Mayfest 2017: If You Don't Know, Now You Know

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Mayfest 2017: If You Don't Know, Now You Know

An introduction to Mayfest's artists:

Vic Mensa

Victor Kwesi Mensah, better known by his stage name Vic Mensa, is a Grammy-nominated American rapper from Chicago, Illinois. He is currently signed to Roc Nation and was a member of the rock/rap group Kids These Days, which broke up in May 2013. Vicis also founder of the inpenetrable Chicago hip-hop collective SAVEMONEY which includes frequent collaborator and friend, Chance the Rapper. His debut single "Down on My Luck" was released in June 2014 and he’s been taking off since. On February 12, 2016, Kanye West debuted a track, titled "Wolves" from his upcoming album, The Life of Pablo. The song featured Vic, along with other well-known artist Sia. Most recently on June 3, 2016, Vic released a 7-track EP entitled There's A Lot Going On. This EP serves as a prelude to his debut album. Vic is most known to craft well-rounded stage shows, tackling issues of racism, inequality, violence, and mental health with deliberate care and artistry. Vic Mensa will definitely leave a large impression on Mayfest this year. We’ve been waiting on this one.

Soundcloud: https://soundcloud.com/vicsavemoney

 

 

Cheatcodes

Cheat Codes is an American electronic music DJ trio consisting of original members Trevor Dahl, Kevin Ford, and Matthew Russell, out of Los Angeles, California. Their name was inspired by Ford's brother who told him that he had found the "cheat code" to getting anything he wanted in life and that they embody the idea that anything is possible. The group is notable for their 2016 single "Sex", which samples the chorus from "Let's Talk About Sex" by Salt-N-Pepa. As well as "Let Me Hold You (Turn Me On)" with Dante Klein, which samples Kevin Lyttle's song "Turn Me On.” However, most recently after being signed to 300 Entertainment, the trio collaborated with pop superstar Demi Lovato on their newest single titled “No Promises.”

Soundcloud: https://soundcloud.com/cheatcodesmusic

 

Between Vic and the Cheatcodes, and even a very special guest, Mayfest 2017 is sure to an amazing time!

 

By Gabrielle LaMarco

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Having A Seat With Michael Uslan

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Having A Seat With Michael Uslan

This Friday, I got the opportunity to sit down with Michael Uslan, producer, writer, and professor. Uslan has produced every Batman film since Tim Burton’s 1989 film, and has produced a number of other projects as well. Uslan’s passion for his profession is electrifying- and it spread through the room as he took the time to speak and have a Q& A with SU Students after the screening of the new Lego Batman movie. Uslan taught the first world credited comic book course based on folklore at Indiana University and teaches two other courses on the business of film production. It was a pleasure to sit down with him, as we discussed his impressive career, Batman’s impact around the world, and any advice he has for future students going into the film industry.

 

Thank you so much for taking the time to speak with me today. I think it’s really amazing that you followed your dreams and passion into your professional career. What advice do you have for the people who want to turn their passion into their job?

It’s one of the most important things in life. Once you get beyond family, you really need to try and explore what your passion is. I work typically, 15-16 hours a day. My Saturday’s and Sunday’s are not different than my Tuesday’s and Wednesdays. I’m on planes an ridiculous amount of time and sometimes I think, if I didn’t love what I do…you’d find me in a stray jacket in a dark corner in the room somewhere. So I think it’s very essential if you’re lucky enough and if you make that one of your goals in life to pursue, it’s just the greatest thing.

What has been your favorite part about producing the Batman films? What is most rewarding to you at the end of the day?

That’s an interesting question that nobody has ever asked me before, ever. I think it starts with when you have a vision for something, and you envision something grand and long-term and then you are… I can’t say the word luck because I don’t believe in luck. Luck occurs when you knock on every door you can, and when it slams in your face you knock again, and again. And at some point, your timing will work out, and that really is luck. It’s the idea of having a creative vision or something and then being able to beginning to ensemble the pieces that can execute that vision and ultimately watch it to get fruition. And it’s funny, a lot of people ask me well you never envisioned that Batman would be this big…but I did. I absolutely did. For 10 years I was the only one who did. So I’ve always believed in this vision, where it hits me the most is moments in time when I realize that this is not about success at a box office. This is about something that has had a cultural impact worldwide. It transcends not only borders, but cultures. The summer our first batman opened when the Berlin wall was coming down. I was watching CNN, and I see this ten year old coming through the wall wearing a bat man hat. When you see things like that, it is so gratifying to know that you’ve had an impact. 

As a producer, what is the importance of a great script versus star power?

There are ten critically important things to make a successful movie. Number one is story, number 2 is story, number 3 is story, and number 4, 5, and 6 are story. Number 7, 8, and 9 are character…and number 10 is story. The biggest failing of movies today, and I’m catching a wide net here. When younger film makers come aboard with a fascination with the latest special effects, like showing off the new toy…and in a lot of movies like that, lots of stuff gets blown up…but so do the stories. The stories dissolve, either they’re not there or they are so convoluted. It impacts character development, and it is too great a sacrifice too long to endure. Everything is about the story, and if you’re working in China, or South Korea, or in Europe or Australia, it keeps coming down to the same thing; it all comes down to the story.

I love to hear that, that’s very important to me when I go see a film. Each Batman film I saw, stayed true to the story line which I think is amazing.

The greatest example of that is the genius Christopher Nolan and his Dark Night Trilogy. And the Dark Night Trilogy which I do not break into three movies, i one movie told in three acts. It was real, Bruce Wayne was real, Gotham City was real, the technology was real, and for god’s sake the Joker felt real. That was an amazing accomplishment. Chris was not going for tons of CGI, if the truck was going to flip in Chicago, that truck really flipped… it wasn’t computerized. When batman is standing on top of a spire overlooking a city, there is a guy in a suit up there. It’s not CGI. It really worked, it made it feel real and that was truly amazing.

I see that you were the first professor to teach the first worlds credited comic book class at Indiana University. You also teach two courses at Indiana about the Business of Production Motion Pictures and Live from LA: Pros Make Movies…. are there any skills from teaching that have helped you in other areas of your career?

