Get to Know the Block Party 2018 Artists: "Gucci Mane, SZA, and Medasin"

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Get to Know the Block Party 2018 Artists: "Gucci Mane, SZA, and Medasin"

As you probably know, UU has announced the Block Party 2018 lineup featuring rap star, Gucci Mane. Writer Tiffany Huang gives us the breakdown of who's coming to rock the dome.

Gucci Mane

  • He was born in Atlanta, Georgia as Radric Delantic Davis on February 12th, 1980.
  • His collaborative song with Rae Sremmurd, “Black Beatles”, was #1 on the Billboard Hot 100 Chart in 2016 and was popularized alongside the Mannequin Challenge. 
  • He loves a good pair of Jordans! Check out his appearance on Complex’s “Sneaker Shopping” web series: 
  • He’s a published author. His book/autobiography, The Autobiography of Gucci Mane, became a New York Times bestseller.
  • And of course, don’t forget about his appearance as Big Arch/Archie in the 2013 film Spring Breakers. 

SZA

  • Her stage name stands for “sovereign/savior,” “zig-zag,” “Allah.”
  • Her and Zoë Kravitz are BFF goals!
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  • She’s the only female artist signed with Top Dawg Entertainment and and works with labelmate Kendrick Lamar.
  • She was nominated for five Grammys this year: Best R&B Performance, Best R&B Song, Best Rap/Sung Performance, Best New Artist, and Best Urban Contemporary Album.
  • During high school, she was considered one of the most talented gymnasts in the nation.

Medasin

  • Medasin, born Grant Nelson, began creating music at the young age of 12 after his brother inspired him.
  • He’s a fan of Rick and Morty and The Eric Andre Show.
  • He’s got quite the sense of humor: 
  • His remixes include  songs like “Feel It Still” by Portugal. The Man and “will he” by Joji. He also recently released an EP titled IRENE filled with 16 original mixes: 
  • Before a show, he likes to down a can of cold beer to get rid of the nerves.

By Tiffany Huang

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New Artists Alert: "FRENSHIP, Calum Scott, and Stefflon Don"

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New Artists Alert: "FRENSHIP, Calum Scott, and Stefflon Don"

Need some new artists to add to your music rotation? Writer Tiffany Huang has got you covered.

FRENSHIP

You probably recognize the name from their hit track, “Capsize” featuring Emily Warren. Otherwise, FRENSHIP only has one EP, Truce, and a few singles under their belt. Formed in Los Angeles, this duo specializes in experimenting with electronic sounds and playful beats. FRENSHIP consists of James Sunderland and Brett Hite, who first met each other through their jobs at their local Lululemon. Since becoming friends, they have worked with each other’s musical styles to produce the color of FRENSHIP’s music. In previous interviews, Sunderland and Hite have mentioned a clash in each other’s musical styles. Despite that initially being the case, the two are able to work together to fill each other’s missing parts. They recently released a new single titled “LOVE Somebody” earlier this year. Like “Capsize”, this new single utilizes the deep and rich vocals of the two and pairs it up with a buoyant instrumental. It’s another catchy track that definitely makes the pair artists to take note of.

Calum Scott

Hailing from England, Calum Scott has pursued his passion for music for several years. His most notable experience, however, was when he was a contestant on the ninth season of Britain’s Got Talent. His rendition of Robyn’s “Dancing on My Own” garnered him public attention and led him directly to the semi-finals. After the show, he officially released his version “Dancing on My Own”, which became a hit. Scott’s powerful yet emotional vocals can be heard in other tracks such as “Rhythm Inside”, which takes advantage of an electric beat, and “You Are the Reason”, a soulful track. Scott released his first studio album on March 9th this year, titled Only Human.

Stefflon Don

The British-Jamaican rapper and singer Stephanie Allen, best known as Stefflon Don, has made waves not only in the UK’s music industry but also in the US. Stefflon Don has collaborated with others such as Jeremih on his track “London”, lending sensual vocals to its addictive hook. In addition to Jeremih, Don also wrote a verse for Demi Lovato’s “Instruction” and exuded a confident performance in the song. Possessing a strong musical presence as a featured artist, Stefflon Don also made sure to show her assertiveness through her own songs such as the ones in her EP, Hurtin’ Me. The title track features French Montana as Don’s vocals sings about reminiscent feelings for an ex. As a rapper, Stefflon Don is intense and fierce. As a singer, she’s strong and steady. These two talents work together to make her an act to remember.

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In-Depth with Rachel: "March for Our Lives"

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In-Depth with Rachel: "March for Our Lives"

Writer Rachel Simon gives us her thoughts for this week's in-depth.

