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)

ME! by Taylor Swift and Brendon Urie

By: Daniela Fernandez and Maddie Baggenstoss

It’s been awhile since we’ve heard any new Taylor Swift music. The last new music we heard from her was from her Reputation album back in 2017.

Before the release of her new song, Taylor left many clues for fans to find. She posted 11 Instagram pictures all with the caption 4.26 which led many fans to think she would be releasing either a new album or single on that day. She then added a countdown on her website and Instagram story to mark the day all her fans were waiting for.

Then on April 26, 2019 she released her new song called “ME!” with Panic! At The Disco’s lead singer Brendon Urie. This song is very different from her Reputation album. It sounds very bright, cheerful, and peppy; as compared to the darker tone in her last album.

The song was released with a music video which represents a new change in Taylor’s music. Click here to watch the music video. With the video released many fans have decoded it to find hidden messages and clues for what lies ahead. According to Time Magazine, one of the messages fans have discovered is a snake transforming into butterflies. This is clearly referencing her Reputation album, which had a few major themes including snakes. The snakes represented all of the people who ruined her reputation. The snake transforming into butterflies most likely represents Taylor herself leaving behind her past drama in favor of a more positive style of music. Then fans found a painting of the Dixie Chicks in the background possibly telling them there would be a collab soon. All of the clocks in the apartment seen were set to 8:30 which many fans think is when Taylor will be releasing new music; August 30th. There are many more clues and messages throughout the video. To read more about them click here.

Swift and Urie performed their new hit song at this year’s Billboard Music Awards on May 1, 2019. According to CNN, their performance then sparked controversy because they were accused of copying Beyoncé’s 2018 Coachella performance. In both performances marching bands and drum lines were used, and the lightning was also very similar. Some have pointed out these similarities while others believe it is just bad timing. Beyoncé fans are using the hashtag #mayochella to mock the fact that Swift copied the Coachella performance in May.

In response to these allegations, many fans have taken it upon themselves to point out the fact that this is not the first time a drum line or marching band was used in a performance according to CNN. Many pointed out that Prince used them at his iconic Super Bowl Halftime Show in 2007, Gwen Stefani at the Teen Choice Awards in 2005, and Madonna in 2012 for her MDNA tour. Lastly, fans pointed out that Taylor Swift used a marching band in her “You Belong with Me” music video back in 2009.

Benstock

Every year, Highland Park Senior High has an event called Benstock. The NHS organization oversees this event, and had auditions on February 11th, 13th, and 14th. Those who auditioned for this event, and passed to perform, must attend rehearsals on March 6th and 7th at 2:00 to 5:00.

March 8th is the day of performance, starting at 6:30, at Highland Park Senior High, in the auditorium.

Benstock is an event for people to come and watch people perform their talents. It is very similar to a talent show. If you have attended a Benstock during the past years, you know how fun and exciting it can be.

Invite your friends and come with $5-$10 to attend this event. Come to have a fun time, cheer on your friends and watch amazing performances from your upperclassmen, peers and friends.

If you didn’t know about auditions, or missed the dates, don’t worry, Benstock is held every year and will hold auditions around the same time each year. Pay attention to the posters on the walls in the hallways. These posters will inform you of where and when auditions are held.

Even if you or friends aren’t performing, you can still go and enjoy your time. In previous years they had people sing, dance, tell jokes, play their instruments, and even teachers performed as a band. Some of these performances you just can’t miss.

Setting up and creating this event is not very easy. If this type of work interests you, you can join the NHS. NHS stands for National Honors Society which is a national organization that recognizes academic excellence in students. The purpose for NHS is to promote leadership, help in volunteering, and create an amazing character out of everyone. Those who want to join NHS should strive to show reliability, honesty, sincerity, and are expected to be leaders.

The the first requirement to join NHS is to have a GPA of 3.75 after the first semester of your sophomore or junior year. You also must include an essay on how you have previously served for a project, or how there is a service project you want to do in the future. Other than these requirements you will also need three letters of recommendation.

Any other questions you have can be sent to either of the NHS faculty advisors: Stacy Hanson or Jody Rohweller-Kocur. To get their information, go onto the Highland website and go the the NHS page.

If you have no interest in joining the NHS but would like to be caught up with what they do, you can follow their Twitter or Facebook page.  

Scotapalooza 2019

Every year, Highland Park Senior High School hosts a musical event called “Scotapalooza.” It took place on January 27th, 2019, which was right before the 4 days off of school. This event featured many different bands that performed. This year, the line-up for music was: both the middle and high school jazz bands, the Highland Tour band, and other small ensembles including a rock band and the “Ben Jossi Combo.”

