Kpop Background

imageKpop (Korean pop) is a music genre associated with South Korea. It’s basically pop music in Korean, and less lazy. There is almost always a specific and original dance routine to each song (not including ballads), which fans learn. The songs can range from cute, sexy, angsty, etc./ or be a combination of all. Kpop is not to be confused with non- pop music. Kpop isn’t the only genre of music in Korea, it’s just the one that’s most well known amongst Korean music.

The Korean music industry is ruled by the Korean government. They approve all official idols. The top three most well known agencies are JYP, YG, and SM. They tend to have eccentric personalities. Korean people tend to look on the companies as well, because they tend to be quite comedic, rich, and eccentric men. And they sometimes get involved with each group’s reality show. These companies also have their hands in a lot of other industries as well; food, sports, modeling, management (for celebrities), etc.

JYP
They hold the contracts to some of the biggest Kpop stars in the industry. For example, JYP owns 2pm (boyband), Miss A (girl band), Wonder Girls (girl band), Got7 (boyband) and a lot of others. More than that he holds artists that are in hip hop, R&B, Electronic, Dance, and Rock as well. Run by Park Jin-Young. The company is named after his initials. (In Korea and in a lot of other Asian countries the last/ family name is first. But he chose to put it first name to last.)

YG
Again named after the company owner’s initials, Yang Goon. Has artists in all the same genres, but started its company roots with hip hop. His personality is somewhat shown when his group BIG BANG (boyband), in an interview where they do impressions of him and talk about his behaviors. They mention his new want for attention. He now makes public appearances on TV, when previously he had refused to be shown on camera for the past couple of years.

SM
Founder, Lee Soo Man, (again with the initials thing.) He owns a large amount of the biggest Kpop girl groups. Girl’s Generation, f(X), Red Velvet, and BoA. And boy bands; Shinee and EXO. Some of these groups have around for roughly a decade and still look perfectly youthful, and execute dance routine with experience and grace. Girls Generation didn’t even go through a too terrible 2000’s faze, like most other artists.

Sometimes proper management is questioned, but that’s up to everyone’s own opinion.

Big Apple Con 2016

Last weekend, Big Apple6664e9_e1d4745e675a4e82ba63bec24dabcca3 Con, a comic book, art, sci-fi, and toy convention took place. The convention was located at the Hotel Pennsylvania, which is across the street from Penn Station.

In 1996, Frederic Greenberg, host of Great Eastern Conventions cancelled his show. Mike Carbonaro, with Metropolis Collectibles CEO, Vincent Zurzolo, quickly planned a show to replace it. Over 4,000 people attended. The show was a huge success and so were the shows that followed.

On March 5th, the convention was held again. In my opinion, it was a great show. I bought and sold vintage comics for the duration of the show. There was also cosplay. Cosplay is basically like dressing up for Halloween, except that it is superhero, comic, movie and pop culture themed. Some people spend hours and hours of time making their costumes. For some of us who are lazy, we buy costumes which can cost hundreds and even thousands of dollars for the sake of authenticity. There were panels where people held discussions about a specific predetermined pop culture theme, this along with comics, of course. There were creators/artists/writers/actors/ and other celebrity guests.

This convention was definitely a great opportunity for fans to make friends and meet new people along with reestablishing old relationships. It is enjoyable and I hope more people will get to experience it in the coming years.

The Effect of Location on Hip-Hop

Diversity within the genre of hip-hop is a luxury not often appreciated. Similar to other music genres, different subsets have distinguished themselves, but rap is the only to have sounds exclusive to location. Different cities adapt their respective preferences, whether it be rhyme delivery, use of inflection, utilized tone, or even subject matter. Although every city has its exceptions, most tend to follow the mold created by the surrounding environment. Just as distance between areas allow the development of different cultures and behaviors, rap has its own separate corners each directly influenced by local issues and lifestyles.

