Suicideboys: ‘Stop Staring at the Shadows’

Stop Staring at the Shadows was a Valentine’s Day release album from the New Orleans duo Suicideboys (often written as $uicideboy$) which consists of Ruby da Cherry and Scrim. This is their second album, but they have released many mixtapes and EPs. They have a EP saga which so far has 20 parts. Although this is only their second album, it is their 45th released project. The album was officially announced on December 19th, 2019 and had two singles.

The album has 12 tracks, and honestly that was not enough for me because I loved this album. It’s energetic, it’s loud, and the production is phenomenal. The album opens with “All Dogs Go To Heaven” which has a beat that sounds like it’s sampling a video game, and every track after keeps up with its excitement. No track feels out of place, and every part of it works. Each track feels unique while also fitting in very well with the rest of the album.

The album got pretty good reviews, and their fans were pretty satisfied with the release. Suicideboys are known for controversy and darker lyrics with a nightmarish feel, and this album definitely delivers. “MEGA ZEPH,” which the track title is based off of a rundown roller coaster in Six Flags New Orleans, feels like horror and then ends with screaming lyrics about the devil and drugs into the mic.

It’s an album that goes hard, and isn’t afraid to do what it wants to do. I would recommend this album if you like energetic, darker, music. I think it’s safe to say this is a step in the right direction for Suicideboys, and I can’t wait to see what they come out with next.

Nova Miller

At only 18 years old, Nova Miller has already debuted a new single and a wonderfully made music video. 

She was born in July of the year 2001, in Stockholm, Sweden. She is a very talented singer, songwriter, actress, and dancer. She has her very own blog and newsletter. She went on tour in 2019 to Los Angeles, California and Sweden. At only thirteen years old she was thought to be the next big thing in pop. 

Her personal theme and the vibe in the music video is very retro fancy. I love the general feel of the song and the video. I’d like to point out the mixture of retro and pop that really makes her song unique. The song is called “Do It To Myself” and it’s about toxic relationships. The lyrics describe a flaw that she has in a relationship.

The contrast and significant amounts of wardrobe changes really brings the story together. I really love the ‘70s and ‘80s trend she has. The song is easy to relate to; it’s about being insecure in relationships and avoiding opening up so you don’t get hurt.

I feel that the lyrics are a bit standard in today’s music industry and you can’t find the unique part in the lyrics. The song itself, without considering the lyrics, is very catchy and fun to listen to. 

I love her description of the song and her music because it really makes you lean in. She says “‘Do It To Myself’ is not what you think it is. At first it’s a guitar-driven retro bop but it’s really about the worst form of going crazy, driving yourself crazy! My favorite part of the song is the ‘California Dreaming’ reference like the layered vintage vocals that take you all the way to summer and back.’”

Her vocal range is remarkable, she effortlessly sings deep and slow notes, whilst being able to hit a perfect whistle note. She demonstrates her singing abilities on many social media accounts such as TikTok and Instagram. She also includes a few tips and tricks to help with your singing which I think is nice. 

She has her new single and she says there’s more on the way.

Lil Wayne: ‘Funeral’

Lil Wayne’s album Funeral came out January 31st after it was first announced in 2016. If you flip the cover upside down it cleverly also spells Lil Wayne. The album is a continuation of his 2010 album Rebirth. Funeral is Lil Wayne’s fifth album to go number one on the charts. It has many featured artists including names such as Adam Levine, 2 Chainz, and XXXTentacion.

“I Do It” was the only single released from the album. Funeral has 24 tracks and the album as a whole takes an hour and sixteen minutes to listen through. Plus, with ten features it’s no wonder why the album feels bloated.

It starts off strong with its title track which starts off somber and slow, but starts to pick up speed near the end. The four tracks after it are well crafted and sound like classic Lil Wayne.

However, track six, “Stop Playin With Me,” marks the beginning of a very poor middle. The tracks all have similar beats, and while they each have some good quality to them, they don’t feel unique.

The Adam Levine feature is poor, and it feels like the other artists featured on the album are not fully utilized or just don’t seem to fit on the song or album. 

I personally had a hard time getting through the middle slog because the songs didn’t offer much for me to grab onto. I was writing my passing thoughts on the songs while I was listening and, while the first few tracks I had a good amount of notes for, I really couldn’t find anything memorable in most of the songs after.

The album does have a tribute to the late Kobe Bryant ,who died in a helicopter crash just five days before the release of Funeral. In the song, Lil Wayne and Jay Rock rap about achieving king status in the game just like Kobe with basketball. It ends with 24 seconds of silence. 