The event took place at the North Garden Theater, which had plenty of space for the bands and seating for guests.

Scotapalooza also had a wide range of drinks and snacks to attract guests. This included a full bar, and a food station with pretzels and cookies. This part of the event itself helped raise $247 for Highland’s music program.

Overall, Highland raised $4,213 in revenue for Highland’s music program. A lot of it came from donated gift cards, same-day purchased tickets, and from food and beverage sales.

In the past, the money raised has gone to purchasing a new drum set which the band needed for jazz band. This year, the money raised will go towards purchasing new instruments, sheet music, and more needed musical items.

Scotapalooza is a great event that brings everyone at Highland together with multiples genres of student music. It also helps the Highland community by supporting high school music programs.

Spider-Man: Into the Spiderverse review

By: Vivian S

Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse, directed by Peter Ramsey, Robert Persichetti Jr., Rodney Rothman, and Bob Persichetti, was a resounding success. It has made $340.6 million at the box office and has a 97% on Rotten Tomatoes (as of this writing), and its success is well deserved.

Into the Spider-Verse centers around Miles Morales, a teen from Brooklyn who is bitten by a spider and gains powers. The movie shows his journey in learning how to become Spider-Man. At the same time, spider people from other dimensions have been thrown into his — and they need to get back home.

The entire movie was amazing to watch. Each character in the movie was fun, with different designs and personalities. The animation was gorgeous, and once the story really got started, it had me hooked. Even though the movie was great, some scenes took it to a whole different level for me. The moment when Miles truly becomes Spider-Man is, in my opinion, the best scene in the entire movie: I could watch it again and again.

This is not to say the movie is perfect. One of the biggest drawbacks for me was all the flashing lights. The trailers weren’t exaggerating the movie’s tendency toward flashing colors and lights, and sometimes it just got too bright.

Another problem for me was that there was so much more about the story and characters that I wanted to see. Looking back now, it feels like some pieces are missing, especially in Gwen’s character arc. From watching the trailers, I figured that Gwen would be one of the main characters, but when I watched the movie, it felt like she took a backseat to Miles and Peter. It feels to me like some of her scenes might have been cut. I think the movie left a lot of opportunities on the table, because the story and characters are so amazing.

All in all, I loved watching this movie: the animation, the story, the humor, the serious moments, the soundtrack, and so on. Everything was amazing! You can tell that a lot of work and talent went into it. I cannot recommend this movie enough.

The Grammy’s

The 61st annual Grammy’s kicked off on CBS, on February 10th, at 7pm Central Time, at the Staples Center in Los Angeles. Singer songwriter Alicia Keys hosted the event. In total, 81 awards were given out across 30 genres.

Some of the biggest awards are in the general field which includes: Record of the Year, Album of the Year, Song of the Year, and Best New Artist. “This is America” by Childish Gambino, aka Donald Glover, won both Record of the Year and Song of the Year. Album of the Year went to Kacey Musgraves for Golden Hour and Dua Lipa won Best New Artist.

There were also several performances during this year’s Grammy’s. There were eighteen performances featuring some of the biggest names in music including: Travis Scott, Alicia Keys, Cardi B, Post Malone, Shawn Mendes, Dua Lipa, Lady Gaga, The Red Hot Chili Peppers, and Jennifer Lopez.

There were other more memorable wins from the night, such as Drake winning Best Rap Song for “God’s Plan” and Ariana Grande winning Best Pop Album for Sweetener.

There were other important non award moments such as Michelle Obama taking the stage to talk about the importance of music and Drake’s acceptance speech in which he told young artists that award shows like the Grammy’s, that were put on by people who didn’t understand their music, were unimportant.

Another huge moments was Janelle Monae’s performance which highlighted black women.

There was also an In Memoriam segment featuring and remembering artists that passed away this past year. Jahseh Onfroy aka XXXTentacion was controversially not featured because of his history with domestic violence.

The big winners of the night were: Childish Gambino who won four awards for his song “This Is America” and the accompanying music video, and Kacey Musgraves who won four awards this year for Best Album, Best Country Album, Best Country Song and Best Solo Country Performance.

Several people also won Lifetime Achievement Awards such as: Sam and Dave, Black Sabbath, Donny Hathaway, Parliament Funkadelic, Dionne Warwick, Billy Eckstine and Julio Iglesias.

To find more information about this year’s Grammy’s, go to the Grammy’s official website at https://www.grammy.com.