Hieroglyphics is an Oakland based hip-hop collective that has always thrive to dismantle music by tackling the social consciousness through their scrupulous wordplay. With their extensive knowledge of hip-hop, Hieroglyphics focused more on the lyrical flow rather than the gangster life and always positioned themselves as the alternative to the mainstream and this is best exemplified with their first studio album, 3rd Eye Vision.
Nick Cave and the Bad Seeds’ nearly-packed show at Barclays Center on Friday, October 26th was electric. It was deafeningly loud and Nick was on fire, as per usual. It was more of an experience than anything else: I gritted my teeth and applauded until my hands tingled. Tall and thin with jet black hair and dressed in a fitted black suit, resembling a debonair villain of the Old West, Cave looks like an icon. Barclays is huge: It seats 19,000, and except for the rafter seats, the venue looked mostly full. These kinds of arena shows are new for Nick Cave in North America; at age 61, his fame and his audience keep growing. There are no gimmicky stage antics, just pure heart and emotion, running the gambit from sweetness to terror. The band played mostly hard rock, but Nick also sang some piano ballads like “The Ship Song” and “Into my Arms.” The emotion of the latter was breathtaking; Nick’s striking blue eyes tearing up as he sang. I was engaged on every level, even though I was seated some distance from the stage: There were two huge screens with exquisite black and white clarity so that even those sitting in the rafter seats were connected on an intimate level.
After a six-year hiatus, the much-anticipated release of Nas’s album, Nasir, left fans and critics with mixed reactions. The album arrived as part of the “Wyoming Sessions,” a series of albums executively produced by Kanye West as part of a grand experiment of rapid-fire studio production. The other albums include Pusha T’s Daytona, West’s collaboration with Kid Cudi eponymously entitled Kids See Ghosts, Teyana Taylor’s K.T.S.E. (Keep That Same Energy), and West’s own album, Ye. Each album is limited to seven tracks, and West has hinted at a loose thematic relationship to the seven deadly sins.
Most musicians film videos on private jets, boats and dance clubs. Hip-Hop Icons Beyonce and Jay-Z used famed Paris-based Louvre Museum as the backdrop for the hit single “Apeshit” video. Beyonce and Jay-Z just released the best music video of both careers spanning two decades of Hip-hop and R&B. There hasn’t been a video with this kind of interesting detail captivating audiences since TLC’s “Waterfalls” released in 1995.
Kendrick Lamar’s recent award of the Pulitzer Prize for his 2017 album Damn. is as much of a cultural watershed moment as Duke Ellington’s infamous Carnegie Hall debut in 1943. At this pivotal point in Ellington’s career, he had already cemented his status as one of the most accomplished and prolific musicians of his generation. With hits such as “Black and Tan Fantasy,” “Mood Indigo,” “It Don't Mean a Thing (If It Ain't Got That Swing),” “Take the A Train,” and many others, Ellington was sonically redefining black music while serving as one of the central sirens of a burgeoning, modern black subjectivity.