Morning Commute: East Row Rabble – “Good For Me”

 

Let’s get funky this Tuesday morning. East Row Rabble is a classic styled big band that would’ve fit right into the 30s and 40s in America, as we tried to dance our way out of the Great Depression. My favorite thing about this song is a little tidbit East Row Rabble shared with us: ” Rabble front man Ben Drysdale actually used the song to propose to his wife on the hills overlooking Queensland’s Glasshouse Mountains underneath the giant “Woodfordia” sign at the Woodford folk festival.” Ben seems to have set an example that very few of us can remotely compete with. When we explore the lyrics a bit, we can see just why he chose this particular song, aside from how dope it sounds.

“She’s got a heart of gold And she’s easy on the eye Took me six goddamn months To convince her to be mine So I just sat back, just bidin’ my time Coz this girl’s too damn fine for me”

So we quickly start to realize that the “Good For Me” title has a double meaning. She is “good for him” in the normal sense of the word: she’s a positive part of his life, but also the singer feels like it might be appropriate to throw the word “too” in front of “good for me.” The rest of the song spells out just how perfect she is, combining “Disney princess and Norma Jean” (Marilyn Monroe), and “sinner and saint.” Overall she sounds like the perfect woman in his eyes, but I appreciate it doesn’t stray too far into hyperbole. It mentions things like her steady love, even in hard times, and how she ignores his widening waist. It’s a beautiful mix of grandeur and reality, and I can easily see why it worked as a proposal. We know we’d say yes.

-Caleb

Looking for more? We added this song to our July TOTD playlist on Spotify. 

 

 

Video of the Day: River Whyless – “Born In The Right Country”

This one is a thinker guys. Did you already watch it? Go watch it again, I’ll wait. This is one of my favorite pieces of art I’ve seen in a long time. There’s a ton to unpack here, and I’m going to try, but first let me tell you why I connect with this song so intensely. There are two primary reasons.

  1. I grew up in the South. Like the real South. Let’s call it a state Trump won with 54%. The South isn’t inherently racist, but it’s hard not to grow up around some racist attitudes, even from people who I consider good people. For example, my parents would claim not to be racist, but I remember some stern warnings to my sister about a black kid named Jovan that was coming around. I don’t think my parents are bad people, and they are not KKK level racist, but I’m using them as an example to explain that even my educated parents, who are charitable and kind, are racist. The last frame of this video that scrolls “wolves don’t exist” after we’ve watched an entire video of a black kid being led around by a wolf is exactly how baffled I’ve felt for most of my life, watching good natured people, stay willfully ignorant to the prejudices they hold, and the damage that does.
  2. I don’t live in the South anymore, but that doesn’t solve the racism problem the way you might idealize when you’re growing up in a small town dreaming of moving to a liberal utopia. I teach at a private school in the suburbs of Rhode Island where an administrator was removed last year for getting caught using a few racial slurs. I have students sitting behind desks every day who swear Colin Kaepernick is un-American, and Michael Brown deserved to be shot for being a “thug.” I don’t necessarily think these are bad people, mostly because I’ve made it my goal in life to talk through ignorance with people, and if I believe people can’t learn and change, I think I’d become quite depressed. The thing that I most associate with both of these experiences, my past, and my present, is that most of these people just have no idea the amount of privilege they are carrying. It seems somehow offensive to their character to suggest that they are not “self-made” or that someone has it harder than them. Mostly I think this is because we all have our struggles, and it makes us feel bad that we aren’t billionaires either, so how dare people say they have it harder than us? On the other hand, to admit some people are living with a level of prejudice and difference that you can’t fully comprehend somehow seems like a weak thing for these people to admit.

Alright, enough about me. Let’s talk about the video. We can immediately get the sense where it’s going when we read the title, “Born in the Right Country”. The title itself evokes a lot of the immigration struggles we have going on right now, where a person or family is attempting to find a better life in America, despite the risks involved, and is being treated inhuman because of it. But in the video, we see a slightly different angle. We follow the story of a young black male going to high school, with a wolf around his wrist. We also see that his mother, and a girl wearing a hijab also have their own wolves, while the white kids do not. This seems to suggest that even though presumably these characters didn’t immigrate here, they were still born in the “wrong” country. Not in a literal sense, but in the sense that the rules operate differently for them because of generations of social prejudice and oppression. The video shows this clearly with the white father looking disapprovingly at the potential of his daughter being in an interracial relationship, and also with the boy being stopped on the way home by the police, when he was just minding his own business. It obviously clinches up your stomach when you see those blue lights because of the countless ways that’s gone badly over the past several years (Micheal Brown, Trayvon Martin, Oscar Grant, etc. etc.).

