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Jay Som: Everybody Works

Landen Winkles

Virtuous though it may be, patience is a difficult quality to capture in guitar rock, a medium that much prefers boldness, concision, and urgency. Perhaps that’s why Bay Area multi-instrumentalist Melina Duterte’s reverence for the human capacity to wait, think and grow comes across as a revelation on “Everybody Works,” her first official album as Jay Som. “Take time to figure it out,” she advises on lead single, “The Bus Song.” In its context, she’s caught between relationship statuses, assuring the object of her fixation that she’ll “be the one who sticks around.” As an introduction to an album full of reminders not to rush things, though, the line is enough of a relief to make you involuntarily exhale.

Twenty-two-year-old Duterte made the fuzzy, dreamy, plaintive aesthetic her own on “Turn Into,” nine self-recorded tracks she uploaded to Bandcamp on a tipsy whim over a year ago. She later re-released with Polyvinyl in late 2016, billing the makeshift debut as a collection of “finished and unfinished songs” rather than a proper album. Although she made “Everybody Works” alone in her bedroom studio, its repertoire ranges from folk to funk to chart pop. It’s not a bedroom-pop album because it sounds a certain way, but because it feels so intimate. Most of Duterte’s elaborate songs could be mistaken for full-band compositions, yet her preference for writing and recording in solitude imbues each one with an introspective quality.

She’s ready for a change in pop music, and there’s no better indicator that a songwriter has found her voice than the ability to explore new styles and still sound like the same artist. Just a few years into her adult life, and only one album into her recording career, Melina Duterte has swept past a milestone many musicians never even get in their sights.

Album Reviews 0

Larry June: Larry TWO

Deja Kehinde

After dropping his Larry EP last June, the Bay Area’s Larry June is back with a sequel, Larry TWO. The EP has six tracks and includes features from Zacari, known for recent collabs with the TDE camp, on 2 songs “Still Mackin” and “Sparklin”. Production comes from K fisha, DVME, Kino Beats and more.

In 20 minutes June supplies listeners with his laid back flows over West-Coast-inspired instrumentation to show his versatility as an artist. He’s definitely more than just a West Coast rapper spitting about plush lifestyles and women; he’s an artist capable of tapping into different sounds. While half of the project consists of more Bay Area sounds, tracks like “I’m Just Askin’”, “The Dealer Pt.2”, and “The Scale” you hear more of a Southern, Atlanta rap style from the adlibs to rhyme patterns.

Overall, June dropped a great project. Larry Two is short and sweet and definitely a great introduction to his work for first time listeners. With the release of the EP, June also released a vlog entitled “Larry TWO (Episode 1)” showing fans his creative process in his home studio.

Album Reviews 0

Rick Ross: Rather You Than Me

Jordan Suber

Rick Ross has been in the rap game for over 10 years and “Rather You Than Me” is the rapper’s ninth studio album as a successor to his 2015 studio album “Black Market.” The album garnered main stream attention with the song, “Idols become your Rivals,” a track where Ross takes shots at fellow MC, Birdman and features hilarious opening commentary from comedian, Chris Rock. The 12-song project features the biggest names in hip-hop today including the talents of: Future, Nas, Jeezy and more.

The lead single, “I Think She Like Me,” featuring Ty Dolla $ign, is a catchy song that really gets you anticipated for the rest of the album. The first promotional single “Trap Trap Trap” featuring Atlanta native Young Thug and Wale really pumps you up and makes you want to keep the song on repeat. The song, “Black Market” peaked at the #6 position on the US music charts and on the US R&B and US Rap charts, the album held the #2 spot. These tracks on this project will have you feeling yourself vibing out for weeks to come.

Rick has produced nothing but consistent songs over his impressive tenure and shows no sign of slowing down. Overall this album is another Rick Ross classic.

Artist of The Week 0

Benny Universe

Bennett Okanume, artist name “Benny Universe” formerly known as “Kidd Prodigee” is a 20-year-old Rapper/Singer and songwriter from Upper Marlboro, Maryland. He has been making music for six years. Some of his biggest influences are Super Duper Kyle, Bryce Vine, Chance The Rapper, Childish Gambino, and Kid Cudi.
When asked why he chose to make music he explained “I make music because it’s the only thing that can not be taken away from me. I lost my mother at the age of 10 and I never knew my father. All my life I have had everything taken away from me beyond my ability and now I use my music as my power.  I want my music is to inspire other people who are in a similar situation as me and let them know that things can change for the better. I just want to make people happy. I want people to be able to connect with my music on an emotional level. When I actually do get more of a fan base of followers, I want to be able to talk to each of them personally and get feedback on my music. I’m just trying to make people in general happy to be alive and be able to listen to good music. I also want to let them know everything will be okay no matter what they are going through, no matter who you are, you matter too.”
Concert 0

The Life Aquatic Tour

By Trévaris Hardy

Last Week, Long Beach native, Vince Staples paid a visit to the ATL at Center Stage as a part of his Life Aquatic Tour. Staples is known for collaborating with other independent California acts such as Odd Future’s Earl Sweatshirt and Mike G and his unique style that gives a moody and eerie feel.

To set the mood before his performance, the venue’s stage screened the film “The Life Aquatic with Steve Zissou” (2004) but in reverse as a clever nod to his tour of the same name. Kilo Kish, a new artist to the scene who’s made guest appearances on several of Staples’ albums including ”Summertime ‘06” and “Prima Donna,” opened the show with her own original music. Reading the crowd, Kish’s artsy music and visuals were hard to digest, but overall wasn’t bad.

Staple’s set lasted about an hour and a half, and went through his repertoire of fan favorites including “Senorita”, “Bag Bak” and closed out with the song that shot Staples in to the hip-hop stratosphere and garnered 15 million views on YouTube, “Norf Norf”. Staples is anticipated to drop his latest album, “Big Fish Theory” later this year.