Funeral was given mixed reviews. Some critics felt it was too long and unoriginal while others thought it was decent, but certainly not the best. It’s something that fans of Lil Wayne will enjoy, but not an album that will catch your attention if you’re not already familiar with him. 

It seems like the album doesn’t really know what it’s doing. It throws everything out there, but only a few songs are strong enough to stick. It’s a good album, just not cohesive enough, and it offers very little.

Would I recommend this album? Well, yes, if you’re a Lil Wayne fan or big into rap, but if you’re just looking for something to casually bop to or an intro to Wayne’s music then this album probably isn’t the direction to go. It certainly doesn’t live up to his older classics.

Lauv

As a 25-year-old singer and songwriter, Ari Leff has really made a name for himself. Professionally known as Lauv, Ari is a singer and guitarist. On March 6th, 2020 he will be debuting his album how i’m feeling. His fans are buzzing about his new album; all the songs are very fun but also have a deeper meaning which is interesting to listen to. 

He already has 3 million views on YouTube with his new, romance packed song “Tattoos Together” which was released on January 16th, 2020.

His music videos are usually bright and very catchy. Once interviewed about his new song he says, “This is one of my favorite videos I’ve ever done cause I’ve recently done a few heavier, more existential videos, but “Tattoos” is just straight fun the whole time….and I got to prove to the world once again that I can’t dance.” 

In 2017, he had his first hit song “I Like Me Better” and continues to make more electronic pop based music. He says that “I Like Me Better” was the fastest song he has ever written and he says it may just be one of his most popular. His career has been lifting ever since. 

With his collaboration with popular K-Pop group, BTS, and with Billie Eillish, Khalid and more, his fans are excited to see what comes next.

His songs have been played in popular TV series and movies such as Grey’s Anatomy, 13 Reasons Why, and To All The Boys I’ve Loved Before. So when you listen to his songs you may recognize his extremely talented voice.

He is touring through many different countries for almost the entire year and will be stopping in Minneapolis on July 28th, 2020. He is going to travel the world, sharing his songs and his upbeat energy. 

Grammys 2020

The 62nd annual Grammy Awards took place in Los Angeles, California in the Staples Center on Sunday, January 26th. The Grammy Awards, a show where musicians from all different genres from Country to Rap, get recognition for the work that they released within the last year.

Just 10 days before the award show was about to take place, there was a removal of a pivotal member of the Recording Academy, chief Deborah Dugan after strong allegations of misconduct at the nonprofit. The Grammy Awards took place on a rather somber and heartbreaking Sunday as hours before the awards show began, NBA and Los Angeles Laker legend, Kobe Bryant and 8 others, including his 13-year-old daughter, Gianna Bryant, tragically lost their lives in a helicopter crash in Calabasas, CA.

Due to that heartbreaking loss, hundreds of people started gathering around the Staples Center, where Kobe Bryant played for 20 years, before the Grammys started. The Grammy administration started telling people to leave the area before the award show but no one budged. Conversations started about even canceling the award show because it was “disrespectful” to host an award show at an arena that many called an arena Kobe Bryant built.

The show started off with a performance from Pop-Rap artist, Lizzo. Before her performance she stated that her performance was dedicated to Kobe, “Tonight is for Kobe!” she yelled at the start. After Lizzo’s performance, the host, Alicia Keys, who has won 15 Grammys in the past, started the show off immediately acknowledging Kobe Bryant. Boyz II Men and Alicia Keys sang to honor Kobe Bryant, and the 8 others lost in the helicopter crash. Throughout the night, Kobe Bryant was always brought up.

Many artists performed throughout the night from many genres including Billie Eilish, Lil Nas X and Ariana Grande.

The big winner of the night was 18-year-old pop singer, Billie Eilish. She won five of the six awards she was nominated for, including winning all four of the big categories: Album, Song, Record of the Year, and Best New Artist. She became the first artist to sweep these awards since Christopher Cross in 1981. At 18, she is also the youngest person to win Album of the Year.

At the end of the show, DJ Khaled, YG, and Roddy Ricch all came out to perform for a tribute to the late Los Angeles rapper, Nipsey Hussle, who was shot and killed this past March at his clothing store. Nipsey Hussle, who was nominated for his first studio album, Victory Lap attended the Grammys in 2019 but never won a Grammy. This year however, he posthumously won 2 Grammys for his song “Racks In the Middle.”

The Grammys had the lowest ratings ever in their 62 years of the shows airing but, many iconic things occurred. 

