fest will include the Glazer Children’s Museum where in addition to the activities  award winning Imagination Movers will perform and the entire museum will be open to the public with free admission.

 

Tickets to the festival are available at www.gmftickets.com

Gasperilla Music Festival

Mojo Barnes – “Signs” Review

Hailing from Seattle, Washington Emcee Mojo Barnes blesses us with a short yet stellar EP encapsulating personal woes, pains, and monumental moments in five songs.

Signs brings more to the table than just dope bars and witty punch lines; key example being “Blueberry” which gives Mojo Barnes the chance to release thoughts many can relate to coupled with an R&B vibe giving listeners a glimpse into his vocal talents. “Following” and “Heartbeat” perfectly mesh Mojo’s crooning with his strong lyrical ability in a way that sounds original unlike many others who take on this task.

“Following” puts us directly into his thoughts and feelings towards his own father by tackling the heart aches of an absent parental figure and the impact this made on him. “Heartbeat” is a beautiful expression of love to his “baby mama” sharing his excitement and joy in creating life together and moving forward as a family.

Hip Hop heads fret not because Mojo still comes with enough potent verse that have rewind value to keep you playing tracks over and over again. “Awakened” and “OHMYGOD” gives us a chance to hear how witty Mojo is as an Emcee. In “Awakened” Mojo raps:

 “Its been a minute since me and God had conversated/he must still be mad after I body bagged the congregation/ I’m just trying to smoke loosies/ sniff lines off drunk floosies/mix weed, coke, smack, crack, and couple of roofies on the back of a groupie having me acting like goofy”

Mojo is not afraid to spit verses that may shock and awe an audience. Overall “Signs” is a phenomenal and personal introduction into who Mojo Barnes is. By tackling an array of subjects, he is sure to keep listeners and fans busy till his next release.

Stand out tracks:

 “Awakened” “Blueberry” “Following”

Ed Sheeran

Ed Sheeran Conquers Spotify – Most Streamed in 2017

Photo Credit: Scott Legato / RockStarProPhotography.com

Ed Sheeran fans now have an official reason to scream with joy, as if the singer is blessing them a 24-hour live performance.

That’s because he is…via their iPhones and bedroom speakers!

Ed Sheeran is Spotify’s most streamed artist of 2017 globally and the most streamed artist overall on the platform with over 47 million monthly listeners.

With over 3.1 billion global streams, his album ÷ was the most streamed album of the year on Spotify and ‘Shape Of You’ has become the most streamed track of all time on the service with 1.4 billion streams.

“Ed Sheeran absolutely dominated this year with the release of his record-breaking album, Divide,” said Stefan Blom, Spotify’s chief content officer. “There is no doubt that 2017 was The Year of Ed Sheeran, and we are thrilled that so many millions of music fans have discovered, listened to, and shared his music on Spotify. Congratulations to Ed on an amazing achievement.”

AltWire Editorial: The Curious Case of Hip-Hop

Is a Generation Gap to Blame?

Boom Bap.

Trap.

Lo-Fi.

Mob Music.

Although there are dozens of different styles of Hip-Hop, few outside of the Hip-Hop culture wouldn’t know it. It’s all “Rap Music” to them. Whatever style of is currently trending at the moment becomes the definition of Hip-Hop for the world. 

That makes a lot of Hip-Hop artists angry.  But…

Boom-Bap was a product of Evolution itself

I LOVE Boom-Bap. I grew up on it from the late 80’s and especially the 90’s. Boom-Bap was a product of evolution itself. I remember the samples of early hip-hop before the SP-1200’s and MPC 60’s took over. Hip-Hop was a lot more funkadelic to me then. Boom-Bap was a lot sexier. My first true experience with Boom-Bap was MC Shan’s “The Bridge” produced by Marley Marl. I was a shorty then. But, the way that kick and snare dominated the rhythm over MC Shan spittin made me want to put my voice on wax. 

Later on in my teen years, it was Nas’ Illmatic that put the nail in the coffin for me. I had a love affair with not only Hip-Hop, but the production behind it. Boom-Bap production made me wanna go crazy on the lyrical tip. Spittin’ bars full of vocabulary, similes, and metaphors was what it was all about for me back then. The day’s of Grandmaster Flash, U.T.F.O., and Kool Moe Dee seemed like eons ago, even though only 10 years had passed. 