As I’m sure we all know, the March for Our Lives took place on Saturday, March 24 in Washington D.C., to support legislation against gun violence after the shooting in Parkland, Florida. Hundreds of thousands of people from all over attended the march, along with 800 other demonstrations taking place in other major cities and areas in the country. Students from Parkland spoke to a national audience regarding the trauma they faced on February 14, and the march had a total of 17 speakers to honor the individuals who were killed in the shooting. Many celebrities such as Ariana Grande, Miley Cyrus, Demi Lovato, and many more gave musical performances to show their support. One of the shortest yet most powerful speeches was given by Martin Luther King Jr.’s granddaughter; 9-year-old Yolanda Renee King. She asked the captivated crowd to repeat after her three times,“Spread the word! Have you heard? All across the nation, we are going to be a great generation!” Each time saying “Now like you really, really mean it!”. Emma Gonzalez, who’s become one of the main faces of the movement, gave an incredibly powerful speech that lasted about 6 minutes and 20 seconds. The time was exactly the amount of time it took for the shooter to kill the 17 students at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School. Gonzalez stated, “In a little over 6 minutes, 17 of our friends were taken from us,15 were injured and everyone, absolutely everyone in the Douglas community was forever altered.” She stood in absolute silence during part of her speech, and the crowd cheered for her strength and the message she was getting across. Watching the speech, you could feel the power of the silence and the amount of damage and heartache that occurred in those 6 minutes and 20 seconds. The level of support shown at not only the march but throughout our country has been truly inspiring. Just like the March on Washington in 1963, where Martin Luther King Jr. delivered his “I have a dream” speech, this movement will be marked down in history.

 

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In-Depth with Rachel: "App-ology"

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In-Depth with Rachel: "App-ology"

Looking to get more insightful coverage on news stories from the week? Well, here you have it with "In-Depth with Rachel" where our blog writer, Rachel Simon gives you her honest takes on what's going on.

First up, Snapchat just learned not to mess with the Bad Gal Riri.

Recently, there has been quite a bit of buzz surrounding Snapchat and the offensive advertisement for the mobile game “Would You Rather”. Snapchat dared to ask viewers if they would rather “Slap Rihanna” or “Punch Chris Brown.” With the world expecting a fiery response from Rihanna, the singer did not disappoint when she called out Snapchat for disrespecting not only her, but all the other women and children who are, or have been victims of domestic violence. She posted a statement on Instagram, "Now SNAPCHAT I know you already know you ain't my fav app out there! But I'm just trying to figure out what the point was with this mess!" the singer wrote. "I'd love to call it ignorance but I know you ain't that dumb. You spent money on animating something that would intentionally bring shame to DV victims and made a joke of it." Snapchat then responded with a statement to CNN, calling the ad “disgusting” and stating that they never wanted something of this nature to happen again. This has not only become a lesson regarding what’s inappropriate regarding domestic violence, but it also goes to show how easy it is for companies to create advertisements that end up on popular social media platforms. Snapchat has specifically stated that all advertisements are “subject to our review and policy” and there should be no content that shows “excessive violence.” Snapchat messed up on this one, and hopefully, this will be a lesson well learned for the company. Snapchat has lost about $1 billion as a result of this incident, and their stock dropped nearly 4% after Rihanna called out the app. Individuals have also decided to delete the app to show their support. As if it couldn’t get any better, Rihanna released her new products with Puma and their stock bumped up almost immediately.

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Get to Know Bandersnatch Artists: "Whitney, SALES, and Charlie Burg"

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Get to Know Bandersnatch Artists: "Whitney, SALES, and Charlie Burg"

Excited for the sick lineup of next week's Bandersnatch show? We feel the same way.

Blogger Tiffany Huang is here to give you all the info on our three amazing acts. Read more below!

Whitney

An acoustic duo fronted by guitarist Max Kakacek and vocalist/drummer Julien Ehrlich, Whitney was formed in 2015, and is currently signed to label Secretly Canadian. They released their first album Light Upon the Lake in 2016, which received critical acclaim from music critics’ reviews. Their music is dubbed as indie rock but Whitney has shown that it is capable of producing various sounds. It seems that every artist from Chicago embodies the same soul. Whether the genre is rap, hip-hop, country, or in Whitney’s case indie rock, if you hail from Chi-town, you automatically have soul. In all of their tracks, and especially obvious in “No Matter Where We Go” and “The Falls”, the duo isn’t shy in utilizing the sounds that instruments can make. With lyrics inspired by Ehrlich’s relationship with his ex, the songs have a melancholy message but it's masked by the energetic intrusion of their drum beats and other diverse percussion sounds. You can be sure to see Whitney in person during Bandersnatch. Hey, even Elton John loves Whitney so definitely check out their music here: 

SALES

Hailing from Orlando, Florida, SALES is a band comprised of vocalist Lauren Morgan, guitarist Jordan Shih, and current drummer Malcolm Martin. The band is an collaborative effort in cultivating a sweet and dreamy pop unique to their quirky lyrics. Morgan and Shih met in high school Latin class and after becoming friends, they decided to form SALES a few years later. After the release of a few singles such as their first track “Renee” and “Chinese New Year”, they released their first album titled SALES LP in 2016, which is decked out with fifteen praiseworthy tracks. Their lyrics take a minimalistic approach, being not as wordy or taking the typical form of a song, but tracks like “Over” and “Mondays” are nonetheless saturated with relatable and genuine content about romance and self-discovery. With recordings set in bedroom studios, SALES has succeeded in making the most out of their resources. Morgan’s psychedelic voice is paired with intoxicating guitar riffs and beats and paints SALES as a creatively abstract and lo-fi pop band. Make sure to catch a listen to their music because you’ll be hooked: 