When we explore the lyrics, we see them dripping with sarcasm from the perspective of Trump, or his followers, or anyone who feels like they are superior purely because they were born white and/or affluent.

“I’ll tell you baby, a secret Manufactured truth is easy to sell When you own the factory And you own the hearts of the clientele But can you really blame me? Built on a system where some must fail So that you can break through If you’ve got the right skin Or you’re born in the right country”

The perspective shifts after this point to directly talk to these people and attempt to wake them out of their ignorance:

“Don’t you know you’re lucky kid You were raised on the right side of town Born rich, now you’re yelling “I’ve seen the inside and you’re out” But can I truly blame you? We’re built on the dreams we feed to the poor So that you can break through If you’ve got the right name Or you’ve got the right god Or you’re born in the right country”

But unfortunately, the system is set up this way. There are people profiting from the lower and middle class fighting amongst themselves. Instead of placing the blame at the top, we are continually told to look at our neighbor with different skin, heritage, religion, and blame them for any short comings or failures. It’s classic scapegoating, and this current regime is not the first to use it. My only hope is that more and more people can try to see through it for what it really is; and the best way to do that is through people using their artistic talents, like River Whyless to try to break through to people in a language they can understand.

-Caleb

We’ve added this to our July TOTD playlist. Check it out here.

We just released a new podcast episode, on the theme of Addiction. You can check that out along with all the others, right here. 

 

The Flock: New Release Friday: Mike Xavier, Foresteater, Chris Noah, Callum Pitt, Sean Tobin

*This first paragraph is a copy of a previously written synopsis of the point behind the new section, The Flock.*

We have two goals here with our blog and our podcast; we want to help you find a bunch of new artists that you love, and we also want to support those artists. We came up with a new idea for a post where we take a genre, and give you a few artists within that genre. That way, it helps everyone. If you come here because you love one artist, you’ve got five more that you’re probably going to love now. That helps you load up your playlist with tracks that will impress your friends, and it also helps the artists hit untapped markets and possibly network with likeminded artists they didn’t know existed. Without further ado, I present “The Flock.”

ARTISTS LOOK HERE: Caleb and I have started a Facebook group that we want to turn into a place for artists from around the country to find likeminded bands to fill shows out, find shows, and really just a community made by artists to talk about the industry. If you’re interested in joining that, CLICK HERE.

Mike Xavier – “Time to Reflect”

I love when a song says something that we’ve heard before, but says it in such a eloquent way that it reaffirms everything you know. At it’s core, this song is about society, racism, and the difficulties we all face, but Mike Xavier is just so eloquent that it illuminates these issues in a way that is impossible to ignore. Other than Mike’s obvious lyrical talent, something you may not notice unless you are paying attention is that he isn’t just rapping over a track. He has a live trumpet, sax, keys, guitar, bass, and drums accompanying his songs. It really gives this song a fuller sound that you can’t accomplish from beats, no matter how good the DJ is. When asked about his inspiration Mike’s message is simple: “We just got to teach our kids they can change the world,” Xavier raps with his calm though upbeat tone. “They used to tell me, ‘Try them drugs.’ I ain’t never try it.” Mike is a shining example of using art to make the world a better place, and I’m happy to share this as our first track of New Release Friday.

Foresteater – “Unbutton”

“Momma’s shopping at the mall
Daddy’s sipping alchohol
Baby’s watching TV shows
Shoving things up in her nose

Why do the opposites look the same?
Our manufactured outfit came
and is it sincerity
or artificial empathy?

Unbutton my head
Get me out of my head
Unbutton my head please
Get me out of my head”

This song is an anthem for middle class malaise. It does the same thing several 90s movies did by taking a closer look at suburbia and showing the horrors beneath the surface. Sure, money makes some things easier, but it also brings a new set of problems. Having grown up squarely in middle class suburbia, I saw many of the things this song mentions, and experienced the surreal plasticity that it tends to create for those who inhabit these spaces but can’t fully enjoy shopping sprees, keeping up with the Joneses, and the skewed relationships created by making money and materialism such an integral part of our happiness.

