This weekend, a group of 30 Wesleyan students will be led by Izzy Coleman ’15 and David Stouck ’15 to the 8th Annual International Hip Hop Festival at Trinity College. Student representatives will be competing in the international B-Boy battle on Friday night, and closing the Rap Showcase on Saturday. The theme of this year’s festival is the “Local as Global Video Project,” which has garnered submissions from around the globe detailing what hip hop means to individuals and their communities. This video portrays what hip hop means to the student body at Wesleyan… Shout out to all of our interviewees!!
Kevin Brisco ’13 and Taylor Harbison ’13 write in to let you know that they’ve posted a handful of photos from last Thursday’s Flatbush Zombies performance over at Waves Magazine, a recently launched new music publication. You can view the full gallery here, as well as some choice highlights below.
Waves just dropped its first ever issue, and Jay Sharma ’16 writes in with details:
This week marks the release of Waves Magazine‘s first issue! This issue is dedicated to Wesleyan Alumni who are making waves in the world of music. The literature included ranges from alumni interviews, concert reviews, album reviews, editorial pieces, history lessons, opinion pieces, and more. We wanted to reach a wide audience; therefore, we decided to make the first issue a digital version. The entire Waves Magazine team has put in a tremendous amount of time and work. The second issue will be dedicated to Wesleyan Seniors and will be released before the end of the semester. Until then, check out the first issue here, and keep checking the blog to stay up to date on music on and off campus.
Ever since last year, music review/hipster rant/legitimate journalism website Pitchfork has been all over Le1f aka Khalif Diouf ’11. They gave a solid review to his 2012 mixtape Dark York, saying “there’s a lot of fun to be had listening to Diouf take on rap taboos with a glint of mischief.” Because, of course, no conversation can be had without somewherementioning Le1f’s sexualpreferences. And, yes, those sort of themes and jokes pop up throughout his videos and mixtapes, but underneath all of the discussion about “queer rap” are some high-quality club-ready tracks— and more and more, that’s becoming the focus of all this hype.
Le1f, receiving much loveand coveragefrom this blog, just dropped another mixtape, and not surprisingly, the Internet is all over it. Fly Zoneis 13 tracks produced by 13 different producers, but Le1f is always the star of the show. “Spa Day” feels like Le1f is having the most fun, and he dodges in and out of quick, sharp-tongued rapping, even slipping in a “mazel tov.” On “Coins,” he laughs, messes with rhythms, and drops references to the Nintendo Entertainment System and the Sex Pistols. But throughout Fly Zone, Le1f and his lyrics are in charge: “My jokes are funny, but my money’s not.”
After the jump, read a few critics’ words on the mixtape, and then listen to the whole thing yourself—Fly Zone is streaming on Soundcloud and free to download.
Joey Bada$$ killed it last semester, and NOW Flatbush Zombies are going to kill it on FEBRUARY 8th!!!
If you haven’t heard of the Flatbush Zombies, then you must be DEAD!!! These BEAST COAST affiliates, are on the rise, and they are about to take over Wesleyan for one night!
It doesn’t stop there either!! kechPhrase will be opening!! This Veehead signee (Kool AD’s label) is making waves in the game with his production and verses, but the crazy part is he’s ONLY a Senior at UPenn!
This will be a concert like no other!!!
Date: Friday, February 8 Time: 10 p.m. Place: Psi U
Cost: Free Facebook: Right Here
The revolutionary class struggle was in the house last night at Psi U (or on the stage, at least). Legendary anticapitalist hip hop duo Dead Prez took the stage following a panel sponsored by the Sociology Department in the afternoon focusing on inequality in the education system.
Openers from Weslayan’s own RAW, Evan Okun ’13, Izzy Coleman ’15, and David Stouck ’15 kicked off the show before Wes alum and frequent Dead Prez collaborator Umi performed his own energetic set. Headliners M1 and stic.man of Dead Prez followed, dropping the lyrical bombs of the insurrection for the hyped up crowd.
The show was like nothing else I’ve seen at Wesleyan (this was bigger than hip-hop). One has to wonder whether the Psi U brothers waving the American flag from the balcony and sweating on their women folk in the corners truly understood what they were seeing. (Upon rereading this phrase I realize that the tone comes off as ugly. I did not get too intimate with any of these corner rendezvous, but had I, I might have found that not all of the participants were in fact women, or perhaps that they would resent being referred to by a possessive adjective in a Wesleying post the following day.) Further update after the jump.