Charlie Burg 

If you haven’t heard of this upcoming Bandersnatch artist, then you’re probably living under a rock. Charlie Burg has been a popular name heard at Syracuse University for a while now due to his musical talent and performances around campus as well as other venues. Burg is a junior majoring in music industry and has been working on releasing the second part of his three-EP series. The multi-talented artist not only provides smooth vocals for his tracks but he can also play the acoustic and electric guitar, bass, drums and piano. Burg describes his sound as being influenced by Motown music, as well as bands like Coldplay, Weezer, etc. His first two albums Blue Wave Mosaic and One, Violet individually show his versatility as a musician. In the former, Burg channels R&B vibes in his tracks such as “Detour” whereas in One, Violet, tracks like “Duet” take on more indie and mellow sounds. He is currently being managed by two other students by the names of Andrew Idarraga and Benji Sheinman, and with about 81,000 daily Spotify listeners, Burg definitely has some big things coming in his future. Be sure to check him out here before his performance: 

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Weekly Playlist Mar.9, 2018: "Spring Break Edition"

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Weekly Playlist Mar.9, 2018: "Spring Break Edition"

Need some tunes for the long car ride? Or to add to the playlist for turning up on the beach? We've got you covered.

“Banana Clip” // Miguel: Make it rain all spring ‘18 with this track. #M16onmylap

“Side Effects” // Ty Dolla $ign: Here’s to wistfully wishing for “Beach House 4...”

“I Wanna Dance With Somebody (Who Loves Me)” // Fall Out Boy: Whitney was smiling in her grave after Fall Out Boy completely bodied this classic.

“Bad Girls” // M.I.A: I think the title says it all. Just don’t get too bad.

“Sunshine” // KYLE, Miguel: Catchy chorus with a beautiful melody, it’s hard not to picture yourself on the beach while listening to KYLE and Miguel’s beautiful voices.

“I Wanna Be Your Lover” // Corinne Bailey Rae: With her sultry voice, Rae tributes Prince in the best way possible. A cover.

“A Dancing Shell” // Wild Nothing: Party all day long with this extremely accurate tune about fame.

“Party” // Beyoncé ft. J. Cole: One of the best songs on “4.” Let’s argue.

“Come Get It Bae” // Pharrell Williams: When this song came out, Pharrell was peaking with his cool aviators and his Smokey the Bear hat. If you play this song while on spring break, maybe you’ll peak too.

By Camryn, Rachel, Tiffany & Slater

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This Week in Pop Culture: "Women and the Weinstein Company, and History at the Oscars"

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This Week in Pop Culture: "Women and the Weinstein Company, and History at the Oscars"

Missed out on what happened last week? We've got you covered.

A GROUP OF WOMEN JUST PURCHASED THE WEINSTEIN COMPANY

This past Thursday, a group of women investors made the bold decision to purchase the Weinstein company for 500 million dollars. Since the Harvey Weinstein sexual harassment scandal, the company itself has crashed and burned financially. This empowering group is being led by Maria Contreras-Sweet, the former head of the U.S. Small Business Administration for the Obama Administration. Along with being the leader of this group, she also plans to be the head of the new board of directors. This new board will consist of mostly women, and it was stated that the new board would consist of "...a new vision that embodies the principles that we have stood by since we began this process last fall."

The company will be vastly different from the Weinstein company in more ways than one. While many believe this is a way for the company to cover up Weinstein’s wrongdoings, Contreras-Sweet has made a point to say that the goal of the company is “to build a movie studio led by a board of directors made up of a majority of independent women, save about 150 jobs, protect the small businesses who are owed money and create a victims’ compensation fund that would supplement existing insurance coverage for those who have been harmed.” One of the most critical aspects of the company is the victims’ compensation fund where victims will, in fact, be compensated for the pain they’ve endured as a result of Harvey Weinstein. Also, the new company will also create new and improved HR policies to protect employees, and give consequences to those that break these policies. We can only anticipate positive things to come from all of these new progressive changes as well as some different films that we may not be used to seeing from the Weinstein Company.

MAKING HISTORY AT THE OSCARS

The 2018 Oscars aired Sunday night and it was a night of firsts. The host of the Oscars this year, Jimmy Kimmel made a point to state all of the ways the nominated actors and actresses were making history. There were so many fantastic films this year that stood out, as well as those that touched upon specific issues that we are currently dealing with in our country.  The film The Shape of Water became the second movie in history to have a woman screenwriter win Best Picture since World War II. Until this year, no woman had ever been nominated or even considered for cinematography, and Rachel Morrison has become the first. The second mark in history was that Jordan Peele became the first Black winner for Original Screenplay. Along with this, Peele was nominated for not just directing, but producing and writing as well. He is the first Black director in the industry to be nominated for all three in the same year, and his film Get Out was nominated in all three categories. In addition, the director of Mudbound; Dee Rees was the first Black woman to be nominated for Best Adapted Screenplay.

The older nominees made their mark at the Oscars this year when 89 years-old James Ivory won the award for Best Adapted Screenplay for the movie Call Me By Your Name and became the oldest Oscar winner in history. After replacing Kevin Spacey in the film “All the Money in the World,” Christopher Plummer was nominated for Best Supporting Actor at the age of 88. This makes him the oldest actor ever nominated. Daniela Vega became the first openly transgender woman to present at the Academy Awards. Although she was not nominated, she did, in fact, make history. As you can see this year's awards were just the beginning of the changes and diversity that is becoming more and more prominent in Hollywood.

By Rachel Simon

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 New Artist Alert: "MGMT, H.E.R. and Jaymes Young"

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New Artist Alert: "MGMT, H.E.R. and Jaymes Young"

Need new music for that study playlist or something else to bump besides Drake (we know, he always has good stuff). We've got you covered with new artists.