It works both ways. A lot of what I do as a producer and a writer, I bring to the classroom. When you are teaching students whether it’s 100 students, or 10 students…they will sniff out BS in two seconds. You’ve got to be honest, you’ve got to be passionate about what you’re doing and communicate that passion because that’s the only way you can impact people and try to inspire them. I’ve had incidents where I went in to pitch a TV show.. and the lady asked me if I would mind if the interns could be in the room when you come into pitch. When I went in the next day there were 10 interns in the room. I tried to be passionate and communicate my enthusiasm to them, because it’s like a virus; it spreads.  I’ve got to be a great story teller in order to sell a movie. I apply that to the seminars that I teach. I used to be a consulter at a day camp and had very young boys from ages 4-5. After lunch I had to keep them seated and behaved.  I started to tell Batman stories. I learned the difference between telling a story, and making an interactive story. If I saw a child drafting away, I would bring them back by engaging them in the story. And that’s what I do when I go into pitch.

I’m so excited to see the new Lego Batman film tonight. What thoughts do you have on the global impact of the Lego franchise?

The Lego franchise is amazing. When you see little kids working with it, and hopefully parents and grandparents and working with their little kids to help them create by using their imagination is a great process. So, the field of animation continues to evolve. You go from 2d animation, and then you got 3d animation, and then 3d Imax animation, and now Lego animation. New techniques and new technologies impact animation. The key is to have the most brilliant writers who can be inspired by this new animation, and not use it to sell products, but use it to tell an effective story. If you can do that- you can achieve great success. The whole concept of Lego is terrific. One of the keys is to make it equally or if not more so enjoyable for adults. Of course x number of years from now the next animation will come along – and we will continue to play in this giant sandbox. 

What is the most pivotal moment of your career?

Interesting choice of words… pivotal. The most pivotal moment occurred in 1989 when Tim Burton had completed the first Batman movie. My partner, Ben Melner, and I were about to go into this theater. It was about be shown to us and executives for the first time. To give you some perspective, Ben is my dad’s age. He’s always been like a second father to me. He put together movies like Ben Hur, 2001 Space Odessey and many others- legend in the film industry. Just as we were about to go into the movie, and to get into the theater and I remember there were these very heavy black curtains to go throug. Ben said, “Michael, you are going to walk through these curtains, and two hours from now you’re going to walk out through these curtains, and your life is going to change”. He was right, everything changed. That was the moment. There are many other important moments like when they hired Jack Nicolson to play the Joker. One day after the movie opened, my wife and I  were on this Alaskan cruise to get away from it all. And on this cruise, I had an epiphany, I thought, it’s not about being on the top of the mountain, it’s about the climb. It’s all about the journey, because once you’re at the peak; that elation & nirvana lasts two weeks-three weeks, so it’s all about the journey.

What advice do you have for young students who want to be in the film industry?

Run. Flee. Don’t do it for god’s sake, don’t do it. I told both of my kids this, and they are both in Hollywood working. Here’s the deal; this is sexy and alluring, and people have stars in their eyes. In fact, it is one of the most competitive areas of work you can be in. One of the things that unnerve me is that back in the 80s and 90s, people would say I want to be an actor. In the last ten years, I hear I want to be a star. Big difference. You have the best singers and dancers from every high school and college from around the world that go to Hollywood or New York. So you’re entering the most competitive pool. It is not quick, a lot of young people want it quickly these days. It is never going to happen if they stick by their unwarranted sense of entitlement that the world owes them something. It’s the 10% who get up off the couch and make it happen. Those are the ones who will have the best success. That is an important part of the whole industry. If you’re not passionate about it, if your heart and soul are not in it, if it doesn’t course through the blood in your veins, you’re going to have a hard time. Trying to make a successful career in this is not like a war where you fight a big battle and that’s it. It’s a siege and a lot of people don’t understand that.

 

By Josie Strick

 

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Top 5, Top 5, Top 5

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Top 5, Top 5, Top 5

 

 

As the highly-anticipated Block Party Line up was announced, it only makes sense to familiarize yourself with all the TOP notch talent rolling through Cuselandia. Travis Scott, Zhu, and AlunaGeorge are the powerhouse artists who will soon grace us with their presence. GUYS, it all makes sense because of Zhu and AlunaGeorge’s history of collaborations. If they don’t play “Automatic”, I’m sure my 2-hour pre-preprepartion to snag floor tickets will be in vain; just kidding, Travis Scott could carry this concert on one half of a tattooed shoulder. No shade.

 

But why don’t we get to know the artists on an individual basis. Here is a list of the Ear Essentials for each artist with SoundCloud/YouTube links attached.

 If you already know these ‘cause Travis Scott is your baby daddy, or think of a better more all-encompassing list for AlunaGeorge…hit me up or let me know!

 

 

Travis Scott

1.       The Hooch

a.        https://soundcloud.com/opeunes/travis-scott-the-hooch

 

2.       Goosebumps ft. Kendrick Lamar

a.        https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9TaJXPHHKt4

 

3.       3500 ft. Future & 2 Chainz

a.        https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=MVxMmMuTk60

 

4.       Sweet Sweet

a.        https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Ii4URyxUOuo

 

5.       Oh my dis side

a.        https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_ZALrZUSshA

 

 

Zhu

1.       Automatic

a.        https://soundcloud.com/mindofageniusrecords/zhu-alunageorge-automatic-bbc-radio-1-premiere

 

2.       Faded-Odesza Remix

a.        https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=SgO9yYlS9QY

 

3.       Working For It-Bonus Track

a.        https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=fsWxAw_PTxo

 

4.       Generationwhy

a.        https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=BFCX8gsF018

 

5.       Hold Up, Wait a Minute

a.        https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=PGvKemhTFXo

 

 

 

AlunaGeorge

1.       You Know You Like It

a.        https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=MIuJVYNvC-s

 

2.       Mean What I Mean

a.        https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=NbtEy1Wdqj0

 

3.       Not About Love

a.        https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=HuiIZzdG7EI

 

4.       Supernatural

a.        https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wecvxQElEU0

 

5.       Mediator

a.        https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7wsPpBprasI

 

 

By Georgie Olmeda

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Get to Know Block Party’s Artists

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Get to Know Block Party’s Artists

Travis Scott

Travis Scott, an American hip hop/rap recording artist and record producer from Houston Texas, has had a steady rise to fame since the release of his first mixtape titled Owl Pharaoh in May of 2013. Later in August of 2014, he released a second mixtape titled Days before Rodeo.  Following the success of both tapes, Travis released his debut album Rodeo on September 4th 2015 and most recently his sophomore album Birds in the Trap Sing McKnight in early 2016. Signed to Kanye West’s G.O.O.D music, Travis’s musical influences range from Kanye himself to Bon Iver. These artistic influences are intertwined and heard within his music, which can be described as influential and experimental trap. As one Syracuse University student stated, “There are people who are wordsmiths and people who are composers. Travis is a master at both.” With popular songs such as “Goosebumps,” “Pick Up the Phone,” “Through the Late Night” and an upcoming third album titled AstroWorld, set to be released some time in 2017, Travis is definitely not one to miss at Block Party this year.