2019 upcoming rap news

by. Brandon Raine

2019 music has mostly been about rap music like big stars like NBA Youngboy, Lil Baby and Megan Thee Stallion, but I’m going to give you an update from other local and big rappers along in the USA on their way to the top of the rap game.

Minnesota rappers El Lordoo and El Robbo have been dropping hits back to back bringing St. Paul on notice by dropping songs like “Alexander Wang” and “Trenches” which has over 2k views on YouTube in the last couple of months.

Staying in the midwest, Chicago best Lil 40 keeps applying pressure to the rap game by getting features from famous rapper Lil Herb which he averages over 20k views per song that he drops.

Autotune is becoming very popular, and a new wave, for all the hip hop artists. It changes your pitch or how you sing in the studio, and this addition has made songs more likeable towards different audiences.

We can soon expect artist G Herbo to drop his highly anticipated album in the weeks to come; hints that it might be coming out because G Herbo released a single last week which he kind of was using his old flow that made him popular.

Rod Wave has been blowing up since he dropped his album Ghetto Gospel on all platforms, with Pitchfork ranking his album 8 out of 10, and music listeners saying his album is very relatable and relaxing.

Also, female artist Asian da Brat just dropped a new album called Fight Night which includes a verse from Nle Choopa, Yella Beezy and Yung Bleu.

While NBA Youngboy is the most streamed artist right now in the USA other rappers like Da Baby and Rod Wave seem to be closing the gap.

The collab of NBA Young Boy and Juice Wrld Bandit was the most streamed rap song this past week.

More rappers should be dropping off new albums and songs next week for you rap fans.

 

Layton Greene

Layton Greene was born in Missouri, on December 4, 1998. She became an overnight star in late 2017, when she made a video of herself singing Kodak Black’s “Roll in Peace”; it went viral with millions of views.

After the video went viral, she went into the studio with producer G-Styles and recorded an extended version of the song.

After that, she jumped into the top 15 of Billboard’s Hot R&B songs chart, and record labels started to take an interest in her.

“I always felt I was destined for this,’’ she said. “I try to find the light in every situation. Ever since I was a little girl, I knew I was going to be a professional singer. I knew I would be famous one day. I didn’t know how it was going to happen. I just knew it would.’’

She then introduced her new album two months ago Tell Your Story so the world could get to know her. The album is also about the struggles she has faced in life. She hopes that the new album also inspires others to tell their stories, and let others get to know them.

The 7th  song, “I Love You” has around a 5 million views on YouTube. It’s about a former flame and their toxic relationship.

Her love for music has attracted fans all over the world. Her voice is great and it fits the overall theme of the song “I Love You,” and the lyrics are enjoyable. Her lyrics are worth listening to again and again.

Overall, I would give Greene’s song a 9/10.

Nicki Minaj

Nicki Minaj was born in the Caribbean but moved to New York when she was 5 years old. Nicki Minaj’s father was a drug addict with a long history of violence.

At the age of 12, Minaj casted her own first rap. Minaj then decided to go into acting at LaGuardia High School of Music and Arts. But her acting career didn’t do as well as she wanted it to, so she went into music and started to write her own songs.

She was then found by the Dirty Money CEO Fendi, who signed her to his label. From there on, Nicki Minaj’s music went well.

Nicki Minaj has recently announced that she has gotten married to a rapper from New York named Kenneth Petty. They both teased the internet for a long time hinting about their upcoming marriage.

Nicki Minaj posted an Instagram photo of two matching mugs that said “Mrs and Mr” and baseball caps that said “bride and groom.”

Also, she announced that she got married October 21st. They met in Sutherland Jamaica, Queens back in elementary school and they became childhood sweethearts. 

They announced their relationship last December. In January 2019, Nicki said on twitter “we were like this about earlier since we were very young kids in the hood.”

On her “Queen” radio show on Apple Music in August, she revealed that her and her fiancé were going to get married in 80 days.

Nicki Minaj’s husband committed crimes in the past. One of them was attempted rape in 1995, and he was guilty of manslauhter in 2006. He is labeled as a level 2 sex offender because of the 1995 rape conviction.

Nicki Minaj responded to fans about Petty’s past and she stated that the girl he allegedly raped was 15 and he was 16 and how they were in a relationship.

Tyler the Creator: A discography

Image via rollingstone.com

(I just want to preface this with the fact that Tyler the Creator’s music isn’t super “PG friendly,” so um… keep that in mind before giving him a listen).