MGMT

MGMT is hardly new to the music industry, with people still jamming out to their debut album tracks such as “Electric Feel” or “Kids.” The band, however, made a reappearance with their first album in five years titled Little Dark Age. With its recent release on February 9th, the new album stays true to MGMT’s past musical tones and colors, sounds which loyal fans appreciate. The ten-track album plays with the diversity of synthesizer elements, occasionally adding in some classic acoustic instruments, and reminds listeners of ‘80s settings. MGMT has stated that they drew inspiration from America’s current state of political and social affairs, which has become a foundation for most of their lyrics for Little Dark Age. You can listen to their new songs below:

H.E.R.

H.E.R. (Having Everything Revealed) is most likely a familiar voice, having been featured on the popular track “Best Part” by Daniel Caesar. With a light but sensual voice that permeates throughout all of her solo tracks, she has already captivated fans at the young age of twenty. The R&B singer has released four extended plays, all of which highlight H.E.R.’s musicality in the genre. Tracks such as “Focus” and “Every Kind of Way” utilize chill beats and vocals similar to the likes of SZA or Kehlani. On the other hand, her lyrics focus on the emotional stages of falling in and out of love, which become emphasized through H.E.R.’s passionate singing. She brings a modern take on slow songs, making it fresh with her unique arrangements of music.

Jaymes Young

Hailing from Seattle, Jaymes Young emerged in the music industry as a versatile artist, dabbling in genres such as alternative rock and indie pop. His debut album Feel Something consolidates that versatility into twelve tracks, giving a spotlight to his talents as a singer-songwriter. With diverse tracks like the indie-rock “Two People” and garage-rock “Don’t You Know”, Young creates the common denominator of angsty lyrics that resonates with listeners’ heartfelt experiences with emotional connections and relationships. Not only is Young able to express the difficult mood of melancholy, he isn’t afraid to experiment with sounds that can alter the delivery of that emotion.

By Tiffany Huang

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This Week in Pop Culture: "Fergie's National Anthem, Adidas and the Snapchat Update"

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This Week in Pop Culture: "Fergie's National Anthem, Adidas and the Snapchat Update"

Missed all that happened last week? We've got you covered.

FERGIE RESPONDS TO NATIONAL ANTHEM CRITICISM

The newest topic that everyone seems to be laughing at these days is Fergie’s unique rendition of the National Anthem at this past NBA All-Star Weekend in LA. What many were expecting to be a simple and classic version of our National Anthem turned out to be a sultry and sexy version that shocked the country. But what may have received even more attention were the comedic reactions from the players as well as celebrities in the audience like Chance, and Jimmy Kimmel. Fergie released a statement to TMZ addressing the whole incident. The singer admitted that her version of the song may have “missed the mark”. Fergie also stated, "I’ve always been honored and proud to perform the national anthem and last night I wanted to try something special for the NBA," she said in the statement. "I’m a risk taker artistically, but clearly this rendition didn’t strike the intended tone. I love this country and honestly tried my best."

ADIDAS CREATES NEW SNEAKER FOR EVERY STATE IN THE US

Back in July of 2017, Adidas announced the launch their new sneaker line, which specifically featured artwork representing every state in the US. Since each state is known for an individual trademark, Adidas has decided to highlight this in the form of the new Ultraboost X sneaker. This ranges from Georgia's peaches, to Wisconsin's cheese and Vermont's green mountains. But possibly the coolest part about this new design, is the fact that the geniuses behind all of this are the 12 female artists that were chosen to do it. The sneakers are not available to the general public in stores, but are being sold in an online auction where all the proceeds will go to Women Win, a charity which focuses on women's leadership.

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SNAPCHAT AND THE NEW UPDATE WE ALL LOVE TO HATE

So far in 2018, we have all been mourning the loss of our beloved Snapchat. The app was updated early this year, and with that there have been some changes we’re not so thrilled about. Luckily, our generation has not held back from sharing our outrage and demanding things go back to their old ways. With everyone’s stories, contacts and streaks all jumbled together, it’s a miracle that the app is still being used. As millennials we just can’t seem to let it go, and a petition to get rid of the update has been signed by over 1 million people. While Snapchat has been promoting that change is a good thing for a while now, the people have clearly spoken and Snapchat may finally be listening. Snap Inc. has responded to the petition, and has acknowledged how the update has "felt uncomfortable for many." Snap Inc. claims its "goal was to make it easier to connect with the people you care about most,". As an attempt to resolve this, they will be introducing a tab system on the Friends page that will potentially “streamline the interface a bit.”

By Rachel Simon

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Weekly Playlist: "Feb.19-23, 2018"

SONGS YOU NEED TO HEAR THIS WEEK #NEWMUSICFRIDAY

No genre, no rules. Songs we love that you will too.

“Wild Love” // James Bay: Bay dropped his first single, since what seems like FOREVER, a couple weeks ago and it’s awesome. Crooning with soul that the Brits seem to do so well, “Wild Love” is an embodiment of young love.

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“You Give Me Life” // ILY: Truly giving us life all the way from Sweden, ILY’s music is practically euphoric.

“B.I.D.” // Tory Lanez: Since Memories Don’t Die is coming out soon, here’s a little taste of what to expect from Lanez.