Hip-Hop had entered one of the most important, and critical stages of its evolution. However, just like the various eras of Earth’s history, there was more to come. 

Although, none was as defined as Boom-Bap, or as most heads know it as: Real Hip-Hop.

Every Generation’s Music is a Reflection of Who They Are

I think the main point most of us older heads are missing is, today’s Hip-Hop is not about OUR struggle. Today’s popular Hip-Hop is so hard for us to understand because every generation’s music is a reflection of who they are. The 60’s was peace, love, unity, and Civil Rights. Hence, you had the birth of soul ballads, as well as militants like The Last Poets and Gil Scott Heron. In order to be a Hip-Hop artist in the late 80’s and 90’s, you had to be lyrical. Yeah, sure there were a couple of artists who slipped through the cracks and found stardom. But, for the most part, nobody was trying to hear you unless you actually had BARS. That’s not taking anything away from today’s popular artists, because they are great in their own way. 

We came up in the Crack Era which to be honest, was a devastating and troubling time for Urban communities. Most of us can’t count how many people we know who were victims of drug addiction and violence in the 90’s. We can’t count how many funerals we went to. 

Some of us were victims ourselves. 

Hip-Hop was the only outlet and dream for a lot of us trying to avoid being trapped behind those walls. It still is today. We talked about the things that we saw, heard, and experienced because Hip-Hop gave us the voice to do that. 

But…

I remember a lot of the older cats in the 90’s who had come up during the Soul and Funk days, the Temptations and O’Jays days, who used to say the exact same thing about our music that we say about today’s Hip-Hop:

“That’s not REAL music.”

“All that ain’t nothin’ but a bunch of noise!”

Hell, I remember a time, at least in Chicagoland, when you didn’t hear rap at all until Saturday nights from 10pm to 12 am when Ramonski Luv hosted the Rapdown on WGCI. Remember when Hip-Hop was still classified as Pop?

Just like today’s music creators, we found ourselves victims of stereotype and generalization. No matter what type of Hip-Hop you performed, we were labeled as thugs and criminals, as opposed to platform-builders or entrepreneurs. Frankly, I still find it hard to understand because these labels came from a generation of music listeners who witnessed the rise and fall of Black pride, the decimation of Urban neighborhoods due to covert government programs like COINTELPRO, and, ironically, the Black Panthers. The street organizations of the 80’s and 90’s began as community organizations to uplift and empower urban youth. I didn’t understand how could they hate Hip-Hop when the subject matter in Hip-Hop was a consequence of the actions of the previous generation. 

Now I watch as my generation does the exact same thing to today’s music creators. The question is…

Will the cycle continue?​

Aramis – The Review of a Virtuoso

When we speak the word “Virtuoso”, we think about the classical greats: Mozart, Beethoven, Bach, etc. In good-natured bias, I did the same thing. Correction – used to do the same thing.

Hip-Hop & Nerdcore Artist Aramis forced me to change my way of thinking in 3 seconds. I hadn’t even listened to the album yet. I just saw the artwork & title.

“Virtuoso,” I thought aloud, “That’s a dope way to describe an emcee who you think has a very particular set of skills. Skills that make people like Aramis a nightmare for wack emcees like…”

This album made me think of Liam Neeson’s character, Bryan Mills, in the movie, Taken. Aramis is chasing the criminals who have stolen Hip-Hop from the lyricists. The only weapons he has are bars and this album.

Virtuoso is a mash-up of boom-bap style hip-hop and trap-ish melodies that very purposely showcases the steps that Aramis is taking to show his audience the wide range of his talents.

Damn, now I wish Aramis would have made a song called, “Bryan Mills”.

Virtuoso starts off the album with the introduction to an interview that he had on a radio show called, “Off The Hook”, with hosts Steven and Rasheed.

The album’s jump-off song, “Spike Spiegel”, is an ode to Cowboy Bebop’s main character, Spike Spiegel. Anime fans will really appreciate this track. The song goes so hard, listeners who don’t watch Cowboy Bebop will hit the interwebs to find out who Spike Spiegel is:

“I want some meat/

Because I been living on noodles for weeks/

Bell peppers and beef, without no beef/

You see what I’m sayin, I gotta eat/

Feel Me?