Houston: Houston is widely known for its heavy utilization of the boom-bap sound. Known for the drunken quality of its rhythms, producers often use slower drum kits never going past the quarter note level. One may ask, how did this slurred and trippy audiology establish itself in Houston? One direct cause may be the glorification of lean. Lean is a concoction ideally made up of prescribed cough syrup (promethazine codeine) and vodka or sprite. The effects include feelings of euphoria along with motor-skill impairment and lethargy to the point of feeling dissociated with one’s physical body. Houston rappers wanted to channel this same euphoria into their music, creating the slow boom-bap sound that Houston has come to embody. This is seen in work such as Chamillionaire’s “Ridin’ Dirty” as well as in the discographies of artists like Paul Wall, Pimp C, Mr. Mike, Baby Bash, and Kirko Bangz.

Eric B and Rakim of New York

Eric B and Rakim of New York

New York: New York, the birthplace of hip-hop, has one of the genre’s richest histories. It is undeniably difficult to draw parallels between groups like A Tribe Called Quest and Pro Era. However, it would be a crime to ignore the fact that the city of New York itself is central to what New York rappers talk about. Hip-Hop in the Big Apple is territorial. Pro Era went so far as to create the Beast Coast movement. New York artists are constantly shouting out their respective blocks, boroughs, or neighborhoods. Any rapper from the South Bronx will make it known that’s his hood. The same goes for Jamaica, Harlem, Flatbush, and so on. This characteristic can be attributed to the fact that anyone raised within New York City lives and breathes alongside the city itself. The city is its own being, and why wouldn’t one mention a childhood friend?

California-
Compton: Compton is the site of hip-hop’s mainstream revolution, headed by the N.W.A., who made the most of their opportunities with their raw honesty in the 90’s. Ever since, Compton has sought to speak on the issues plaguing its citizens as accurately as possible. Whether it be political injustices or the issue of growing gang violence, Compton artists put it all out on their tracks. This sense of social and political awareness is unique to the MAAD City, and even today’s artists from the area have sought to uphold the example set by N.W.A. With artists like Kendrick Lamar, Isaiah Rashad, Jay Rock, The Game, and Vince Staples all verbally bleeding out on their instrumentals, it is safe to say Compton hip-hop is in good hands.

Bay Area: Bay Area rap has only recently grown in popularity, seeing how most Bay Area artists are underground, or still on the come up. This particular region has developed a culture very different from the traditional urban scene, making use of a more breathy tone and allowing the instrumentals to be the central point of attention. These more ‘withdrawn’ vocals are a result of the welcoming and pristine appearance of suburban environments. Bay Area artists try to implement these misconceptions into their works. This being said, artists like Tyler the Creator, Earl Sweatshirt, Sage the Gemini, IAmSu!, and the HBK Gang are all at the forefront of the Bay Area’s rise, speaking to the flaws of suburbia and the more subtle self-destruction enacted within this perceived paradise.

Chicago: It would not be far from the truth if one said that Chi-town is married to the glorification of violence. Chicago is referred to as “Chiraq” by its own residents. If that doesn’t speak for itself, it would help to bear witness to the content put out by Chicago’s artists. Chief Keef, Lil Durk, BJ the Chicago Kid, Fredo Santana and countless others constantly give voice to a central theme of firearms. Hip-hop has always been known to encourage pride and ego. Chicago rappers pride themselves in their aggressive natures, as that is the means to validation in the environment. It doesn’t help that access to guns is always an inviting opportunity, seeing how even children in their pre-teens walk around strapped. However, it should be noted that many other artists have made an active effort to go against the mold set by the city. These include Chance the Rapper, Mick Jenkins, Lupe Fiasco, and Common.

Atlanta artist Raury performing

Atlanta artist, Raury, performing.

Atlanta: Atlanta could be considered hip-hop’s “lab” or testing ground. Especially as of recent, Atlanta has been testing the boundaries of the genres. Fortunately, this has not hurt the success of the city’s artists. Artists like Future, Young Thug, and Rich Homie Quan have patented the ‘rap mumble’, which entails low and rapid vocals that could be difficult to understand. Other artists and groups like Migos have made use of the machine-gun flow. This style has rappers spitting at a set rhythm with very few breaks in the flow. And then there are those who implement southern soul into the genre, creating a smooth and effortless vibe. Big K.R.I.T. and Raury are great examples of this subset within genres. Taking all this into consideration, Atlanta is easily rap’s most diverse city, and collaborations between its artists are consistently revolutionary.