“Far Away Truths” // Albert Hammond Jr: The Strokes inspired so many of our teenage angst periods so it’s only right we include Hammond’s recent solo in the playlist. His insane rhythm and cool stories behind his music, blends the perfect amount of fun and meaning. If you don’t believe me, look up his reasoning behind his latest album.

“Moon River” // Frank Ocean: Sung by the romantic we truly don’t deserve, Ocean’s cover of Audrey Hepburn’s ballad is enchanting and reminiscent of better days. 

“F*ck With You” // Kodak Black and Tory Lanez: A different perspective on Kodak’s usual description of women, “F*ck With You” has a pretty catchy chorus with R&B vocals from Lanez.

“Void” // The Neighbourhood: A classic staple in rock, The Neighbourhood’s album release on March 9th is sure to make waves in the music world.

“10,000 Hours” // PRETTYMUCH: Our organizations opinions’ on boy-bands are usually conflicting, but who doesn’t like PRETTYMUCH? Meeting all the boy-band requirements: attractiveness, beautiful voices, and dope harmonies, expect to hear more about PRETTYMUCH in 2018.

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“Silos” // Cautious Clay: Beauty in one minute in forty-seven seconds. Listen immediately for your health.

“Wallflower” // Jasper Typical: This song will give you super emo teenage vibes. Please don’t make any rash decisions after listening. Don’t say I didn’t warn you.

 

By Camryn Simon and Slater Ward-Diorio

 

 

 

 

 

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This Week In Pop Culture: "Britney Spears, God's Plan and TDE x Black Panther"

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This Week In Pop Culture: "Britney Spears, God's Plan and TDE x Black Panther"

Missed out on what happened last week? Read about it here.

BRITNEY SPEARS SHOWS HER SUPPORT FOR LGBT COMMUNITY AT THE OLYMPICS

The 2018 Winter Olympics has been on everyone’s radar the past few weeks, but what has recently caught everyone’s eye is Britney Spears and her involvement in the games. No, she isn’t competing but, she has openly shown her support of Team USA’s LGBT members through social media. Spears reached out to ice skater Adam Rippon and skier Gus Kenworthy‏ stating that she is a big fan and showing her support. Kenworthy brought this positive attention to the athletes just a few weeks ago when he tweeted “We’re here. We’re queer. Get used to it.”

 With her constant support of the LGBT community in past years, it was no surprise that the pop singer voiced her support and love for the athletes. Kenworthy and Rippon eagerly responded with both shock and excitement, showing their mutual respect and support for Spears herself.  

DRAKE DROPS "GOD’S PLAN" VIDEO

One of the most unexpected and incredible drops so far this year has been Drake’s new song, "God’s Plan" from the Scary Hours EP. The song dropped a few weeks ago, and it has already taken the nation with it rising to  number one on the Billboard Hot 100. Scary Hours set the record for most streams in only one day on Spotify in the United States. Now to add even more excitement to the mix, Drake has just released the "God’s Plan" music video, and everyone is going crazy over it. The video showcases Drake traveling to Miami and gifting large donations to different people. At the end of shooting the video, the rapper confirmed to have donated $996,631.90, which was the entire music video budget. Drake later announced that the music video was "the most important thing I have ever done in my career."

KENDRICK LAMAR AND TDE SEND KIDS LIVING IN HOUSING PROJECTS TO SEE BLACK PANTHER

Kendrick Lamar and TDE collaborated with Interscope Records, and were able to send 1,000 kids from housing projects in LA to see Black Panther on Saturday. The artists felt that with the movie being in such high demand, it was necessary for children who are living in the Watts housing projects to be given the opportunity to see a free viewing of the movie. TDE has brought artists we know and love to the music scene like, Kendrick Lamar, Schoolboy Q and others which is why the two decided to carry out this project together. The L.A. Unified School District is also taking part in making this possible by providing transportation to the theaters. The TDE producer of the Black Panther movie soundtrack stated, “Working on such a powerful movie is a great opportunity. We’re always working on new goals at TDE, so teaming up with Disney, Marvel Studios, and the Black Panther film makes perfect sense.”

By Rachel Simon

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"Cuse for Good: Social Justice" Recap

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"Cuse for Good: Social Justice" Recap

Missed the hottest event of the weekend? We've got you covered on all that went down.

This past Saturday, University Union worked together with the National Pan-Hellenic Council and Student Association to bring a panel of guest speakers to discuss the issues of social justice. Among those speakers were our very own Student Association Vice President Angie Pati and Director of the Bandier program Bill Werde, and most notably, Joey Bada$$ and Yara Shahidi, both established artists in their respective fields.

The panel was moderated by Dr. Don C. Sawyer, an alumni of Syracuse University and current Interim Associate Vice President for Academic Affairs and Chief Diversity Officer at Quinnipiac University. As the audience settled down, the panelists were introduced and then the first question was asked: How do you define social justice?

It’s a heavy-loaded question but the panelists were not afraid to dive right into it. Joey Bada$$ promptly responded with, “I say I’m still trying to define it. I feel like it’s definitely a topic that needs a little bit more elaboration.” Shahidi followed up with an idea from an activist she admires, DeRay Mckesson, that emphasized that social justice is a “fight for equity.” Bill Werde spoke about social justice having an “external and internal definition.” The concept of equity fits into its definition externally, however, internally, he mentions, social justice is about “challenging ourselves to understand our own internal biases and blind spots to be able to see that external equity.” Angie Pati concluded the question with a definition that stuck with her: “It’s what faces you when you wake up in the morning.”