Tyler Gregory Okonma, more professionally known as Tyler the Creator, is an American rapper, producer (like actually a producer, he makes all the instrumentals he sings over) from the musical conglomerate known as Odd Future, will have released his fifth studio album by the time this article is published, and his fans are undoubtedly pumped. But, for all you new fans out there (or even potentially new fans judging how good this album will be), where do you go from here? Whether you just finished listening to the album, or you’ve just overheard your peers talking about him, if you want to know more, you’ve come to the right place. So, here’s a little bit of a timeline of his musical career. (I’m not going to do anything about his personal life, because this article is more about the art, rather than the artist).

In 2009, Tyler released his his first debut project, known as Bastard, it was almost entirely produced on FL studio, and so it is not necessarily considered a real “studio” album; some simply consider it a mixtape. It went on to become critically acclaimed, ranking at 32 on Pitchforks top 50 albums of 2010. It was also very popular for it’s single “French.” The album followed Tyler going through somewhat of a therapy session with his therapist character known as Dr. T.C. (wonder what that stands for), sometimes intervening, and asking Tyler concept questions in order to start off a song. It contains noticeably intense lyrics with lots of devotion to shocking subjects. It also contained many samples from various songs from artists such as Dexter Wansel, Cortex, and Jay-Z.

While the album was very popular at the time, Tyler really did not jump into the mainstream until he signed a record deal with XL Recordings. He then announced his new album Goblin, then promptly released his first single from the album “Yonkers,” on radio, (which came along with a music video where he iconically pretended to eat a cockroach).

Album art to Goblin Tyler’s first studio album via pitchfork.com

When Goblin released, it was noticeably similar to Bastard in a few ways (while also being wildly different, if that makes any sense). First off, it again starts off with a therapy session with Dr. T.C., but this time, instead of Tyler starting off by talking about his depression, or other negative aspects of his life, he talks about how he had gotten famous, and how his newfound fame is now affecting him.

But on the final track “Golden” (fittingly after a song called “Au79”), it’s revealed that Dr. T.C. is simply Tyler’s conscience, along with everyone he had been conversing, and interacting with, throughout the entirety of the past albums. The album goes on to have graphic imagery, and intense language just like last time, but with a slightly more desolate, or moody overall feel to them. And similar to Bastard, his lyrics contain an excessive amount of violence, and well… not PG themes, having songs like “She” which details him being a stalker, to lyrics where he details stabbing Bruno Mars… for some… reason…

The production value is much increased this time around, and again, it was somewhat mixed in reception, as there was a larger audience Tyler now had to deal with, people comparing his dark demeanor to what Emenim had done years before. But nevertheless, his loyal fans loved it, and still continue to enjoy his album to this day. But things started to radically change when he released his second studio album; Wolf.

One of the many album arts for WOLF via
sidewalkhustle.com

Wolf was an intense change in tune for Tyler the Creator, as his music had much less intense synths. He also displayed a vast shift in lyrical themes, with making music with a more relaxed aesthetic along with shifting away from the horror core genre he previously established for himself in his previous two albums. The album also accompanied the single “Domo23.”

This album also uses a very similar, and unique synth throughout every song on the album, which makes for a very positive consistency throughout the album (it’s not used as much on “Trashwang,” but my point still stands). Though there is a lot more calmed down nature to the album, he does in fact still have a little bit of his trap influenced hard lyricism, and background drum kits.

It had received very positive reviews, and generally positive reviews from critics. Craig Jenkins from Pitchfork said, “With Wolf, Tyler, the Creator displays a radical growth as a producer, composer and arranger, even if, as a rapper, he’s still up to some of the same antics. Still, the album contains a few of the best songs he’s ever written.” (Personally, this album is the best album he’s released so far in my opinion – given this was written before Igor comes out, and from the writing of this article Igor has only gotton brief teasers, so I can’t really form an opinion on it yet).

One of the album arts from Tyler’s album Cherry Bomb via genius.com

Tyler then went on to release his third studio album of his, known as Cherry Bomb. It featured a very unique sound, which elevated itself throughout all of the songs of the album, in a kind of similar way to Wolf. But the certain sound was this very intense grainy bass, as opposed to this rhythmic dreamlike synth (okay I’ll stop praising Wolf for a sec). This grainy bass was very consistent throughout all of the tracks, which made this album very unique in nature, and very different from everything Tyler had produced up until this point, as he somewhat refrained from using raw noise like this (which I do commemorate him for on that, and for taking such a risk).

The album did indeed get mostly positive reviews, by critics, but it wasn’t enjoyed as much by the fans as his other works, as it’s never really listed as one of the more popular albums of his, unlike Goblin or Wolf. Tyler even said in an interview that he didn’t really like how poor the reception was of the album by fans, and how he wanted to try something different for his next album (I mean, I liked “Buffalo,” and the song with ScHoolboy Q, but to each his own I guess).

