A Final Word From Your Editors

The newspaper editors would like to thank all of our readers and participants this past semester. This year we were able revolutionize our consistency in posting articles as well as cover a much wider variety of topics. We had articles about reviews, satire, world news, music, along with political and moral issues. Words cannot express our appreciation to our staff with their eagerness to cover relevant issues. This, along with our readers constantly supplying positive feedback and taking part in our polls made the Village School Newspaper more interactive than it ever has been in the past. We hope you all enjoyed our content as much as we did providing it.

Once again, thank you everyone for an amazing year.

A Brief Peek Into the Story of Vince Staples

To perfectly picture and encapsulate the message of the man named Vince Staples is a task that can easily be perceived as overwhelming. 22 years breathing, his demeanor commands respect due to his ability to articulate his intuition creatively.

Vince was born on July 2, 1993 in Long Beach, California. Vince has often voiced his love for his hometown and depicts it as the laid back ghetto, being as it is not as wild as Compton but still maintains the qualifications of the hood. This being said, Vince has made an active effort to make sure the culture of violence and drugs is not glorified, as artists like Schoolboy Q and Kendrick Lamar do similarly.30bedd30

Vince had never imagined himself to be an artist of any sorts in the past. As a child, his only concern was enjoying his environment. He became a crip affiliate and eventually dropped out of high school. In his earlier years, Vince describes his lifestyle as enjoyable, as it provided a sense of community and it was standard for the resident colored men of Long Beach. It wasn’t until the summer of 2006 that Vince saw the lifestyle rear up its ugly head. As friends began to pass away and the violence became more commonplace, Staples saw the culture as it really was. However, he did not let the realization of such harsh reality curb his loyalty. To this day, Vince voices his allegiance to the set but also makes a point of stating that the lifestyle is not one to desire.

As time began pass, Vince had no idea as to what he should do with himself. He found he had no specific ambitions and as a result began to experiment with different hobbies. A friend that would later become his manager suggested rap, and after realizing his natural affinity for the craft and a constant urging by fans, Vince took the ball and ran with it.hypebeast-tv-vince-staples-in-disneyland-000

Due to manager’s reputation in the hip-hop world, it was not difficult for Vince to find fellow artists to work with. He started out with features on tracks with Odd Future and eventually spread his name throughout the world of rap, working with Artists like Common, Future, and Mac Miller along with producers such as No ID.

Vince uses the platform he has as a rapper to tell stories about his experiences as well as speak through his own perspective. He released his debut album Summertime ‘06 to critical acclaim on June 30 of 2015.

Vince Staples’ artistry has only started to blossom. His unique and mature view of his surroundings will continue to propel him to greater heights.

The 2015-2016 Golden State Warriors

As of the past year, the buzz surrounding the Golden State Warriors has taken the spotlight with every major sports network. Following their historic 67 win season that led to a championship last year, the Dubs have put together the regular season record in the history of the NBA, coming up with 73 wins and only 9 losses. Statistically speaking, this record puts this year’s Warriors ahead of Michael Jordan’s 1995-1996 Bulls, although many NBA legends have downplayed the Warriors’ accomplishments.

record holders for most three pointers in a season

record holders for most three pointers in a season

Most of the talk has involved the reigning MVP Steph Curry. Curry managed together one of the most impressive, record-shattering individual seasons the league has ever seen. A few statistics include Curry destroying the record for most made 3-pointers in one season. The record had previously been set by Curry himself with 286 made threes. This year alone he drained 402 3-pointers. Curry’s dominance does not stop there, however. Curry increased his average points per game from 23.8 PPG to over 30 PPG, the biggest increase in PPG ever for a reigning MVP.

Curry's three-point pace in comparison to other record holders

Curry’s three-point pace in comparison to other record holders

The team opened up the season winning their first 24 games, making the game look like child’s play. Steph, throughout the season, was able to sit out for more than a handful of 4th quarters, as his team would be so dominant for the first three quarters that they wouldn’t need him for the last. Nobody could really challenge the Dubs, as they completed their season with an 89% winning percentage, an accomplishment so unlikely for a team in a league that plays almost every other day. The consistency and trust between teammates allowed for the winning culture to mature, as different players knew how to step up when others were struggling. The Warriors’, along with boasting the impressive backcourt of Steph Curry and Klay Thompson, have developed key role players that constantly make huge contributions to each and every game. Examples include Draymond Green, Shaun Livingston, Ian Clark, and the improved play of Festus Ezeli.

Despite the historic success of this Warriors team, the Dubs  find themselves in 1-3 hole in the Western Conference Finals against the Thunder, who just recently pulled a major upset by beating the 67-win Spurs in only six games. Will the Warriors remember the mindset of success, or will they allow the Thunder to complete the two most impressive upsets in the NBA?  

G-Unit Reunion?

It is quite possible the beef between longtime rivals The Game and 50 Cent has been squashed. Both artists were reportedly at the video shoot for Dj Drama’s “Wishing” along with multiple Instagram posts by Pharaoh Jackson suggesting that the feud between these two rap icons had been settled. This being said, it would be a dream come true for hip-hop fans if a collaboration could make its way into the works. However, it is more than possible that the situation is still quite delicate and the production of another project could easily strain such untried repairs.

50-Game

A collaboration could also bring about unwelcome nostalgia between Game and 50. It was The Game’s first album The Documentary that set the stage for G-Unit’s historic breakup. There had already been tension between the two, and upon the album’s release, the stress boiled over. 50 claimed he had written 6 of the songs on The Documentary, which Game quickly denied. This, along with a member of Game’s entourage being shot at the Hot 97 studio in New York City, significantly distancing these members of the Unit.

Bitterness after the split continued, including The Game’s boycott of G-Unit known as “G-Unot,” and the “300 Bars and Runnin” diss.