The following questions certainly created openings for engaging discussions on the panelists’ relationships with social justice, such as personal experiences with racial prejudices and the struggles of pursuing social justice in the modern world. Despite being a stage for serious conversations, the panel occasionally became lighthearted through Dr. Sawyer’s easy-going way of handling the flow of the dialogue, periodically inserting a few comical points here and there.

Joey Bada$$, although relatively reticent at first, became very much engaged when asked about his music. The audience was able to hear about the creative process behind the creation of his most recent album ALL-AMERIKKKAN BADA$$ as he stated that he was inspired by the police brutality against black men circa 2015. He felt “extremely responsible on how I could bring about awareness, bring about change.” As the topic of the role of media came about, he was passionate in his belief that “the media is extremely responsible for a lot of the divides that we see today in our society,” which caused a brief conflict with fellow panelist, Bill Werde, on the definition of media but nonetheless a fruitful conversation.

Yara Shahidi spoke up about her new role as a director for Refinery29’s short film series (Shatterbox Anthology), referring to the experience as a “new creative space.” She found that it was fun to be able to bring her vision to life and described her film possessing the narrative of “what it means to operate on a space that you don’t own or have no semblance of control over.”

As the panel wrapped up and neared its end, the audience was given a chance to ask their own questions for the speakers. After hearing about the viewpoints of the panelists, the audience was curious as to take on social justice for themselves and for the future’s sake. Everyone was quick to give advice to the eager minds and gave plenty of it. To sum it up, the panelists can all agree that the pursuit of social justice can be done by educating the youth and taking on the initiative of challenging yourself and taking baby steps.

Later that night, Joey shutdown Goldstein Auditorium with his performance. He did classics like "Waves" and "Survival Tactics" off his 1999 project and closed with a hype performance of "Devastated".

 Joey Bada$$ performing at Syracuse University. Image by Liam Sheehan.

Joey Bada$$ performing at Syracuse University. Image by Liam Sheehan.

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By Tiffany Huang

 

 

 

 

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Weekly Playlist: Valentine's Day edition

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Weekly Playlist: Valentine's Day edition

Whether, you have a boo thang or you’re kicking it by yourself this holiday, this R&B themed playlist will be sure to get you in the mood. Shit, you might not even have to take your date out after blasting this.

“With You” // Chris Brown: A classic you and bae song, Chris Brown had everybody crying in the club with this track. Grab a glass of wine (if of age), light some candles, and be ready to be in your feels all night long.

“Thinkin Bout You” // Frank Ocean

“Drive By” // Eric Bellinger

“Into You” // Tamia ft. Fabolous: My personal favorite, “Into You” by Tamia and Fabolous is the epitome of a ‘90s love song. It reminds you of windows down driving with your special someone in all denim and platform sneakers, essential ‘90s wear. All you need is a stereo, chocolate, and your boo and I promise this song will make this one of the best V-Days ever.

“My Boo” // Usher ft. Alicia Keys: If your bae can’t scream the chorus to this song, they’re not the one for you. #Truth

“More Than Enough” // Rexx Life Raj

“Crazy Love” // Juke Ross

 

By Camryn Simon

 

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New Artist Alert: "MGMT, H.E.R. and Jaymes Young"

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New Artist Alert: "MGMT, H.E.R. and Jaymes Young"

Need new music for that study playlist or something else to bump besides Drake (we know, he always has good stuff). We've got you covered with new artists.

MGMT

MGMT is hardly new to the music industry, with people still jamming out to their debut album tracks such as “Electric Feel” or “Kids.” The band, however, made a reappearance with their first album in five years titled Little Dark Age. With its recent release on February 9th, the new album stays true to MGMT’s past musical tones and colors, sounds which loyal fans appreciate. The ten-track album plays with the diversity of synthesizer elements, occasionally adding in some classic acoustic instruments, and reminds listeners of ‘80s settings. MGMT has stated that they drew inspiration from America’s current state of political and social affairs, which has become a foundation for most of their lyrics for Little Dark Age. You can listen to their new songs below:

H.E.R.

H.E.R. (Having Everything Revealed) is most likely a familiar voice, having been featured on the popular track “Best Part” by Daniel Caesar. With a light but sensual voice that permeates throughout all of her solo tracks, she has already captivated fans at the young age of twenty. The R&B singer has released four extended plays, all of which highlight H.E.R.’s musicality in the genre. Tracks such as “Focus” and “Every Kind of Way” utilize chill beats and vocals similar to the likes of SZA or Kehlani. On the other hand, her lyrics focus on the emotional stages of falling in and out of love, which become emphasized through H.E.R.’s passionate singing. She brings a modern take on slow songs, making it fresh with her unique arrangements of music.

Jaymes Young

Hailing from Seattle, Jaymes Young emerged in the music industry as a versatile artist, dabbling in genres such as alternative rock and indie pop. His debut album Feel Something consolidates that versatility into twelve tracks, giving a spotlight to his talents as a singer-songwriter. With diverse tracks like the indie-rock “Two People” and garage-rock “Don’t You Know”, Young creates the common denominator of angsty lyrics that resonates with listeners’ heartfelt experiences with emotional connections and relationships. Not only is Young able to express the difficult mood of melancholy, he isn’t afraid to experiment with sounds that can alter the delivery of that emotion.