I’m all about Hip-Hop from The Struggle, and that stanza made me believe that Spike Spiegel could have been a “government-cheese kid”. This is an instance that shows how Virtuoso uses Anime to take us to Hip-Hop’s humble roots.

Push feat. Ambush Vin teams Aramis with the sci-fi emcee that takes us on an adventure through a cosmos, where both of the rappers are entities and rule as Gods.

No Way feat. Suport is a barfest that was forged in The Arena. Those who grew up listening to artists named Guru and Big Daddy Kane know exactly what the Arena is. The Arena was where the most skilled emcees could be found. Rappers didn’t just step into The Arena, you had to earn the right to. It’s obvious that Suport and Aramis both earned their meal ticket to this exclusive event:

Still the nerd that you nerd that you know so well/

But when I step up out the booth I’m Stefan Urkel/

Your Wins? low yeah I got the glow like I’m Show-/

Nuff said take it from a pro let it go/

Zeal brings us back to today’s sound with a Chill Trap beat produced by Dreamlife Beats. Zeal confronts, yet embraces the arrogance in all of us. As the song says, “Sometimes you gotta stop living down here, and start living up there.” Zeal will make you feel better about big-upping yourself. There’s nothing wrong with showing a little zeal now and then. “How does it feel,” the song tauntingly questions us, “when you living on Zeal?”

On and On takes deeper into Aramis’ mind. I feel like this is a message to someone or even some entities from his past and present. As if he is letting those people who are in the audience listening that he has moved on, even while they stay the same and keep the same things going “on and on”. This song will make you reflect and reminisce, especially on the bridge with the guitar accompaniment. There are some deep moments on this track also:

Gotta keep it pushin long as I’m alive/

That’s why I hope that I survive the encounter next time the cops arrive…/

Worried feat. Razz Na$-T could easily be the anthem for Virtuoso. The emcees both turn all the way up to let the audience know that they “ain’t worried bout nothing”.  Razz Na$ T ends his verse with a stanza that drills so fast, it would make Twista blush!

Nerdcore Artists have been releasing an influx of great albums this year so far. You can add Virtuoso to 2017’s trophy case.

 

Review Grade: B+

Metrics (on a scale between 1 – 10)

Lyrics: 9.8

Production: 9

Quality: 8

Replay Value: 8.5

Total: 35.3 (88.3%)

 

The Breakdown: My hip-hop appetite was full by the time I reached the end of Virtuoso. The thing I enjoyed the most about this album was Aramis’ determination to make sure the elements were well-represented. There are many albums today labeled as “hip-hop”, but don’t represent the original elements: Bboying, MCing, Beatboxing, DJing, and Graffiti. Listening to Virtuoso, I can picture all 5 of the elements. This was a feat to accomplish for an emcee who labels himself as “Nerdcore”. The awesome part about that is, he doesn’t run away from the Nerdcore label. He embraces it.

The album vocals were clear. I could hear everything said very well. My biggest criticism of Virtuoso is that it could have been sonically fuller. If Aramis would have had this album mastered, this album could have been blowing my JBL woofers out instead of making me turn up my amp or adjusting the bass boost on my radio. However, those are improvements that Aramis can easily make on future releases.

For now, I’ll just relax and imagine what it feels like to be Virtuoso.

You can purchase Virtuoso on iTunes at: https://itunes.apple.com/us/album/virtuoso/id1225368114

 

 

 

 

 

Ish1da – AK-47 Ronin

The Review of a Rogue Samurai

Listen to and purchase AK-47 Ronin at ish1da.bandcamp.com  It is also available for purchase on iTunes and Amazon Music.

What is evolution?

The dictionary defines evolution as the gradual development of something, especially from a simple to a more complex form.

In the musical dimension of the multiverse, evolution has just been re-defined by AK-47 Ronin.

I reviewed Ish1da’s first album, Hood Hemingway, 2 years ago. I thought it had the makings of a classic album then, and I still consider it a classic now. An artist’s inspiration is always his most memorable album. THAT album is the weathered cornerstone that everyone walks past and nods, even though nobody is there.

Respect.

Respect for the words that turned fans into lifetime friends. An adoration for the music that made you figure out what the logo for “repeat” looked like on your car radio.