Chris Noah – “River”

This song reminds me a lot of some of my favorite summertime music. It mixes pop vocals with some really interesting electronic beats to create an experience that surrounds you completely. Let’s dive into some of the lyrics:

“This state that I’m in, I can do nothing about,
Starting to wear me out, do we need disclosure
Your voice has become an eco in my mind
I don’t really recognize and you still have me reeling

Don’t swim so fast, i can’t keep up, don’t let me drown in your river
Don’t waste your love on someone else, while I’m still here in the picture ”

So it’s a very familiar scenario. The speaker is still in love with someone who is falling out of love with him, and he feels himself being left behind. It’s a really tragic position to be in, and the haunting background vocals as the song builds really hammer home the crescendo of pain that can inhabit these moments where you aren’t ready to move on, but you know it’s not your choice anymore. Keep an eye out for Noah’s upcoming 3 song compilation due in September. He has already won “Debut of the Year” last year at the Annual Latvian Music Awards, and I can’t wait to see what else he comes up with.

Callum Pitt – “Away From The Rousing Parades”

This song just starts off so calming and soothing. The mix of the intricate picking and the beautiful vocals take you to a sunny day driving with the windows down.

“There’s a warm wind coming, marching along with a big brass band

I’m waving an outstretched aching hand, so slow”

When these lines kick in, the song transforms into an anthem worth screaming at the top of your lungs. The thing I like most about this song though, is despite how upbeat and warm the song sounds; it has some truly existential moments.

“We search fora meaning before disappearing and hope that our memories survive”

Ultimately the song ends in a conclusion that all we can do is try to find someone to share the time we do have with and hope for the best. It’s a grounded but hopeful ending to a very complex poetic song.

Sean Tobin – “This Midnight”

And last, but certainly not least. Enjoy this single off of Sean Tobin’s new release of the same name. Throughout the song, he seems amazed that he is currently where he is in life, considering some of his past and the way he viewed the world. My favorite word play in the whole song is probably:

“Met a girl one February evening, swore to God there was no God at all,

Sunday came, she was praying for God knows what she done,

guess she was just talking to the wall”

The several switch ups and double meanings in that one line are astounding. Ultimately, the song seems to have a similar message to the one before this: life is potentially meaningless, there are no guarantees, life is short, thank god I have you, let’s enjoy the time we have for now and hope it lasts forever. “Baby, we could make this midnight last, come the morning, our stories will be in the past.”

-Caleb

If you enjoyed these songs, we’ve uploaded them all to our July TOTD playlist on Spotify.

If you haven’t followed us on Facebook, check it out. We have two new live streams that we posted today.

Mid-Day Music Blast: MOWUKIS – “A Quick Stab In The Heart”

 

I don’t know about you guys, but I immediately thought of Radiohead or Polyneso when I first heard these guys. Considering those are two of my favorite bands, that immediately made this one of my favorite new songs. MOWUKIS bio says simple: “I write music to lower the weight.” I’m not entirely sure what it means, but I have some guesses. My silly answer is that he writes so much music that he doesn’t have time to over eat. My serious answer is that he’s using music as a form of therapy, like a lot of us artists tend to. He’s lowering the weight of the world, or his soul, or whatever metaphor you want to use.

The song only has two verses, so even though I normally wouldn’t put a full song’s lyrics, it’s not too egregious. Let’s check them out:

“I…
I just fed the lions
made them such cowards
made them such a lie.
I had,
I had to draw out solutions
to keep this jungle of eyes
from eating my delights.

King,
Alone in full possession
A kingdom-broken-passion
A quick stab in the heart.
Walls,
To keep ourselves from motion
Citizens as pollution
Are slowly passing by.”

I feel like I could attempt to write an essay on these lyrics. Instead, I’ll hit a couple of high points. How does feeding the lions make them cowards? If you put them in captivity and give them a consistent meal, does their drive for hunting start to dissipate? If that’s true, and we generally know that it is. It changes them into a “lie”, a shell of what nature shaped them into over the millennia. We then see this King, who can make lions into cowards, ruling over a kingdom with a broken passion. A citizenry that is safe behind walls, but wasting their lives away now that all the passions are gone. It’s a really great mirror to the lions before and a beautiful song overall.