Hip-hop, as a collective, cannot be denied its diversity. Progression and additions to the genre are guaranteed and will continue to satisfy the cravings of hungry listeners.

Three of the Biggest Fails of the 2016 Oscars.

Fashion Fails

Heidi Klum

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Can you spot the difference between these two pictures?

  • Heidi Klum’s dress looks like it came out of Cinderella’s Fairy Godmother’s closet but there was nothing magical about this dress other than that. Sorry, Heidi.

Amy Poehler

images

Are those my grandmother’s curtains?

  • Nope, it’s Amy Poehler in a dress made out of my grandmother’s curtains. The only thing to do to help this dress is to burn it.

Stacy Dash’s unnecessary cameo

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Looks like we’re gonna have to make a cameo at the Val party”- Cher, Clueless

  • The Clueless star should’ve just stuck to cameos at valley parties with her on- screen bestie. Dash was recently in the news for wanting to end BET and Black History Month. So, when she walked on stage as “director of minority outreach” as Chris Rock said, the only funny thing about this joke was Chrissy Teagan’s reaction.

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And now for the only thing the Oscars got right……

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After six nominations, Leo finally won his Oscar!!!

 

 

Deadpool Turns Worried Parents Against Divided Fanbase

Deadpool is the most risque of Marvel films yet.

Deadpool stars Ryan Reynolds and is getting attention for its violence and obscenity.

Deadpool, the long anticipated film starring Ryan Reynolds, was banned in China due to extreme violence and obscenity. For Fox, economically speaking, it would have been very expensive to cut scenes and remake the film in order to meet the demands of the Chinese market. 

Before its release, it was unknown how the rating of the film would affect the box office overall. What was known, however, was that Disney, who bought Marvel in 2009, was taking a huge gamble. But given that Deadpool is a character geared toward more mature readers, (it features mature themes like abuse, sex, and extreme violence and goriness) the rating has turned worried parents against their enthusiastic kids who want to see it. Many underage children have seen PG-13 movies, but not many are permitted to see rated- R movies, so it was unclear how the film would be received upon opening.

But, Deadpool grossed 152.2 million dollars over the four day opening holiday weekend and has a strong chance of being the highest grossing Marvel movie ever produced. Judging by the numbers, the rating did not negatively impact ticket sales and may have even been a benefit. 

 

Album Review: Bring Me The Horizon’s, “Sempiternal”

BMTH_SempiternalBring Me The Horizon is a band from Sheffield, UK.  The band has five members: lead vocalist Oliver Sykes, lead guitarist Lee Malia, bassist Matt Kean, drummer Matt Nicholls, and keyboardist Jordan Fish.  Bring Me The Horizon is known for originally being categorized in the genre known as Deathcore. Deathcore has either been upgraded (or downgraded, depending on who you ask) to a mixed genre that is known as Electronic Metalcore. As their sound has evolved, they have found success with each new release, causing each album to be better than the last. They are a band that has one of the most dedicated fan bases to date. Sempiternal was released in 2013,  and followed three previous studio albums and an EP.  On each album, Oliver Sykes’ technique continues to improve and the band’s execution and lyrics show growth and maturity.

Though it isn’t their most recent album ( That’s the Spirit was released in 2015), Sempiternal serves as Bring Me The Horizon’s all-around most diverse record, with softer to heavier songs. This album is the first with Sykes singing. The opening track ‘Can You Feel My Heart’ is arguably their most experimental track they’ve done over the span of their career. Sykes’ vocals were almost Linkin Park-esque, sounding like he was both singing and screaming at the same time, which is of what most of the album consists. His voice soars through the chorus with intensity and passion. To add to it all, the glitchy vocals throughout that whole song adds another layer, as do the harmonies and the many electronic parts.

There are more experimental songs similar to this song such as ‘Sleepwalking’. In it, crazy, clean, and screamed vocals combine with melodic electronic elements and little breaks of soft singing, showcasing Sykes’ maturing vocals. There are also songs to please their fans of their previous albums.