But, eventually, an artist’s goal is to achieve growth. There will be some traditional Hip-Hop fans who won’t appreciate the motive of this album. This album will appeal to a much wider swath of fans than Hood Hemingway did. The production on this album is on point and updated to trends that we hear today. That’s why this album will appeal to today’s streamers.

AK-47 Ronin displays an evolved Ish1da. Well, given the theme of the album, maybe evolved isn’t the proper adjective to use.

AK-47 Ronin is illuminated by an ascended Ish1da.

Just in case you don’t understand what I mean by “AK-47 Ronin is illuminated”, let me put it into Nurban terms.

It’s lit.

The first thing that’s obvious is that Ish1da and his team are ready for war. Listening to the intro, AK-47 Ronin, I could picture the squad in a smoky ’05 Impala, on the hunt for rappers who oppose this modern-day Otaku revolution. This track describes the expectation of the street samurai:

Born under a red sky, child of tha Ainu/

Your soldiers don’t respect you if they won’t die right beside you/

This track sets the tone for the album. This album showcases a man at the crossroads. Behind him, lies the traditional Hip-Hop loving community that raved over Hood Hemingway. Ahead of him, lies an unknown path. This path is full of rivals, both known and unknown. But, is Team Ish1da ready to wage a battle against the unknown? What about the clandestine rivals? As Ish1da says on “Tha Code”:

Bring the hate and Imma cleave it straight/

Susanoo to a fu—- snake/

You all fu—- fake, you wouldn’t bust a grape/

Live and die by the blade, I only trusted fate

For the most part, the features on this album are dope. However, I have to be honest. There were a couple of features that I felt were just “placeholders”, not because they weren’t quality artists, but because their lyrical content didn’t quite match the theme of the song.

But, my focus is on the overall value of the album and not a critique on a guest feature. One of the songs with guest features that really stood out to me was “Next” (feat. Nostic the Poet & AGenius) Nostic the Poet seems to be chasing a divine intervention, but at the same time speaking the thoughts of everyone trapped in this life of seemingly few choices:

I don’t wanna die though, who’s gonna watch my kids

My verses are hollow if I don’t practice what I spit

If my temporal decisions hurl me into the eternal

I’m aiming for the cross and hope I miss the inferno

Of course, Mega Ran gives us an expected barfest on Yojimbo (produced by RoboRob). He and Ish1da compliment each other well, which is a testimony to the versatility of both artists.

On another note, it seems as if Ish1da and The Epitome are 2 halves that make a whole whenever they are on a track together. This is no different on Yagyu Jubei feat Bun3 and The Epitome. They should make a joint album together at some point in the future!

The rest of the features that round out the album are: Amy, JaqKel, Jurel, the Deity, Mystic Elder Maikis, Mike C, Domineko, Zieg Amimura, EkajDaVerbal Miraje, Diggz Da Prophecy, Walter West, Kryciz, & Scott SK Miller

My favorite song on AK-47 Ronin is “Kofun”.  There is only one way to describe this track: REAL AF (excuse my French):

If I die in here tonight it’s their truth to tell/

I stomped myself up in my neck and hung myself up in my cell/

It’s simple for you to sell, just be a safe white rapper/

I say f— tha police, black lives matter/

I hope Ish1da pushes this song as his next single. The production by Kora does an excellent job of setting a melancholy tone that makes you really pay attention to what’s being said. This song needs to be heard everywhere. Not only in urban environments, but also by our suburban counterparts who feel secure at night, like there’s not a real war going on a couple of miles from your safe abode.

Back to that evolution thing. I don’t know if he meant to this album to showcase the versatility of what some would call Nerdcore, but AK-47 Ronin did exactly that. There will be some Nerdcore fans who won’t understand or appreciate the “Nurbanism” that artists like Ish1da represent.

But, I truly hope every Nerdcore artist pushes this album as hard as they would their own. Why? Because AK-47 Ronin is one of the sub-genre’s albums that isn’t exclusively for a niche audience. Yes, I did receive a review copy. But, I’m also purchasing the album as soon as I post this review. I’m going to bang the hell out of it in front of all of my non-Anime loving, not-Nerdy-at-all homies. When they ask me, “Who is this,” I’m going to say, “Nerdcore & Otaku Artist Ish1da”.

Then, maybe they will want to hear YOUR Nerdcore album next.