-Caleb

 

The Flock: Singer/Songwriter: Simon Lewis & Onk Lou, Martha Hill, keatsu, Kaiak, Boyce Avenue, David Madras

*This first paragraph is a copy of a previously written synopsis of the point behind the new section, The Flock.*

We have two goals here with our blog and our podcast; we want to help you find a bunch of new artists that you love, and we also want to support those artists. We came up with a new idea for a post where we take a genre, and give you a few artists within that genre. That way, it helps everyone. If you come here because you love one artist, you’ve got five more that you’re probably going to love now. That helps you load up your playlist with tracks that will impress your friends, and it also helps the artists hit untapped markets and possibly network with likeminded artists they didn’t know existed. Without further ado, I present “The Flock.”

ARTISTS LOOK HERE: Caleb and I have started a Facebook group that we want to turn into a place for artists from around the country to find likeminded bands to fill shows out, find shows, and really just a community made by artists to talk about the industry. If you’re interested in joining that, CLICK HERE.

Simone Lewis & Onk Lou – “Home 2.0”

The way this was described when it was sent to us was simply: “Two incredible voices in one song that couldn’t be more variant.” When I first started listening to the music, I was like, okay, this first guy has a beautiful voice; I’m sure the other guy does too, but how variant could they really be? And then the second guy came in; and I immediately started to type my response about wanting to feature this song on the blog. Then they harmonize together and I had to stop typing and just listen to the rest of the song before I responded. I was trying to think of who they reminded me of; and I couldn’t come up with anyone that they actually sounded like. They remind me slightly of Middle Brother in the sense that they have very different voices and beautiful lyricism, but these guys have much better voices than Middle Brother (not hating, I love Middle Brother). Let’s dive in briefly to the beautiful lyricism I mentioned:

“I dig a hole in the woods and I grow with the roots and I go with the flood as life tells me so, I let go of the mess created in my head because,
Home is where the heart is and that’s wherever I go.
bridge:
I close my eyes to feel the moment, I walk this path made out of cobblestone, I take a breath before I let it go, when stars collide they fall apart but in the end there’ll always be a start, till than I’ll dance beneath the waterfall”

I could’ve really picked any section of the song and found something to talk about, but I particularly like the message of home being different for different people. In particular; it doesn’t have to be a place with roots stuck in one place, it can also be a flooded river you float down. “Home is where the heart is, and that’s wherever I go.”

Martha Hill – “Spiders”

Do you ever feel like you’re losing your mind? Well this song perfectly describes exactly what that feels like:

“One head two minds

Hands pressing glass from separate sides

Three seconds till I dive

1 2 3 stop

CHORUS

The spiders in my head they just won’t leave me alone

I pick the legs off while I wait for the seconds to slow ”

There’s something about the lyrics that remind me a bit of the short story “The Yellow Wall Paper”, a story where a woman being shut in the house by her husband, becomes increasingly crazy; which causes her husband to shut her in even more for…being crazy.

The beautiful instrumentals that have a nice beat throughout, and then go off the rails like a Pink Floyd bridge at the 2 minutes mark only add to Martha’s haunting vocals that carry you right up to the very last second of the very last “1, 2, 3, stop.” It’s a song that strikes a perfect balance between catchy and disorienting; and I really can’t get enough of it.

Bio: “Martha Hill is a an alternative pop artist based in Newcastle upon Tyne.

After growing up as one of six siblings on a remote Scottish peninsula, where the only link to the mainland was via ferry, she left home at 17 and spent two years touring across Europe as a street musician.

Eventually relocating to north-east England and falling in with a local ‘scene’ for the first time, Martha and her band have spent the past year touring all over the UK – supporting the likes of Holy Moly & The Crackers and Let’s Eat Grandma at venues such as Borderline, The Cluny etc. – with two DIY tours of Europe falling in between. Her most recent gig was for BBC Introducing, supporting Atlantic-signed Mahalia on The Biggest Weekend Fringe Tour.”

keatsu – “Feel Good”

I realize this isn’t necessarily what you might initially think of as “Singer/Songwriter”, but keatsu is basically a one man show, and it’s my blog, so don’t worry about it. Also, if you only listened to the first little bit, you’d assume the whole thing was just a normal lo-fi project with a guy with an acoustic guitar, and then you quickly see it advance and evolve from there into a beautiful call and response with himself that repeats “I just feel good on the dance floor.” This is something you’d expect to be said by Justin Timberlake with a break beat behind it, but is instead said with lo-fi effects and an a minimalistic guitar. The irony and self awareness of keatsu is my favorite thing about all his projects. He’s one of my favorite artists out the moment. On his full-length, he references everything from Nirvana, to Linkin Park, to pop songs, and it all just works. Literally go throw a dart at his Spotify page and you’ll find 3 new favorite songs. We can get you started with our Spotify link at the bottom of this page (don’t skip down there yet, still plenty of good music to hear).