The album features some memorable but really provocative, anti-religion lyrics in this such as, “And when you die, the only kingdom you’ll see is two foot wide and six foot deep.”  These lyrics are screamed on a track called “The House Of Wolves,” a song that has a very memorable breakdown after that line is delivered. Some other parts in a track called “Go To Hell For Heaven’s Sake” seem to mock and really question the hypocrisy of Christianity in lines like, “I’m burning down every bridge we make/ I’ll watch you choke on the hearts you break/I’m bleeding out every word you said/Go to hell for heaven’s sake.” 

These lines mock God and Jesus and the lies the Bible imposes on us as well as the sheer hypocrisy of thinking they (God/Jesus) are above mistakes. It was put very bluntly and quite sarcastically in the song (one of my personal favorites) “Crooked Young” when he screeches the lyrics, “Believe in the one/ Hallelujah, well I’m saved/
Just a dozen steps and 28 days/It’s a miracle, I’ll be born again/As the Lord as my Shepherd I will find a way,”which makes a stark contrast to the lyrics at the end of this song when he screams,“Hallelujah/ I say it’s a miracle, thank you Jesus/ Hallelujah, I say/ — your faith, — your faith.”

Overall, Bring Me The Horizon has really outdone themselves with this album. It’s diverse, it’s heavy, and it’s all over the place. Sempiternal is their best and most mature album to date in all aspects. I’d give this album a solid 10/10.

 

Why Does an EDM Movie- Featuring Zac Efron- Exist?

imageI don’t know! But it does.

For those who don’t know, EDM is an acronym for electronic dance music.

The movie is called “We Are Your Friends” and is an awfully corny title, in my opinion. It will be directed by Max Joseph and will premiere on August 28th, 2015.

Check out the trailer below:

Now, as an actual DJ myself, my hopes for this movie are that music producers and DJs are properly represented and it showcases actual problems and situations we face.

I also hope the film doesn’t inspire people to start DJing if they only part they like is the social aspect. That would be just wrong.

Allegedly, to better understand his role, Zac Efron spent real time with actual big name DJs before the filming of the movie, but hopefully his script allows him to keep it as realistic as possible.

As a side note, in the the film Efron says 128 (beats per minute) is the ‘magic number’, meaning he’s going to be playing different kinds of house and techno music which is not something I can relate to because I play at 75-80 beats per minute. That is a different market altogether.

Here is a good example of what he might play in the film:

And an example of what I play (produced by yours truly):

Hopefully, this film showcases DJing as it really is.

The Many Flavors of Zac Brown Band

imageOn April 28th, Zac Brown Band came out with their new album called Jekyll and Hyde. The name of the album has to do with the book called a Strange Case of Dr Jekyll and Mr Hyde.

In the book Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde are actually the same person. One is a sane doctor and the other is a crazy man and the album is set up the same way. There are many different types of songs like Castaway, which is an island-type song about drinking and having fun. Then, there is Young and Wild which is an nostalgia song where Zac sings about when he was younger and the things he used to do. Lastly, there is the song Homegrown which is a country song about a small town that feels like he was born there and he wants to die there.

The album is very good gift for someone If you don’t know their taste in music. And if you are trying to get into country music, you should start with buying this album because it has many different sounds and styles.

Check out the lyrics video below for Homegrown, the first single off the album.

The Early Man Woke Up

Sweaty came to kill and he’s still hungry. I’m obviously talking about Earl Sweatshirt, probably one of the world’s most underrated lyricists.

sweatshirt in a sweatshirt

sweatshirt in a sweatshirt

beautiful.

beautiful.

Thebe Neruda Kgositsile, professionally known as rapper Earl Sweatshirt, is arguably one of the most interesting cases to ever reach hip-hop’s doorstep. Earl was first recognized at the age of 15, under the name Sly Tendencies, by upcoming artist, producer, and director Tyler the Creator. At this point Tyler’s empire was still at its foundation stages, but eventually his hip-hop collective Odd Future made its name known. OF gained recognition for their music that tended to flirt with every boundary, putting out depressive tracks, to angry and almost violent audiography.