By Tiffany Huang

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This Week In Pop Culture: "Frank Ocean & Timothee Chalamet, Travis Scott and Women at the Grammys"

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This Week In Pop Culture: "Frank Ocean & Timothee Chalamet, Travis Scott and Women at the Grammys"

Missed out on all the news last week? We've got you covered.

Frank Ocean Interviews Timothee Chalamet

This past week on Tuesday, February 6, Timothee’ Chalamet was interviewed by one of his favorite artists, Frank Ocean. Needless to say, the internet freaked out. The interview was done for VMan Magazine and took place over the phone while Ocean was in New York, and Chalamet was in LA. Chalamet praises Ocean for his talents, while the two bonded over their love for Joaquin Phoenix. They discussed Chalamet’s recent success from his latest films; Call Me By Your Name, and Ladybird and how he is one of the most talked about names of this year. Chalamet could barely contain his excitement through the whole conversation and proceeded to tell Ocean, “I’m such a huge fan. This is going to be a real test to keep my voice level and keep this as normal of a conversation as possible.” Ocean referred to Call Me By Your Name as Chalamet's “opening song” and praised him for portraying such an important role in such a positive light. After a more serious conversation, they went back and forth about the best New York hot spots as well as superhero movies and Ellen appearances.

https://vman.com/article/timothee-chalamet-frank-ocean/

Travis Scott Receives Keys to Hometown

Travis Scott has been a popular name in the media these days due to the birth of his new baby girl; Stormi. Along with starting a new family with girlfriend Kylie Jenner, there is now news of Scott receiving the key to his hometown, Missouri City, Texas. Scott was given the key a few weeks after his daughter was born, by the mayor of the town. He accepted the honor with a short speech stating, “this is better than any award show I’ve ever been to.” Scott proceeded to tell the crowd, “My only job is just to inspire kids to be the best they can be, to reach their ultimate height. Everybody has a dream, and everybody can do it.” Scott felt great pride and truly showed how much he cares for and respects his hometown.

http://www.thefader.com/2018/02/11/travis-scott-key-to-his-hometown

Gender Discrimination at the Grammys

Women in the music industry have been demanding their rights this year, and this continued at the 2018 Grammys. Many women chose to send letters to the Recording Academy which produces the Grammys. The letters consisted of complaints regarding the fact that there is a minimal amount of female representation in the organization, as well as few female nominees. One of the issues stated in the letters was that Neil Portnow, Recording Academy president told Variety that women in the industry need to “step up” to gain more opportunities. The letter also requested that Portnow resign from his position. The second letter took a different route by calling out the Grammys for being “...out of touch with today’s music, the music business, and even more significantly, society”. This letter was signed by six females executives in the industry. The third letter was then signed by 38 male executives in the industry to show that they stand by the women who orchestrated the writing of these letters. The letter highlighted the fact that out of all the male nominees for album of the year, Lorde being the only female nominee, was also the only one not asked to perform. As a result of this critical stand against gender discrimination, Portnow has announced that there will be a new committee to handle any issues regarding gender bias at the Recording Academy, making this a massive step for the music industry as a whole.

By Rachel Simon

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Get To Know: "Yara Shahidi and Joey Bada$$"

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Get To Know: "Yara Shahidi and Joey Bada$$"

Cuse is excited to present the first ever "Cuse for Good: Social Justice." The three-part event will feature rising star, Yara Shahidi and rapper/activist, Joey Bada$$. The two will speak on a panel composed of Syracuse U. campus leaders, as well.

In preparation for the event, here are 5 five things you need to know about Yara and Joey:

Yara Shahidi

1. Michelle Obama wrote her letter of recommendation to Harvard. She'll be in the same graduating class as Malia Obama, so here's to hoping they'll be roommates.

2. She interviewed former Secretary of State and Presidential candidate, Hillary Clinton at the first ever Teen Vogue LA Summit. Check out the clip below (starts at 1:27).

3. Feel like you've seen Yara somewhere else on TV? Well you're right, since she played a young Olivia Pope on the hit show Scandal almost five years ago.

4. Her cousin is hip-hop legend, Nas. She was also the flower girl at his wedding to singer Kelis.

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5. Her parents are also invested in the arts. Her dad was Prince's photographer and her mom is a commercial actress.

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Joey Bada$$

1. Joey seems to have always been a fan of the Orangemen (peep the hat). Check out this 2013 video of him and the Pro Era crew being interviewed by Nardwuar at SXSW.

2. In addition to his tight flows on albums, Joey is also a crazy freestyler. Watch him destroy the "Mask Off" beat on this LA Leakers clip.

3. In December, Joey went on Twitter and said he wrote the hit "Rockstar" by Post Malone. He also cites T-Pain as a co-writer.

4. He recorded "B4.DA.$$ (Before The Money)" in the same studio that Nas recorded Illmatic.

5. He's also expanding his resume by acting in the hit TV show, Mr. Robot. Check out his screen time below.

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This Week in Pop Culture: "Kylie's Baby, Super Bowl Halftime Show and Missing Bachelors Contestant"

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This Week in Pop Culture: "Kylie's Baby, Super Bowl Halftime Show and Missing Bachelors Contestant"

It's been one wild week. Here's what you need to know:

KYLIE JENNER’S NEW BABY GIRL

As everyone knows the Super Bowl took place on Sunday night, but that wasn’t the only news. People cannot stop talking about how Kylie Jenner and Travis Scott finally told the world about the birth of their baby girl. The baby was born on February 1, and after remaining quiet on social media for many months, she finally made her announcement on Instagram and Twitter as she explained to the public why she chose to carry out the pregnancy in private. Along with a personal message, Kylie also shared a video documenting the journey of her pregnancy with special words from family and friends. Although the news was dropped somewhat suddenly, I know we’re all waiting eagerly to see what mark this new Kardashian will make.