 

Review Grade: B

Metrics (on a scale between 1 – 10)

Lyrics: 9.5

Production: 8

Quality: 7

Replay Value: 8

Total: 32.5 (81.2%)

 

The Breakdown: While AK-47 Ronin is a lyrical jewel, and the production was lit, I felt the quality of the mixes could have been better. Honestly, the quality isn’t bad, but there are some points on the album, most notably “7 Samurai” where it was apparent that different quality microphones were being used. I’m sure the engineer worked his magic, but the inequality is still apparent. And with the powerhouse features on that song, it should’ve had the potential to be in my top 3. The good news is, the quality wasn’t lacking so much that I couldn’t listen to it again. I felt as if I could put my favorite songs on repeat and just let it ride for the week. In fact, I did exactly that!

I honestly don’t think this grade is fair to the effort that Ish1da put into making this album. But, my goal is not to tear any artist down, but to give an honest critique that will be full of options for the artist to consider. I want to hear the perfect album. Then, I want to review it.

That would be the perfect day…

Check Out Ish1da ft Mega Ran – “Yojimbo” produced by RoboRob!

 

 

 

Linkin Park – Heavy feat. Kiiara Review

Heavy brings us a new Chester...

 

Chester Bennington just trolled every Linkin Park fan who was expecting to hear…

…Chester Bennington.

I mean the Chester that we’re used to. The Chester whose vocal presence was “one step closer to the edge”. But, that’s not a bad thing, as we see on the veteran band’s newest single, which is ironically titled “Heavy”.

As a long time Linkin Park fan, I know this song will take some time for the average LP fan to get used to. To be honest, Bruno Mars could have just as easily fit on “Heavy”.

However, Bruno could not have owned this song the way Chester did.

The production was masterfully crafted, it seems, to reel in younger music listeners. In today’s world where reading the news even feels like a burden, it’s inspiration to see that falling skies aren’t exclusive to little people like us:

 I don’t like my mind right now

Stacking up problems that are so unnecessary

Wish that I could slow things down

I wanna let go but there’s comfort in the panic

And I drive myself crazy

Thinking everything’s about me

Yeah I drive myself crazy

Cause I can’t escape the gravity

For a few seconds, I forgot this was the guy who used to fly into Stone Temples. He seemed more like the co-worker in the cafeteria at work, talking to me in confidence about his old lady.

But then the bridge came, and the slightly raspy, cracking of his voice reminded me that Linkin Park’s lead vocalist was still present inside of his current form.

Kiiara was also a great addition to this song. She does more than just complement the production. She holds her own with sultry vocals that explode into a powerful performance on the hook that was so convincing, it sent me to Google to find more of her music.

In conclusion, there are some listeners who will label this song as Pop. In my eyes, genres are just another tool of division. The love of music is one of the few things we all have in common. Music is all about expression, emotion, and beauty.

And those are the same things that make “Heavy” so sexy.

Review Score: B+

What did you think of “Heavy”? Feel free to leave your thoughts in the comments!

Pre-Order ‘One More Light’

Linkin Park have announced their brand new album will be titled ‘One More Light’ and will be releasing May 19th, 2017. Their website has been updated with new information about the album with a number of preorder options. These include CD packages, vinyl packages and deluxe packages that include a 48-page hard cover album art book with photos from the album.

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Cybernetic Storytelling – My Interview with Alpha Riff

alphariff stage

Come and join us as I chop it up wit the king of Nerdcore cybernetic storytelling, Alpha Riff. We delve into the new album, his rap origins, and shout-outs, of course…which somehow lead to a mini-rant! Enjoy the interview and go and cop Alpha Riff’s new album, Mors Aeterna, at alphariff.bandcamp.com

Music heard during the interview: (in order played)

  1. Alpha Riff feat. Professor Shyguy – Crowned Fates
  2. Rhyme Artist feat. Ambush Vin – En Sabah Nur
  3. Twill Distilled feat Alpha Riff – Ladder
  4. Aramis – Game Over 
  5. Alpha Riff – Battle With a Legend (Phunkoland)
  6. Ambush Vin feat. Alpha Riff – Phantom Zone 
  7. Smash Instrumental
  8. Four Horsemen – Slim Charles
  9. Non-Fiction Instrumental
  10. Ol’ Girl Instrumental