SoundCloud: Travis Scott

ZHU

ZHU is a Chinese American electronic musician and singer who has been on the map since early 2014, initially choosing to release his music anonymously. Since then, ZHU has done everything from releasing hits including his Grammy nominated track “Faded”. He has also collaborated with other well-known electronic artists such as Skrillex and THEY on a song called “Working for It.” In 2016, ZHU finally released his debut album titled Generationwhy, performing the singles from the album at the popular music festival Coachella. From there, he received extreme amounts of praise from critics universally.

SoundCloud: ZHU

AlunaGeorge

AlunaGeorge is the English electronic Duo from London, who met in June of 2009 and consists of vocalist/songwriter Aluna Francis and producer/instrumentalist George Reid. Aluna’s vocals can be described as “sugar sweet” and combines sounds from bass, garage, and dub step. The production by Reid can be best described as “futuristic pop” with the use of advanced minimalistic polyrhythmic beats.  One of their most popular songs, “You Know You Like It”, shot up on the American Charts when remixed by popular artist DJ Snake. He track was featured in the movie “The Amazing Spider-Man 2.” The power duo has also done collaborations with other Block Party artist ZHU on two tracks called “My Blood” and “Automatic.”

SoundCloud: AlunaGeorge

 

By Gabrielle LaMarco

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In Case You Missed It...

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In Case You Missed It...

Last Friday, University Union held a Q&A with Insecure’s Issa Rae, conducted by Emmy Award Winning host, Zuri Hall. To begin the night, we conducted an interview with E! News’ Zuri Hall. She spoke about the difficulty in conducting a story and turning it into something that the audience could care about in the matter of 20 seconds. She said that as a young black woman, she has not had to push herself into airtime. She credited E! with trusting her and spoke about being worthy “of the one spot they are going to give to a person of color”. Seeing how outlets of expression and creating video content are two things that are prominent on this campus, I asked Zuri what advice she would give to students on the campus of Syracuse University. This is what she said: “Start now. I regret that I didn’t dive in as quickly as you guys have. Now that everyone can create content, you have to do it. It doesn’t matter that there are a million voices in the conversation. Put yours in it and develop your perspective. You have to figure out how what you say or how you say it, is different from everyone else. If they love the way you tell them the news, that’s why they watch. That’s how you stand out. Now on campus, you can find out what works. By the time you get out f the university, you’ll be prepared to pitch and sell your own voice at the channels and networks.” Zuri then continued to speak about how she got into journalism by claiming that simply put, she just likes to talk. Growing uo in theater, her mom and dad wanted her to have a plan B. She wanted to do something that allowed her to talk to large audiences and spread messages. Before the show began, she did explain that it is rather hard to feel like her voice is being heard in a big conversation. She left us by saying that “you have to keep pushing and trust that what you’re doing, you’re doing for the right reason, even when other sources may be telling you something else.”

Over the years, Issa’s ability to connect with others and exemplify raw emotions and reactions has allowed for her to gain over 23 million views and over 200,000 subscribers on Youtube. As eager students sat in anticipation, all aspects of curiosity were suddenly filled in just over an hours’ worth of time. She began speaking about The Misadventures of Awkward Black Girl and the lessons she was taught while producing the show. That lead her into speaking about how she used to promote her show, saying she got access to the college listserv and was able to gain an audience from sending her content out among a large group of people. One of the most valuable lessons she learned was how to be comfortable being broke. She quickly transitioned into speaking about getting an offer from HBO to have her show picked up, and how that made her realize that when creating, you may not always have the resources or outlets for expansion that you may immediately desire. Being broke challenges us as youth to find other ways to find what you really want and need. She also explained how she felt like signing with HBO felt like her one shot not to mess up so at first, she felt a lot of pressure.

 Issa also spoke about keeping her heart throughout the process of making Insecure. In order for the show to be successful, she had to make sure that she stayed true to what she really wanted to create versus what they, as overseeing producers, wanted her to make. All in all, she explained how she was happy that she got to highlight L.A. with Insecure. She said it challenged her to tell a story in advance and gave her creative freedom seeing how she wasn’t limited with budgeting.  Zuri then challenged Issa to speak about growing up and the complexities of her childhood. Issa spoke how she was a thirsty middle schooler who would chat with people and send fake pics online to make more friends because in person, she did not have many real friends.  Lastly, she followed up by speaking upon Drake, the inability to go days without eating popcorn, and wearing Chuck’s on dates. As weird as it may sound, she was exactly who fans expected her to be; personable and amiable.

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1 Day Before Issa Rae

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1 Day Before Issa Rae

As spring is upon us, University Union has many exciting events coming up. One of these exciting events include the amazing Issa Rae, star of Insecure, coming to campus tomorrow, joined by Entertainment Weekly’s on-air correspondent, Zuri Hall. Issa has used her powerful voice to speak about the many racial issues that affect our every daily life.  She highlights the many stereotypes about African American women in Hollywood, and she is ready to make a change. She decided to use her humor and talent to start conversations about the experiences and issues that African Americans face. Issa became determined to broadcast these experiences to the mainstream media in an unapologetic, inspiring way. With a jaw dropping 20 million views and over 200,000 YouTube subscribers, Issa is not someone to miss out on!