Kaiak – “No Regrets”

I really could see this song making waves on some mainstream channels in the summer months. The thing that really solidified this song for me, other than the beautiful production and vocals, was the interesting use of horns during the later half of the song. It really was a nice surprise for me that took this song from a nice sounding song that I would listen to again, to a song I immediately saved to all of my Spotify playlists. “Lesson learned, passed the test, life goes on, no regrets.” It’s a message that we’ve all heard before, but gets solidified by the pretty package that Kaiak has presented it in here.

Boyce Avenue – “Ride The Wave”

I immediately thought this looked like an advertisement. I guess that might come off as a bad thing; but I mean like a Super Bowl Ad. It’s one of those heartfelt ones that you expect from Budweiser or something. It’s just so beautifully shot, and the music itself fits the vibe that it’s created so well.

“The tide will rise and fall; some days you will feel small, but ride a wave, I’ll ride it in with you.”

I don’t have kids, but that sentiment is just so beautiful to me. It’s both a lesson and a show of support, an acknowledgment of the harshness of the world, but also saying “I have your back as long as I can.” This message mixed with the family fun and love shown in the video can melt the coldest of hearts. Trust me on that.

David Madras – “Me & You”

And last, but certainly not least. Do you like Phosphorescent? Who doesn’t? David Madras’ voice reminds me so much of Phosphorescent. I’m really excited to announce that this song will be a part of our upcoming podcast episode that focuses on Existentialism. Oh you didn’t know we had a podcast? Check it out here. Since we are focusing on it on the podcast, I don’t want to spoil too much here, but let’s dive briefly into one of the lines.

“She said she had a little revelation, about the way the clouds appear, and how a day becomes a year. She said she had a little realization, about everything she’s ever feared, and suddenly it’s drawing near.”

I don’t know about you guys, but I connect to the “she” in this song so strongly. The existentialism episode is going to talk about it at length, but basically the idea is that you suddenly feel and question how tiny and insignificant you are in the cosmos; and this song perfectly captures that feeling. Is that a bad feeling? Yeah, sometimes. But it can also be empowering. “She says, we are young, me and you, there’s so much that I don’t know and I’m never going to. We are young, there’s so much left to do, all the wonders of the world for a boy and girl like me and you.”

 

-Caleb

Did you like these songs? Good, me too. Want to hear them again? They are all on our July TOTD Playlist on Spotify. 

The Flock: Rap/Hip-Hop – Ikigai, Ricky Mapes, Charles Edison, Rite Hook & Chris Rivers, Joe P. The MC, Capital Ode, Hoolie Gu, Warm Blizzard, Dreemy Sinatra

*This first paragraph is a copy of a previously written synopsis of the point behind the new section, The Flock.*

We have two goals here with our blog and our podcast; we want to help you find a bunch of new artists that you love, and we also want to support those artists. We came up with a new idea for a post where we take a genre, and give you a few artists within that genre. That way, it helps everyone. If you come here because you love one artist, you’ve got five more that you’re probably going to love now. That helps you load up your playlist with tracks that will impress your friends, and it also helps the artists hit untapped markets and possibly network with likeminded artists they didn’t know existed. Without further ado, I present “The Flock.”

ARTISTS LOOK HERE: Caleb and I have started a Facebook group that we want to turn into a place for artists from around the country to find likeminded bands to fill shows out, find shows, and really just a community made by artists to talk about the industry. If you’re interested in joining that, CLICK HERE.

Ikigai – Private School

This beat is so slick. Ikigai keeps it fairly minimal and doesn’t make the same mistake that a lot of hip-hop artists make by trying to cram too much into the beat. The key here is what he does with the pieces that he does add. He plays with offbeat tempos, fades, crescendos, and a number of other tricks to make the track seem just as full as something that uses a lot more instrumentation.

Caleb definitely relates to the lyrics a lot more than I do seeing as how he’s a teacher in a private school, but things translate pretty well to us public school peons. Ikigai comes through with his first official release to tell a story about pressure, insecurity, and fears through formative years of his school career, and implores you to stop caring because years down the road, you’ll want nothing to do with that part of your life.