“We did our thing, we had a good time, and I think it was time for it to end.”
Still mourning the blow of Das Racist’s weekend demise? It wasn’t supposed to come like this. Though Heems (Himanshu Suri ’07) broke the news rather suddenly at a show in Munich, bandmate Kool A.D. (Victor Vazquez ’06) later tweeted that he had actually left the band in September and was asked by his manager to keep quiet. This week Vazquez spoke about the details of his decision with Rolling Stone, explaining that he planned to quit the group officially after wrapping up their current tour—but before completing a second album:
“I was like, ‘I’ll do the rest of the tour—anything that’s on the schedule right now, I’ll do. And then I’m done. I’m not recording the album,'” he said in a phone call, referring to the single-record deal inked with Sony in July. “When I made that decision two months ago, I was certain in that decision. And I think maybe the whole team around us thought I was going to change my mind.”
Despite the tension surrounding their breakup, Vazquez adds that he and Heems—whom he met in 200 Church in 2003—are “more or less still friends.” As both artists pursuesolo careers, they just “don’t want to be in a professional capacity” anymore. Or have to hang out all the time, sadly enough:
What very may well be the last combination reggae, soul and hip hop show of the entire semester is going down at Beckham tomorrow night. McKenzii Webster ’13writes in with the details.
Brian McKenna ’04 is a Wes alum, producer of Dear Mama Earth and owner of Btoven Music. He and reggae artist Toussaint the Liberator built Dear Mama Earth into an LP from discussions about 21st century lifestyles, politics and natural disasters.
The Dear Mama Earth LP is aimed at those of us caught up in the hustle of urban life with the goal of provoking thought on energy consumption, conservation, renewable resources, global warming and wasteful habits.
FEATURING: THE FREESTYLE COLLECTIVE | PROJECT STERLING | FXWRK | ARI
&ARIAN | RHYS LANGSTON | DJ KENZII KENZ!!
Date: Thursday, December 6 Time: Party starts @ 9:30pm, Performers @10:30 Place: Beckham Hall Cost: Free
We interrupt this broadcast (and my, err, thesis) to bring you sad news. Das Racist, the unlikely slacker-rap pairing of Heems (Himanshu Suri ’07) and Kool A.D. (Victor Vazquez ’06) that seems to have defined an era of irreverent, gruff-voiced irony at Wesleyan, is over and done. I received the news in downstairs Usdan, halfway through Pastabilities’ penne special, in the form of a three-word text from Wesleying’s old friend Carlo ’11. It’s probably what Heems would have wanted.
But the break-up isn’t as recent as you think. According to Pitchfork, Heems took the stage last night at Munich’s On3 Festival and told the crowd, “You guys wanna know the secret? Alright, so I’m going to do some Das Racist songs, but Das Racist is breaking up and we’re not a band anymore.”
This was followed by a series of tweets confirming the break-up and hinting at some internal drama for the duo:
Also, click past the jump for my five favorite Le1f-related gifs.
Lest you worry that we haven’t posted enough recently about rising hip hop sensation Le1f/Khalif Diouf ’11 (note: wehave), here’s something to tide you over. The giftastic rapper behind “Wut” and “Soda” recently popped up on Pitchfork.tv, chatting about some of his influences (Wesleyan Pride Alert: “Heems is someone that inspires me a lot in terms of performance, and Das Racist”) and the vision he has for his wildly theatrical live performances:
“If someone was coming to see me, I would tell them to expect a really visceral, cathartic performance that is rap music. It’s a rap show that—I don’t want to say spiritual, but I’m trying to be very intense and honest and guttural. When I’m onstage and I realize people aren’t moving, it does force me to go really crazy. I have to find some rage.”
Filmed during CMJ, the interview also finds Le1f talking about his lyrics. “A lot of people say you can’t understand the words, and often I kind of don’t care,” he admits. “But one of the drawbacks of that is maybe people don’t understand the message. So it’s nice to have my dancers basically blessing the audience with holy water.” That theme also seems prevalent in the “Soda” video. Because it’s about, like, liquid and stuff.