Issa’s first web series, Awkward Black Girl premiered on YouTube in 2011. It was instantly a hit through the exposure on blogs and social media. She is unafraid to speak about the many issues she has faced, and thousands are appreciative of her honest approach to discussing racial injustice in our society. As she steadily rose to success, Issa published a novel called The Misadventures of Awkward Black Girl, which became a New York Times best seller. This was a novel based on her life, and she discusses her personal battle of not fitting in, and her journey to accepting and being confident about her race. Shortly after, she began creating a show that is loosely based off Awkward Black Girl. Eventually, it was given the name Insecure and it premiered exclusively on HBO in the fall of 2016. Issa wrote, produced, and acted in the series. Since then, she was nominated at the Golden Globes for her acting in Insecure and has been given international praise for her creativity. Issa shows no signs of slowing down, and she is someone I am so excited to see grow and reach all the success she deserves. Issa will be speaking on campus tomorrow, March 31st from 8:00 to 9:00 pm at Goldstein Auditorium. Don’t miss out!

 

By Josie Strick

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Humans of UU

"My name is Caitlin Russell. I am a Senior at Syracuse and I love being involved in University Union. Being involved in UU has been a crucial part of my time at Syracuse. I've learned so much and have made so many lifelong friends. I love what we do and that we get to bring all these great experiences to the student body. It has been such a rewarding 4 years."

- Caitlin Russell, Public Relations Director, University Union

"Hi. My name is Peter Menaker. I came to Syracuse University barely knowing anybody but luckily, quickly found a group of friends. Although everything was working out, my mom constantly bugged me to join an organization so I can put it on my resume.  After a lot of procrastination, one of my friends suggested that I joined this club called University Union. During my second semester with the organization, I started coming to the UU offices and talked to tons of new people. I quickly realized how many students enjoy and benefit from the free movies that we show every weekend. I gained a passion for UU cinemas and believed that it was my responsibility that all our movies went off without a flaw while ensuring that all students had a positive and enjoyable experience. I currently am the Director of Cinemas and without a doubt, University Union was the best decision I made in college."

- Peter Menaker, Cinemas Director, University Union

"I do social media for UU which is so much fun but so much pressure. I have nightmares about posting an important UU announcement on my personal Instagram or even worse posting a finsta on the UU insta."

- Anna Simone, Social Media Team, University Union

"Before coming to Syracuse, I was exposed to a lot of experiences that undoubtedly propelled creativity and work ethic but never had an opportunity to see my ideas in motion. Recently my co-director and I booked Russ, MadeinTYO, and student opener, ye., for the Bandersnatch Concert Series in Goldstein Auditorium. It was a pretty insane experience and seemed like everyone in attendance had a good time. It was pretty crazy experiencing that on a Friday and then having to come back to reality for an exam on Monday."

- Gavin Blasier, Bandersnatch Co-Director, University Union

"Syracuse has given me a new place to call home. UU has given me another. My friends know that UU is calling when I say I'm "heading to the office," but I'll always be happy to answer that call. I'm constantly surrounded by people from all walks of life who are all so different - and so much cooler than me - but all share a passion for one thing: entertainment. As Social Media Marketing Director, with the help of an amazing team, I do my best to inform people about all things UU. I also have anxiety about posting personal things on UU accounts, so I'm crossing my fingers that doesn't happen. That would be pretty awkward." 

- Samantha Sarno, Social Media Marketing Co-Director, University Union

"My name is Andrew Idarraga, and I’m a member of the marketing team this semester. I study in the Bandier program and wanted to do something fun that applied to my major. I found UU, and in it, I found a great group of people from all different walks of life with totally different interests."

- Andrew Idarraga, Marketing Team, University Union

"Hi! My name is Alyssa Goldberg and I’m a sophomore Television, Radio, and Film major. I’ve grown up around the entertainment industry in my hometown of LA and have loved performing and had a passion for music and film since I was very young. I am currently part of the marketing team for UU and love the new opportunities and experiences that come from the organization, not to mention the incredible and inspiring people I get to work beside each day!"

"My name is Eva Baldo and I'm currently a sophomore in the Bandier program. I've been performing since I was four, whether it was dance or singing. But coming to Syracuse university I have learned to become more involved in organizations like DanceWorks and University Union. I'm currently a part of the Social Media team for UU and it's been an amazing experience with a team I'm very lucky to have. I get to learn from everyone in this organization every day and it will definitely benefit me in the future as I venture into the music and entertainment world!"

- Alyssa Goldberg, Marketing Team, and Eva Baldo, Social Media Team, University Union

"I learned about UU the summer before my freshman year at Syracuse, and knew it was something I wanted to become a part of. After joining fall semester I was asked to work my first show: TwentyOne Pilots with opener, Travis Scott in Goldstein Auditorium. It was the coolest experience watching the show unfold and meeting the artists afterwards.  Since then, I have worked over 20 different UU events leading up to and during the shows as our Marketing Director. Joining University Union was definitely the best decision I've made in college. It has helped me grow both personally and professionally and kept me off the streets of Syracuse. UU has also connected me with the most dedicated, collaborative, and fun people I know-- My closest friends and #UUCuties. In the words of @Drake, "I got a really big team."

- Kelsey Ross, Marketing Co-Director, University Union

“We had never met before until we had to collaborate for our co-director position. We came into University Union with no real prior experience with coordinating events on such a large scale and for the whole student body. But we already knew coming into it that we wanted to diversify the UU platform to be able to reach an eclectic student demographic. We also wanted to have different content discussed in our events than from past shows, and I think we accomplished that from bringing people like James Franco, to our upcoming show with Brandon Stanton. Fun fact we are both from LA. Ibi is the Ferg to my Rocky, we're jiggy, and so grateful to have had this amazing experience in bringing different acts to Syracuse University thus far. We have one more show that will be later in March, be on the lookout for the announce. Peace and good vibes.” 

- Ibi Lagundoye and Selina Mohr, Performing Arts Co-Directors, University Union

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UU's New Artists To Rotate

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UU's New Artists To Rotate

As unpredictable as it is, 2017 is inevitably a year to look forward to for new artist. As barriers are being broken down and norms are being challenged, us music heads are finding our ears in different directions. The most successful way of spreading music is simply passing the aux cord and introduces those who we've come to hold dear to our hearts as fans. These are our writer's picks for new artists to rotate. 

Ray Blk:

When Rita Ekwere, better known as her stage name Ray BLK won the BBC Sound of 2017 awards, I knew I had some investigating to do on the up and coming artist. Ray was born in Nigeria, but moved to London at the age of 4. When Ray turned 13, she formed a music group called “New Found Content” with her friend, who is also a well-known song writer and artist MNEK. Ray’s debut EP Havisham debuted in 2015, and she also started her own music label to avoid singing a deal that she did not feel comfortable with. In 2016, Ray self-released her debut mini album Durt. Durt, which really captures the true realities of inner-city life, and the struggles she has faced as a woman with a new, interesting twist on hip-hop. Ray decided to put “BLK” in her stage name, because it stands for Building, Living, and Knowing. It seems that this strong and independent artist is about to take the world by storm while staying honest to her true values, and she is definitely an artist to keep your eye on in 2017.