 

Ricky Mapes – IDWDT

IDWDT is a song that very few people can relate to, but everyone pretends they can. Everyone is invincible until they’re not. When the song started out, I thought we were listening to another rap song that talked about what 75% of rap songs talk about: making money. This song is so much more than that. This is a song about having to do unthinkable things to get out of the neighborhood, being okay with the repercussions of the lifestyle, but also the inevitability of being afraid when you’re staring down the barrel that doesn’t give a fuck about you. With a clean beat, straightforward flow, and brutally honest lyrics, this song is a song that few people can actually relate to, but everyone can groove to.

 

Charles Edison – Waking Up

This is the kind of song that comes along and we are kicking ourselves for not having it on the podcast. We already had our lineup for our “Addiction” episode locked up when we came across this song, and it is the epitome of what we were looking for on that episode. Charles Edison opens up about one of the darkest points in his life:

This track is from my EP of the same name and details my struggle with addiction for 5 years which culminated in hospitalization following a suicide attempt, and a decision to go to residential rehab for 3 months. I entered rehab on the 11th September 2016 and have remained clean and sober since. This track represents the state of my life at the worst point of my addiction.

*Congratulations Charles, and great work on taking the necessary steps to keep yourself clean. A lot of people don’t have that same resolve. In fact, I recently had to deal with a very crazy situation that we will talk about on the podcast because a person doesn’t have the same steadfast resilience that you have. Keep it up!*

The backing vocals are haunting and the beat stays clean throughout, but the lyrics are really what pulls this song together. You can feel the struggle, and appreciate what Charles has gone through.

 

Rite Hook & Chris Rivers – The Motions

This is what a fire looks like. A hard beat, quick flow, and insightful lyrics have moved Rite Hook & Chris Rivers’ song, The Motions, up my playlists very quickly. This is the perfect example of what I look for in hip-hop music. I get people emailing me constantly wanting me to check out their song. A lot of them have a good beat and good lyrics but I really don’t like it for one simple (to identify, not to fix) reason. In rap music, I hate being able to not only predict your cadence, but predict your words the first time through the song. These guys give a master lesson on what it means to diversify your rhyme schemes and cadence throughout the song. If you want to see what I mean, start the video at :48 and listen to 1:15 or so, and then jump ahead to 1:46 and listen for thirty seconds or so. Same beat, but it almost sounds like it could be two different songs.

Also, if you feel like you recognize Chris Rivers, the guy in the red, it may be because he is Big Pun’s son.

 

Joe P. the MC – fear

I love when we get previous artists back on the blog. I feel like it’s like revisiting an old friend. Joe P. the MC comes in with a song that is under 2 minutes, but says more than most rappers and MCs say with 5 minutes of bars. We hear you, Joe. Pouring his heart into every song he writes, Joe P. dives into everything from calling out negative rappers who make money by hating on other people to the feeling of fear that independent artists get when trying to push their music, hoping someone believes in what they’re doing. Once again, he runs that spectrum in less than 2 minutes. That’s insane! With clean and articulate delivery, Joe rattles through his lines at an impressive pace, moving forward at a pace that is unexpected from the mellow beat behind him. Once again, Joe P. hits home with us on this one.

 

Capital Ode – Live Illegal

Once again, this track was a pleasant surprise. When I heard that the name of the song is “Live Illegal,” I thought it was going to be another rap song about selling drugs and getting money. I’ve heard so many songs that follow that hip-hop trope, and it’s something that gets a little boring. Lyrically, this song is what this country needs right now. Capital Ode’s family calls him Ode, but after listening to this song, a more appropriate name for him is Cap (like Captain America) because this is about as patriotic as a song can get. If you’ve hung out on the blog or the podcast for any length of time, you know that Caleb and I aren’t exactly fans of the current administration and the tyrannical decisions it’s making. An immigrant to the United States, Cap isn’t a fan of the administration either, and wants you to know exactly how he feels.

And once I get on, I’ma put on all my peoples
I’m the original
My son’s the sequel
My pieces hitting now
In immigration sitting down with my country of origin written down
And it’s funny how when this was what I was worried about
Niggas would run they mouths
But by the time they figure out
The best rapper in the country’s an illegal immigrant
They gon’ try to send me back even if I’m heaven sent
Don’t understand my accent?
Oh, you do
You say you don’t
’cause you don’t like the way these bombs I’m dropping hit close to home, huh?