Fortunately, as time passed, the drama died down and mutual “ceasefires” were agreed to by both parties. Ties withstood the test of time, although the strength of certain connections were strained.
A G-Unit reunion would allow for the healing of a significant wound in the world of hip-hop, and that would be more than a blessing.  

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.

AraabMuzik Shot

AraabMuzik at work

AraabMuzik at work.

26 year old hip-hop producer AraabMuzik was shot in a parking garage last week in Harlem. Although the wound was not fatal, Araab’s representative released a statement saying the MPC wizard was simply, “in the wrong place at the wrong time.” According to authorities, the crime was part of an attempted robbery. It has been reported that two men walked up to Araab’s BMW and pretended to drop something adjacent to the driver’s door. They then proceeded to unload their firearms, shooting the Dipset collaborator in the right arm and jaw, as well as grazing his head with another bullet. James Malloy, a friend of the producer who was in the vehicle at the time, was shot in the leg. Both are currently in stable condition and have been active on social media. This is not the first time Araabmuzik has found himself in a life threatening situation involving guns. In 2013, he was also shot during another attempted robbery in Rhode Island.

Although he is not exactly healthy at the moment, Araab is expected to make a full recovery and return relatively quickly to his love for production.

The Cost of Pablo’s Gospel

Kanye West. Not many can draw as much attention to themselves as this hip-hop revolutionary from the south-side of Chicago.

His most recent trip to the spotlight is centered around his latest album, “The Life of Pablo”, the name of which was only finalized days before its released, after being changed multiple times. Kanye’s self-worship concerning the album made appearances on Twitter, although this would lead to conflict with artist Wiz Khalifa and ex-girlfriend, Amber Rose, Further bolstering his outlandish reputation, he stressed this “revolutionary” project would be considered gospel. Seeing as how he has equated himself with a deity in the past, going as far as titling his last album “Yeezus,” this claim did not come as a surprise to critics.

West at TLOP's live release at Madison Square Garden

West at TLOP’s live release at Madison Square Garden

West had announced the release of TLOP to be February 11th. However, as the day arrived, it was discovered that the album would not initially be electronically released. Kanye’s desire to continually revolutionize the world of hip-hop inspired him to release the project live, putting together a visual presentation in Madison Square Garden, a move that costed millions. The album was eventually released exclusively through TIDAL, a subscription based music streaming service owned by the artists themselves and was recently bought by Jay-Z’s Project Panther. But popularity and widespread use of the service has been growing only gradually, potentially limiting the profit he could make, which resulted in his announcement that he is currently $53 million in debt. Kanye’s taste for exclusivity has undoubtedly been a major contribution to this predicament he finds himself in.

The Life of Pablo's Cover Art

The Life of Pablo’s Cover Art

All this being said, critics cannot argue against the artistry of “The Life of Pablo.” Kanye has reverted back to utilizing the same autotuned sound he used on “808s and Heartbreak.” West has also made use of more simple styles of production, an aberration in his typical over the top sound.

The evolution of Kanye West continues to progress. Hopefully, it doesn’t end up costing Yeezy too much in the future.

Flint Is Thirsty

Water. The epitome of the term sustenance. It is not common in which the world can consider one of its greatest necessities to be a privilege. However, seeing as how the prevalence of clean water is scarce and almost nonexistent in some countries, it has become essential for the privileged to count their blessings.

Taking this into account, the same level of depravity becoming evident within the United States displayed the country’s lack of preparedness.HT_Flint_Girl_Scout_2_ER_160114_4x3_608

The people of Flint, Michigan have been jeopardized. Albeit, this news has not arisen sporadically, but rather is the result of a handful of bad decisions along with the belittling of the situation by the local government.

Early in 2014, Flint had decided to change its primary water source. The city had formerly bought their water from the Detroit Water and Sewerage Department, and had planned on building a pipeline to bring in water sourced from Lake Huron, an agreement between the city and the Karegnondi Water Authority. However, with the impending termination of the contract with Detroit in April of 2014 and construction of the KWA pipeline only to be finished in 2016, Flint resorted to its backup water source, the Flint River.

This had seemed to be the most efficient way of providing water to the city’s inhabitants during the wait for KWA water. Unfortunately, the poorly treated water has appeared to have done more damage than thought conceivable. Considering the fact that most pipelines running through the Flint River were constructed of lead midway through the 20th Century, the amount of lead that had leached into the water supply had probably caused substantial contamination. This, along with the fact that city officials attempted tirelessly to convince citizens that Flint water was safe to drink, brings the city authority’s integrity into question.Flint water

The people of Flint were not sheep to the destruction taking place, as misconceptions could suggest. Less than month after Flint’s water supply switched over, numerous complaints were filed about peculiar tastes, odors, and illnesses, all seemingly related to water consumption. As this timeline progressed, Flint water was tested positive for E. Coli along with cases of boil water.

However, this jeopardy refused to be derailed. As city officials continued to downplay the situation, samples from the river proved high in lead content, which explained the drastic increase in lead poisonings, not to mention the outbreak of Legionnaire’s Disease, which can be fatal if untreated.

Slowly but surely in late 2015, the quiet progression of this emergency reached the ears of the public on a national level. Flint citizens have since received over 20,000 water filters and counting, a significant advance taking into account the city’s mostly impoverished population. This, going along with numerous lawsuits being filed against city officials, has forced the city to switch back to Detroit water temporarily, a switch costing the city $12 million. One could complain about the insane price, but is there really a price tag on survival?

Flint is currently in a state of Public Health Emergency, as sickness is still prevalent among the city’s 100,000 citizens. Countless donations have been made from all over the country, as one of Michigan’s most heavily populated cities attempts to make steps toward recovery.