Favorite Track: My Hood

By Josie Strick

 

Dua Lipa:

Dua Lipa is an English singer, songwriter, and model. She began her musical career at the early age of 14 and was inspired by artists such as Christina Aguilera and Nelly Furtado. Dua Lipa signed to Warner Brother Records in 2015, and is currently planning to release her debut album in the early summer of 2017. She is known for her previous hits such as “Thinking ‘bout You” and her most recent collaboration with Martin Garriex on a track called “Scared to Be Lonely.” Dua’s sound can be described as sultry and sleek pop, which most definitely puts her on the map to becoming pops new “it-girl” artist of 2017.

 Favorite Track: Scared To Be Lonely

By Gabrielle LaMarco

 

Kiah Victoria:

Kiah Victoria made me sing in the shower again. One of her standout and most notable songs is called “Hollow,” off of her EP Everybody, released in the summer of 2016. Her music serves as jazzy R&B production reminiscent of a cross between Australian artist Kimbra and the late Amy Winehouse. Her refined runs and penchant for uplifting lyricism makes her the ideal candidate for a casual listen or even intense cry session. Having worked with electronic/hip-hop phenom Kaytranada and Alex Vargas, Maryland native Kiah Victoria is sure to cross your ears on the large scale in due time.

Favorite Track: Hollow

By Georgie Olmeda

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Recalling An Honorable Weekend

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Recalling An Honorable Weekend

Last Friday, University Union held its first Bandersnatch show of the spring semester featuring headliners MadeInTYO and Russ. With two of Atlanta’s rising stars, it was inevitable that a huge crowd would be attracted to whatever venue served as home court. From the usual Schine Underground, this semester’s Bandersnatch show was held in a much needed and bigger area. As Goldstein Auditorium filled with students and residents of the university and city, the speakers thumped as heavy as our hearts did with the adrenaline and hype provided from set to set. Syracuse native Ye set the fire off with gasoline, going through a playlist of nothing but unpredictable drops and calm entrancing vibes. Named as one of Run the Trap’s 25 Artist to Watch 2017, this should be a big year for Ye as he prepares to perform at this year’s SXSW Trap Nation Showcase.

 

Following Ye was rising star MadeInTYO. Most people know his name and sound from his platinum record called “Uber Everywhere”, but that song was just the beginning. As he explained to me how he’s lived in multiple places such as Hawaii, Virginia, Tokyo, and San Diego, he credited the rise of his music to Atlanta. He further explained to me that in his 6 years in Tokyo, he found himself, allowing for him to find his sound. His energy on stage had the crowd rocking from foot to foot with heavy smiles and head nods. His vibe was so strong that even as a spectator, you felt as if you were performing right along with him. He brought us back to debut EP You Are Forgiven before covering a few more songs from Thank You, Mr. Tokyo. By the time “Skateboard P” came into rotation, everyone’s mood was already at its peak. At this point, there was no coming down.

 

Russ was undoubtedly one of the fastest growing artists of 2016. Although he has been writing, mixing, and producing his own music for over 10 years, it wasn’t until 2014 when his Soundcloud suddenly hit 40 million plays. Just a couple of years later, he received a well-deserved contract from Columbia Records, marketing his name and brand further across the country in the year 2016. Already hype from Ye and MadeInTYO, Russ came out in his orange Syracuse jersey and served as the perfect main event due to his versatile and fluid set. Watching the audience react made me truly witness the impact of his music; it turned adults into kids. For an hour I watched people jump and scream, even those diesel men who never try to smile. The floor opened up and as he performed, people were literally dancing everywhere He ended with his first Billboard Hot 100 hit, “What They Want,” and from then, Friday night had officially began.

By K. High

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Atlanta Rises With Bandersnatch's Russ & MadeinTYO

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Atlanta Rises With Bandersnatch's Russ & MadeinTYO

University Union’s Bandersnatch Concert Series is kicking off the spring semester with a very talented lineup. Bandersnatch will be kicked off with the emerging artists Russ and MadeinTYO, both artists are very exciting because of their unique style of music and impact on the music industry. This show will be a special one, and is definitely not something to miss out on.  

Russ Vitale, better known as his stage name Russ, has been challenging the music industry with his raw and honest talent. Although he is referred to as a new artist because of the recently gained fame, making music is nothing new to him. For 10 years, he has devoted years to the studio and prides himself on the authenticity of his craft. Russ does it all, such as producing, engineering, mixing, singing, and rapping. He has released a new song on Soundcloud weekly which has gained 40 million listeners, and released 11 albums with the rap group DIEMON before recently signing to Columbia Records. This was controversial because he has made a confident statement about being an independent artist, however it must be made clear that Russ has shaped his career all on his own before the help of Columbia Records. With his impressive songs, “Pull the Trigger”, “What They Want”, and “Exposed”, Russ has worked endlessly to reach success in his career while staying true to who he really is as an artist. It’s refreshing to see a musician in today’s industry who is very genuine to his true values.

Twitter: @russdiemon

Soundcloud: Russ

MadeinTYO, pronounced “Made in Tokyo”, has made a name for himself in the industry because of his unique style and spin on hip-hop. Living in Tokyo for six years didn’t just inspire his stage name, it also influenced his entire unique sound that has pleasantly surprised the industry. When he moved to Atlanta after Tokyo, he started crafting his first EP, titled You Are Forgiven in 2015. Two songs that you may know are “Uber Everywhere” Featuring Travis Scott and “I Want” Featuring 2 Chainz. This EP impressively reached 32 million streams on Soundcloud and entered the Billboard Hot 100 chart. However, he didn’t stop there. He continued to challenge himself by releasing a new EP called Thank You, Mr. Tokyo in 2016. This project includes songs such as, “Skateboard P” and “Mr. Tokyo”. MadeinTYO is determined to grow as an emerging artist and prove that he can come back impressively with new songs that make a splash in the music industry.