I love the line about his son being the beneficiary of his hard work, and how this is a similar thought process that most illegal immigrants go through. Sure, there are drugs crossing the borders and shit like that, but 99% of immigrants come to make a better life for themselves and their family members. Working in restaurant management, I see it everyday. We had a dishwasher who was forced to go back to Guatemala even though he was just making an honest living and sending most of his money back home. It’s absolutely devastating to see that kind of thing happen, and it’s unfathomable that we are a country that is allowing what is currently happening at our borders. Cap is making something really cool here by being proud of his status as a refugee instead of trying to hide it, and using his platform to try and enact change.

 

Hoolie Gu – Make It or Take It

The dichotomy presented here between past and present is so interesting. Hoolie Gu shows us in this video the man he is and aims to become, and then shows us who he had to be to get there. Like Ricky Mapes’ song above, the content of this song is something that I can’t personally relate to, but it is an absolutely riveting story.

Hoolie Gu talks about how everything he did was a calculated move to achieve bigger goals, and even though he may (or may not) have been acting on the wrong side of the law, he did what he needed to do to make sure he was taken care of. He doesn’t act proud of the things he did, but recognizes them as factual and necessary events that took place. I like the honesty and how he says that he took a lot of losses throughout the process. I feel like this is such an important piece of becoming a successful artist, and rappers are notorious for trying to cover up their flaws to present a facade of perfection.

With honest lyrics, a well-rounded beat, and a piano that makes you swoon, Hoolie Gu is the kind of guy you want to cheer for.

 

Warm Blizzard – “The Vibe”

If you look in the dictionary under ‘vibe songs,’ you will find Warm Blizzard’s, The Vibe. This is that ethereal smoke music in its purist form. This is a track that wants to take you on a trip, and I’m buying a one way pass. The video is trippy too, with a green blanket providing an interesting and unique set piece throughout the song. This is the kind of video that you watch when someone thinks that things are about to start winding down. Bring them back into it by showing them this, and then watching building demolitions on YouTube. Trust me. This combo works.

 

Dreemy Sinatra – Feel Alright

I was immediately hooked into this song with the Alina Baraz sample of “Make You Feel” at the beginning. Then this song proceeds to run down an epic lyrical path that describes a worldview that’s both cynical and hopeful simultaneously. It mentions police violence, Flint, Michigan, gang violence, and many other things that are strikingly difficult about the challenges facing the speaker, and our world in general. The hope rises from the self-assured bravado that is carrying the protagonist out of all this chaos. There is still an acknowledgement that this chaos could hold him back, but he’s not going to let it.

 

-Caleb and Seth

Did you know we make a podcast? Well now you do. Go check it out here. We have 14 different episodes, all featuring music you’ve never heard.

 

 

Video of the Day: Samantha Clemons “Burn”

With powerful vocals and unapologetic lyrics, Samantha Clemons’ song, “Burn,” is a song that’s made for anyone who has been oppressed and made to feel like that oppression is okay. She punches home the idea that when there is oppression in any form, there’s no reason for the oppressed to have to ‘walk a mile in the other’s shoes’ when the opposition’s goal is to keep you underfoot. The song is applicable on so many levels in our country right now: politically, racially, across genders, and really on an almost infinite number of other levels.

When did you go change the rules?
When did you come to be so cruel?
I may be a bit naive
But how can our dreams
All of our freedom
Mean nothing to you?

Yeah, I just crossed the line
No need for compromise
Yeah, mine fit me just fine
No need to walk
in your shoes

SAMANTHA CLEMONS PROMO 1.jpg

Where there is oppression, there is an oppressor, and Samantha has obviously had enough. She goes on to sing about how she’s going to stand her ground, and if she continues to be put down, she will take more drastic measures by burning it all down. Now, if you know me, I’m not a big advocate for violence, but I definitely think there’s a time and place for more than words. This song seems to be in the same camp as me. Stand firmly and stand boldly, but if there’s still no change, proceed to the next logical step. The progression is important.

As a straight white male with a nuclear family, I haven’t faced any kind of real oppression, so anything I say is completely from an outsiders standpoint. I can sympathize, but can’t fully empathize. I will say this though; we are at a point in this country where even if you can’t empathize, morality should dictate that if you do nothing, you are enabling the oppression. Even if you don’t fully understand, you still have to stand up.