Earl released his debut album “Earl” at the age of sixteen under the Odd Future label. Although listeners weren’t as numerous as they are now, the audience was shocked by the talent of the young Earl. He boasted an unrivaled vocabulary and a flow that had the ability to draw any ear. His messages had a bipolarity to them that was owned and first put together by Odd Future themselves. Earl spit mercilessly, going between suicidal thoughts to bitter break ups to violent urges that he wrote almost in competition with Tyler.

However, just as quickly as Earl made his claim to power, he suddenly disappeared. Odd Future started up chants screaming “Free Earl,” while fans were scratching their heads trying to figure out the whereabouts of the Early Man. Thebe finally appeared in Samoa in an academy for troubled youth. Apparently, his mother had shipped him off due to Earl’s questionable behavior that continues to remain quite vague. Although Earl was able to get his act together in this two-year hiatus, he missed Odd Future’s rise to the forefront, headlined by Tyler’s “Goblin.”

Earl made his return as abruptly as his departure. At the age of eighteen, he had fans waiting in eager anticipation for new work, along with learning to adjust to OF’s newly found fame. Thebe hit the studio and in August of 2013, “Doris” was released. The album demonstrated Earl’s thoughtfulness and displayed a newly found maturity that hadn’t been present in “Earl.” The new album also removed the violent urges, although it continued the pattern of bipolarity. Listeners bounce between the self-hatred outlined in tracks like “Chum” to the resentful and bitter sound of tracks like “Molasses” and “Burgundy.”

Thebe’s success and popularity skyrocketed, though the mastermind himself was not happy. Earl started popping painkillers and increased his cannabis consumption to keep him kind of happy. He started a downward spiral, that eventually led to Earl being bedridden for three weeks because of medical exhaustion. Following this collapse, Earl went quiet for a while. He continued to tour and make appearances on the Odd Future show “Loiter Squad,” but remained lowkey until late March of 2015, with the release of “I Don’t Like S***, I Don’t Go Outside.” The title, though being explicit, was so accurate it was funny, according to Thebe. The album finds a way to get to an even darker and depressing level that leaves listeners quiet and in an almost meditative state. Barely hitting a full 30 minutes, Earl’s talent is undoubtedly continuing to grow and mature. One might worry about him due to ideas expressed in “Grief,” but Earl is just figuring himself out, and admits that this is his “most honest release.” Earl also released a ten-minute compilation named “Solace,” allegedly dedicated to the turbulent relationship with his mother. “Solace” leaves listeners in a state of appreciative euphoria, so beware.

Earl’s genius is still waiting to be explored, as he isn’t even close to his peak yet. Watch out for Sweaty.

Waka Flocka For President

For the 2016 election, one of our potential candidates is Juaquin James Malphurs, better known to us by his stage name “Waka Flocka Flame”.

For those who don’t know of Mr. Flocka, he is a rapper born in Jamaica, Queens and currently resides in Atlanta, Georgia.

imageFor his presidency he, only wants to make 3 subtle changes to our current laws:

1. To legalize marijuana consumption

2 To make animal presence in restaurants illegal

3. To make the presence of feet, size 13  or larger, illegal on public streets.
Individuals with large feet can however, still use means of public transportation such as busses and cabs.

Flocka believes that in schools, the students should be taught more trade skills and practical skills as well as all of his lyrics. In fact, those who don’t know his lyrics before high school graduation would have to start school again from the third grade.

Flocka also plans on raising minimum wage to 15 dollars an hour (from our current 8.75 dollars in New York)

His view on women’s rights can is that women already have equal rights and that women in this day and age are tough. Not fighting for women’s rights, he says, is more of a respect thing.

As for meetings with Congress, Flocka plans on wearing a tank top and flips flops, instead of a suit and dress shoes, due to comfort and respect issues.

Even with somewhat reasonable requests and a wide fan base that would definitely vote for him, he is still only 28 years old and can not actually run for president because the minimum age requirement is 35.

But, THIS WAS A REALLY GOOD PUBLICITY STUNT IDEA AND IT REALLY WORKED!!!!!