Twitter: @madeintyo

Soundcloud:

 

By Josie Strick

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A Review of the 59th Annual Grammy Awards

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A Review of the 59th Annual Grammy Awards

Often referred to as “Music’s Biggest Night”, the 59th annual Grammy awards was quite an interesting show filled with key moments ranging from a faulty mic during Metallica to Lady Gaga’s set to Adele claiming she could not accept album of the year due to Beyoncé’s ‘Lemonade’.

The night began with perhaps, the star of the night, Adele, winning the two most coveted awards. Honestly, it would have been nice for the Grammy's to begin the night by bringing something new to the stage. However, Adele did deliver an excellent performance as always while singing her Grammy winning single, “Hello”. As the night continued, unfortunately, there were a few too many forgettable performances that lacked luster. Luckily though, key performances included; The Weeknd and Daft Punk performing “Starboy” and “I Feel It Coming“, Bruno Mars with his incredible tribute to Prince, and of course, the top performance being newly pregnant Beyoncé, gracing the stage covered in flowers and jewels with a show stopping performance of "Love Drought"/"Sandcastles.”

The entertainment continued with the newest award winners. Chance the Rapper, a popular favorite, took home three Grammy's beating out established legends such as Drake and Kanye West. 21 Pilots accepted the award for Best Pop Duo strangely in their underwear, beating out the ever so popular “Closer” by Syracuse’s own The Chainsmokers, as well as summer anthem “Work” by Rhianna and Drake, (this came as a personal upset too me). However, The Chainsmokers, comprised of fellow Syracuse alumni Drew Taggart and his partner Alex Pall, did manage to take home the award for Best Dance Recording for their hit song “Don’t Let Me Down” featuring Daya. Finally, Adele snagged seven of the prestigious awards, including the two biggest of the night, Album and Song of the Year.

The show then ended with the same person it began with, Adele. While accepting the final award of the night for her album “25”, she redirected the attention to Beyoncé, stating that she was the one truly deserving of the award for her “monumental” album “Lemonade,” as well as praising her for the empowerment she gives off too her fans and community. Overall, the night was one filled with entertainment and surprises for all.

Lately the Grammys have come under large scrutiny and controversy due to its board and the decisions that are made regarding the awards. Notable celebrities such as Kanye West have boycotted the show due to this belief. Over the next coming years, it will be important to keep an eye out and watch to see how the landscape of the Grammys will continue evolve and change, in hopes of becoming more updated with the current times.  

By  Gabrielle LaMarco

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UU's Spring 2017 Full Cinemas Schedule

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UU's Spring 2017 Full Cinemas Schedule

Below is the remaining cinemas schedule for the rest of the semester. As usual, we have got you all covered. Stay tuned for more announcements and updates coming soon!

Feb 15 Harry Potter and the Sorcerers Stone

Feb 16 ADVANCED SCREENING: Get Out

Feb 17-19 Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them

Feb 23-25 La La Land

Mar 2-4 Passengers

Mar 23-25 Rogue One A Star Wars Story

Mar 30-Apr 1 Patriots Day

Apr 6-8 The Founder

Apr 13-15 Special Event- TBD

April 20-22 John Wick Chapter 2

April 27-29 The Lego Batman Movie

All screenings will take place in HBC at 8pm. 

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University Union's Cinemas to Screen Doctor Strange

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University Union's Cinemas to Screen Doctor Strange

University Union’s Cinema Board has the campus covered this semester with the screening of Marvel’s Doctor Strange. Doctor Strange is the fourteenth edition of Marvel Universe with visual and magical elements that are not present in any other Marvel worlds. Benedict Cumberbatch stars in the role of Stephen Strange, an acclaimed neurosurgeon who loses the use of his hands in a car accident. In attempt to restore feeling in his hands, Doctor Strange is taken in by the Ancient One, who has a skill set that is inevitably unmatched. As he begs for power and learns how to navigate himself through multiple dimensions, Doctor Strange is challenged with the consequences of defying nature.

Marvel rarely disappoints with its plots and comics. The aspect that truly separates Doctor Strange from other films is the use of magical visual effects, created with over 1,450 enhancing shots. These trippy effects earned Doctor Strange the Hollywood Visual Effects Award at the Hollywood Film Awards. The aspect of inception and eastern mysticism leaves viewers captivated and sitting straight up in their seats. Whether this film is seen in 3D or not, Doctor Strange messes with the minds of its audience and adds coins to the golden chair of Marvel. Despite past successes, Doctor Strange was deemed as the most “satisfying entry since Spider-Man 2” by Peter Debruge of Variety. With underlying improvements, Marvel has yet to leave viewers disappointed. Doctor Strange confuses and intrigued you all in the same breath. If you have yet to see it, don't worry, University Union has you covered. The release date is soon to be announced. 

 

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Rock the Dome

The only way is up when it comes to concerts at ‘Cuse. Rock the Dome is back after a five-year hiatus and will certainly bring some magic to the table. Right before the dreaded winter and stress of finals, Rock the Dome will light our lackluster lives with energy and joy. It’s a relieving lineup and if you haven't heard about the roster, let me fill you in.

The 1975: Hailing from the U.K., “The 1975” has been killing the indie rock game for years. In recent years their music has traveled to the U.S. and is equally well received. After an impressive self-titled album “The 1975” skyrocketed, their next project I like it when you sleep, for you are so beautiful yet so unaware of it has been parading the surface since it’s drop in February of 2016. I last saw “The 1975” at the Barclays Center in May. The least I can say is that this show should blow your mind in terms of creation. “The 1975” is a different kind of band in the scheme of things.They have music that is indescribable but will simply make you smile ear to ear. It’s easy to catch on musically as a fan because there is something about the chemicals released in your brain when their songs play. After selling out shows all over the world, their tour will now expand to our campus in just three weeks.

Oh Wonder: The talent in London always has more gems than rocks. Another gem heading to Rock the Dome this year is “Oh Wonder”. Broken down, “Oh Wonder” is Josephine Vander Gucht and Anthony West singing in complete unity. Since releasing their DIY debut album, they have seen international success and broke through to the U.S to give us that same flavor. When you look at the blueprint of their first album, they truly did something revolutionary. “Oh Wonder” recorded one song each month for a year and at the end, blessed our years with a project. Musically they are sure to set the vibe of strong before “The 1975”.