But again on the note of critics enjoying it, Angel Diaz of Complex said in a review that Cherry Bomb is Tyler greatest creation to date. However, the album is bit of a mess in the beginning, and while Tyler’s grown immensely as a producer, his rapping isn’t consistently up to par.” (I actually think that the album gets weaker as it goes on, and the beginning songs are some of the best parts, but alright then).

But things really started to pick up in 2017, with his newest album (of writing this article) Flower Boy.

Album art from Tyler’s Album Flower Boy via genius.com

Flower Boy is (as before IGOR drops) Tyler’s newest (released in 2017), and seemingly most mainstream album. It is VASTLY different from any of his other works and I don’t just mean it uses a unique sound kit, I mean it’s almost as if he’s a different artist entirely. The lyrics feature an infinitely less violent tone, and more of an introspective or “deep” thoughts to them.

And the production, don’t even get me started on the production, because you don’t need to… I’m doing it anyways. The production is unlike anything we’ve seen from Tyler. It is very detailed in instrumental design, as songs could be heavily described as grandiose, and orchestral, accompanied by his revolutionized hip hop drum beat, which is while traditional to his work, brings an entirely new feeling to his songs.

His lyrics also have been intensely diverged from the traditional, going from messing around to a point where his friend Taco just starts eating chips in the middle of “Tina” on Bastard, to having the line “How many riots can it be until them black lives matter” on “Foreword.” That is just one of many examples on this album.

Another thing with Flower Boy, and I believe that some change is kind of good, I mean this isn’t really my favorite album of his (in fact I think it might be the weakest of his in Tyler’s discography), but I enjoy him doing new things. There were a couple songs that I did in fact like, and while I do appreciate the production, and effort put into the songs, I just couldnt really enjoy some of them, such as “Pothole”, which featured Jalen Smith, whose presence, and musical style is well… unexpected to say the least.

But nonetheless, the reception was EXTREMELY well, as for one example, Av Club has said that  Flower Boy is the first time he’s been equally as forthcoming in his actual music. His flow has tightened up, and for a man whose voice basically destined him for rap stardom, he’s become even better at stretching his booming baritone into novel shapes, employing a plethora of flows.”

One of the album arts to Tyler’s upcoming album IGOR, via complex.com

So yeah, that’s basically it. Since then, he’s released a couple singles, but nothing really of note (I mean he did the soundtrack for that new Grinch movie, but I don’t really think that’s worth my time, or yours for that matter). But on May 17th, he will have released his newest album IGOR, and from what I’ve seen from the kind of odd, but not very futuristic (pun fully intended) teasers, he’s uploaded to his youtube channel, its gonna be pretty good.

So yeah, if you wanna get into Tyler the Creator, I suggest starting with Wolf, but that’s just my preference, and try not to get put off by his extremely “arty” music videos. They’re um… kinda weird. So if you don’t mind me, I’ll be listening to his entire discography while vapidly refreshing my twitter feed to see if the album has dropped yet. Bye.

HP spring music events

Every spring, the Highland Park Senior High music program has a variety of events planned for students to participate in. This includes performances in and out of the school, with some being fundraisers that support Highland’s music program.

One spring event is the Police Patrol Parade on May 14th, in downtown St. Paul. The purpose of this event is to support and honor St. Paul police by playing songs and marching from Mears Park to CHS field. Schools from all parts of the Twin Cities attend this event. When the march is over, students are given a ticket to enjoy a Saints game at CHS field.

Another event coming to Highland on May 10th, 17th, and 18th is Trills and Thrills. This is where different schools come from all across the country to perform band pieces in the Highland auditorium. Typically, Highland band students help out with the performance throughout the day, moving chairs, stands, and instruments.

The most important event at the end of the school year is the Spring Concert. This event showcases all the different music programs at Highland. This includes orchestra, 9th grade band, varsity band, symphonic band, choir and jazz band. Every year, this concert is great for families to come and see their children showcase all the music they have learned and practiced that year.

The last band event of the year is the performance for graduation. Students from all 3 bands (9th grade, varsity and symphonic) come together to celebrate their senior classmates graduating. The band always plays the classic graduation song “Pomp and Circumstance,” along with a popular Highland anthem, “Highland Legend.”

 

the Highland Park Senior High marching band during Premiere Parade for Picturehouse’s “A Prairie Home Companion” at Fitzgeral Theatre in St. Paul, MN, United States. (Photo by E. Charbonneau/WireImage)