K. High

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Weekly Music Review

New Projects

NxWorries (Anderson Paak & Knxwledge) - Yes Lawd!

Many got their first taste of rising star Anderson Paak from his collab with producer Knxwledge, “Suede,” a gritty old school sounding track released last year. Together, the rapper/singer Anderson Paak, and producer Knxwledge make “NxWorries”, and on Friday they released their debut project, “Yes Lawd!”. Knxwledge, a producer who has worked with rappers such as Kendrick Lamar, Action Bronson, Earl Sweatshirt and more brings a heavy old school hip hop feel to the project, and Anderson Paak showcases his versatility once again by gliding over the production, half rapping, half singing. “Yes Lawd!” marks the second stellar album released by Paak this year alone; if you’re not a fan by now you’re already late.

Favorite Track: Get Bigger/Do U Love

By: Lucas M

Artists To Look Out For

YG TUT

Let me take it down to Chattanooga, Tennessee for this one. Interestingly enough, TUT just makes that feel good. I first heard him on a track called “Sunday Service” featuring Isaiah Rashad. The flavor of his lyrics and calm delivery had me shook in itself. As I listened through his entire tape Preacher’s Son, I couldn’t help but feeling like I was in the south, sitting on the porch with my homeboy; just thinking. TUT’s beats are like Chance’s in the sense the entire band can be heard creeping behind the bars. I’m telling y’all, this is the music I live for. Let him take you to the other side of the south.

By: K. High

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D.R.A.M Interview

Luckily I got the opportunity to speak with D.R.A.M after his epic performance at Juice Jam. He took control of the stage with his large presence and charisma that reflected directly onto the crowd. Broccoli particularly got the crowd going and everyone went wild as their anthem filled the Juice Jam air. It truly completed his set with a bang. D.R.A.M was later asked by one of the reporters if he changed his approach to making music after Broccoli blew up on the charts. He responded that it hasn't changed his approach at all it has just made concerts more “Lit”. D.R.A.M was also asked to describe what his perception of “Real Ass Music” is. He said that “Real Ass Music” is all the music that is authentic to him and his experiences. D.R.A.M says that all of his music is based on events that actually happened. Finally, I asked what band inspired him the most a developing artist. Without a stutter, he replied “Parliament-Funkadelic. D.R.A.M definitely did not disappoint and I think we can all agree we hope to see him sometime again on our campus.

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Chatting with James Franco

Last Sunday we were honored to host the legendary, James Franco. His quick humor and charming stage presence all held us captive as he spoke in Goldstein auditorium. Lexi did a wonderful job at moderating the event and asked questions that prompted humorous yet insightful answers from Franco. The question that triggered the biggest response  was, "What emojis would you use describe your life?". Franco replied, "A baby, a comedic character face, a heart, a heartbreak, and a big smile. I thought the baby emoji was quite clever.  The talk with Franco was littered with his quick humor but also filled with countless stories about his life and career. He spoke about his role in Freaks and Geeks, which Franco said was "the first thing I ever did that was good". We all know Franco as a comedic actor, typically alongside his good friend Seth Rogen (the perfect dynamic duo), but Franco said he used to be more interested in dramas (*gasps*). He realized years after Freaks and Geeks that comedy was his calling; it simply got a better response from his audiences and critiques. Franco also gave advice on nerves and made the point that "If people don't like this, it is not my fault". He explained that sometimes the scripts are not any good, which is out of his control and sometimes people just have a different opinion on his work. Franco's biggest advice was to invest everything you have and obsess over your work until you have done your best. Why do it if you're not going to do it the best you possibly can?

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Juice Jam 2016

Marshmello

Marshmello is an EDM artist who rose to prominence after beginning to mysteriously release songs on SoundCloud. He is known for always being masked, hidden behind the face of a marshmallow. This, along with his music, which he describes as “deep, fluffy, hybrid melodic sexy trap house” has earned him quite the cult following; don’t be surprised to see some fans rocking homemade Marshmello masks at Juice Jam. Lucky for us, what Marshmello is really known for is his live sets, which never fail to be a crazy time.

Stephen

Stephen is an electronic producer, singer, and songwriter from California. He is a unique artist in that he is known equally for his electronic production as he is for his songwriting and singing. This combination should make for a compelling live show experience

By: Lucas M

D.R.A.M

The comeback has been real. What does it do to an artist when they don’t even get credit for their biggest hit? We all know “Cha Cha” was an original song by D.R.A.M, but when people connect the dots, they trace the hit to Drake’s “Hotline Bling”. I mean, this is what happens in the music industry but only the best artists prevail. After selling out shows across the entire country with Chance the Rapper and recently knocking Drake off of the Billboard 100 for the #1 spot, D.R.A.M is simply put, killing the game right now. I don’t even have to go into his discography, just click the links below and vibe with us at Juice Jam next Sunday.

By K. High


Fetty Wap

If you haven’t heard of Fetty Wap in the past two years, feel free to crawl out from the rock you’ve been living under. With one of the fastest and most startling come-ups in hip-hop, Fetty has displayed his stone cold hustle and capability to create banger after banger after banger. His signature raspy tone sits his music somewhere between accessible pop and rap and, much like the pies he’s been cooking with his “Trap Queen”, the world has eaten it up completely.

By: Rachel B

Tove Lo

Tove lo is a Swedish singer-songwriter. She has recently made the transition from songwriter to solo artists. Her debut EP, Truth Serum, went Top Twenty in her own country and “Habits”, her  most successful track, can be heard on the radio in the U.S. Tove Lo is a star on the rise, and we are lucky enough to have her performing live at Juice Jam September 25th

LOLO

LOLO is a show stopping artist who not only has a great stage presence but is also considered an incredible songwriter. Her newest album “In Loving Memory of When I Gave a Shit” reflects her journey from Tennessee to the stages of New York to London and back. She has everything to offer, from her experience on broadway in “Spring Awakening” to her unparalleled songwriting skills. LOLO is a fiery soul that will be taking on our stage in less than a week.

By: Genna Schindel

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Best New Albums

Freetown Sound-Dev Hynes

Freetown Sound is a soothing and enticing personal document that embraces black culture and emphasizes the pains of oppression. The album was released June 28th, 2016 and has since received a flood of positive reviews. Freetown Sound is Hynes’ third album as Blood Orange and arrived days after 25-year-old Freddie Gray was fatally injured while in the custody of the police officer Caesar Goodstein Jr. The police officer was found not guilty and chants of racism roared across the nation. On the same day, another police officer was found not guilty for slamming a black teenage girl on the ground at a pool party. Although these events aren’t specifically documented in this album, Hynes’ views of black culture are coded into every beat and lyric of the album. 

Birds in the Trap Sing Mcknight-Travis Scott

September 2, Travis Scott released his second studio album, Birds in the Trap Sing McKnight, a honed follow-up to his first album Rodeo. BITTSM is a consistent and crucial project for an artist who has found his niche as the tie that binds trap with dark, innovative production inspired by the likes of Kid Cudi and Kanye West. Each song is a cohesive addition to the one before. Scott expounds upon the themes within his production in a skilled, stylistic manner. He ensures that there is more to even his most lighthearted song than meets the eye with layers that add depth beneath the surface and take each banger to the next level. 

Blonde- Frank Ocean

In 2012, Frank Ocean released his official debut album Channel Orange. Though he certainly had built quite a following due to his self-released Nostalgia, Ultra and affiliation with Odd Future, Channel Orange took his public notoriety to the next level and received much critical praise. Following the release, Frank stayed quiet, completely out of the news, for the most part, giving no interviews and using social media minimally. After various false release dates, he unleashed a burst of material; the audio-visual Endless, magazines, a music video, and his long-awaited album Blonde. The intro track “Nikes” begins with teasing, pitched up vocals, before Frank’s voice finally comes warmly gliding through as the song nears its end. It’s a moment that gives a great start to the album, contrasting suspense with a fresh air of calmness in the same way he released his latest batch of material. Upon first listen, the album could seem bare to some especially compared to his previous work, but with every listen new details and meanings are uncovered, which along with the personability of his lyrics makes the album an engaging listen every time.

P3-PARTYNEXTDOOR

The PARTY wave has been kind of crazy ever since he dropped his first official tape back in 2013. From then on we got two more brief tapes and some notable Drake features but still no studio album. We got tastes of PARTY all over but each song led to more excitement about his releasing a full project so when it finally came, please believe we were ready. The album was actually on point but where I think PARTY missed is where he failed to create those “Break From Toronto”/ “Recognize” type songs. Even when a song is heavy, PARTY always adds that extra boost of musicality but all of these songs stayed on the same tide. This album kind of reminds me of Miguel’s ‘Wildheart’ in that sense that PARTY took us down an alley of reflection and reminiscence and instead of making music for the people, made music for himself and his journey.

He uses vocal clips and spoken word poetry to craft his narrative. “Hand up” refers to the 2012 killing of Trayvon Martin in Florida, where George Zimmerman- a neighborhood volunteer- shot and killed the unarmed teenager. Hynes specifically warns the listener, “Keep your hood off when you’re walking… Sure enough, they’re gonna take your body”. The anguish and frustration conveyed through these lyrics alone are unparalled. Hynes’ raw emotions are consistent throughout the entire album. Although this particular political and cultural issue in the United States is sensitive, Hynes has artfully and appropriately expressed his views through his masterfully crafted music.

~Genna Schindel

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

With features from heavyweights such as Andre 3000, Kendrick Lamar, and Kid Cudi, Bryson Tiller, The Weeknd, 21 Savage and more, Travis Scott plays to every artist’s strength, yet never loses sight of his own presence. For a project hyped as heavily as this one, it can be easy to disappoint. However, in this case, the hype is valid and fulfilled. There is not a track on BITTSM that doesn’t hit, doesn’t fit, or isn’t lit. Bravo, Travis Scott on an excellent album.

~Rachel Blackman

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Such is the case on album centerpiece “Seigfreid”, whose minimal, floaty, guitar-based instrumental allows room for various sound effects and instruments to be introduced, warping the song into new directions as Frank’s vocals hold prominence. Songs are formulated similarly across the album, such as on “Skyline To”, whose minimal production morphs into a trippy outro that sounds like a modernized version of something off of The Beatles’ Magical Mystery Tour. Much of the album’s sound is psychedelic, sounding inspired by the Beatles in various aspects, including both the production and Frank’s melodies and harmonies, (he interpolates melodies from The Beatles’ “Here, There and Everywhere” on “White Ferrari.”) Usage of drugs is explicitly mentioned in the lyrics, and the effect of these drugs on his lyrical mindset seem apparent as well. Much of Frank’s overarching lyrical themes seem based on finding a calm place in between the contrasts of life. This sentiment is reflected in the album’s name, which is spelled “Blonde” in its iTunes listing, but is spelled “Blond” on the actual cover, (Blonde being the feminine form, Blond being the masculine form in french.) A professor once told me that the beauty of legendary songwriter Joni Mitchell’s songwriting is that she perfectly captures the beautiful feeling of “happy-sad”, and I think that is what Frank has done on Blonde. Time will tell just how much Blonde will stand out from other releases in this era, but it has the potential to become a timeless record.

~Lucas M

 

 

 

A lot of people are still saying that they still  can’t get into it but don’t sleep, there’s actually a lot of fire on this album. If the wave doesn’t match that’s one thing but when it does, it’ll hit just as hard as anything else he’s ever dropped. As dreamy and sedated as the tracks are, they will still have your brain feeling colorful. You can’t help but to feel joy when music really hits and trust me, this will hit you at some point; good music is good music. Also noting that PARTY is one of the few artists who are pulling off dancehall samples and actually killing it like he did in “Not Nice” or “Only You”. From track 1-16, I can’t say every song was a hit and he definitely could have diversified the songs more but this project wasn’t a failure like everyone thought it turned out to be; it just represents a different kind of trip…

~K.High

 

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James Franco

Thanks to University Union's Performing Arts team, James Franco will be making an appearance on campus, September 17th. The award-winning American actor had his breakthrough role on Freaks and Geeks (1999), but it wasn't until the TNT movie James Dean (2001) that Franco truly became a fan favorite and got to show off his real talent. Franco has 90 nominations and clenched 31 wins across a variety of award ceremonies, which is quite an impressive resume in anyone's book. Luckily, we will be graced by his presence in a few short weeks, but tickets are selling fast. Buy your tickets at the Schine box office for 10$ with an SU/ESF ID. Doors open at 7:15pm in Goldstein Auditorium on September 17th, 2016. Be there or be square. 

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