JUSTIN TIMBERLAKE’S HALFTIME TRIBUTE TO PRINCE

Every year, the Super Bowl Halftime show is a long awaited event and with it comes a lot of opinions and judgement. Timberlake chose to honor Prince’s memory during his performance and it seems to be receiving some negative attention. Specifically, the controversy regarding Timberlake’s use of a Prince hologram. Prince fans have not forgotten the spat between Timberlake and Prince that occurred several years ago. But, despite the so called “spat”, Timberlake wowed the crowd with his perfect dance moves and winning voice. He honored Prince in the best way possible by singing "I Would Die 4 U," with a projection of Prince performing behind him. Along with the tribute, Timberlake didn’t forget to indulge us with some of his old and new hits like “SexyBack”, “Cry Me a River”, “Suit and Tie”, “Mirrors” and finished the show with an upbeat performance of “Can’t Stop the Feeling”.

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BACHELOR CONTESTANT GOES MISSING

Rebekah Martinez is a contestant on this year’s season of The Bachelor. While she may have been hitting it off with Bachelor Arie Luyendyk, Martinez was also getting a lot of hits when she was recognized in the missing persons section in The North Post Journal newspaper. A woman named Amy Bonner O’brien, brought attention to this and reported seeing Martinez on the Bachelor. She was reported missing by her mother, a month before her season premiered. Because she could not be reached while on the show, she was not taken off the missing persons list. Eventually, she was able to return the call and was then taken off the list. Martinez has managed to make a joke out of the incident and is continuing her time on The Bachelor as one of the youngest, most talked about contestants.

By Rachel Simon

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THIS WEEK IN POP CULTURE: "THE BEST F***CKING SHOW, FLEETWOOD MAC AND THE GRAMMYS"

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THIS WEEK IN POP CULTURE: "THE BEST F***CKING SHOW, FLEETWOOD MAC AND THE GRAMMYS"

Missed out what happened last week? UU's got you covered on the news.

The Best F***ing Show on Netflix

In the past year, shows with a dark twist have become the new obsession. Hits like Riverdale and Stranger Things have made names for themselves in the Netflix world, and now it’s time for a new one. The End of the F***ing World is a British adaptation of an American graphic novel by Charles Forman. With eight binge watchable episodes around 20 minutes long this series is the perfect storm. With intense and sometimes shocking dialogue, this show is grabbing our attention and focusing on some pretty insane topics. The story revolves around a 17 year old psychopath and the girl that he wants to kill. The two skip town together to escape their everyday lives and find themselves in trouble with the law. While this show is unique to other teen dramas we might be used to, we are still given a glimpse of first love, childhood, and the struggle of letting people in. The relationship between these two kids is the start of a wild ride, and everyone is getting on board.

Artists Honor Fleetwood Mac at the Musicares Gala

This past weekend, Fleetwood Mac accepted the MusiCares Person(s) of the Year Award. Fleetwood Mac has been one of music’s most influential bands and has made an impact on many artists we know and love today. During the MusiCares Gala, young musicians like Haim, Miley Cyrus, Harry Styles, and Lorde all paid tribute to the iconic band. This was the first year that MusiCares decided to honor a whole band as opposed to previous years where they only honored solo artists. The band’s acceptance speech as well as their performances was emotional and magical. The night truly reminded everyone how Fleetwood Mac will continue to live on for a long, long time.

The Grammys

The 2018 Grammys aired on Sunday, Jan. 28 and like most award shows, there are always some memorable moments. To start, Kendrick Lamar opened the show with a commentary on racial issues in the US, with guest appearances from Dave Chappelle and U2. He continued his moving message with a performance of his hit songs; DNA and XXX. Towards the end of the set Dave Chappelle told the audience, "I just wanted to remind the audience that the only thing more frightening than watching a black man be honest in America is being an honest black man in America. Sorry for the interruption."

Another Grammy moment everyone is talking about is Janelle Monae’s speech. Monae made a short speech regarding the Times Up Movement announcing, "Tonight, I am proud to stand in solidarity as not just an artist but a young woman with my fellow sisters in this room who make up the music industry," The speech led to a powerful performance of Praying by Kesha.

https://static01.nyt.com/video/players/offsite/index.html?videoId=100000005706276

One of the more controversial issues of the night was Ed Sheeran’s win for Best Solo Performance for his song Shape of You. This win was followed by many boos from the crowd after being announced. People thought artists like Lady Gaga, Kesha, Kelly Clarkson or Pink were more deserving. Ed Sheeran was not able to make it to the Grammys and fortunately avoided hearing the boos in person.

A powerful tribute was performed to honor the 59 lives lost in the Las Vegas shooting. Maren Morris, Eric Church and the Brothers Osborne made an emotional performance of Tears In Heaven by Eric Clapton. This was a heartfelt way for country music artists to show their support considering the tragedy occurred at a Jason Aldean concert. Eric Church said,"All of country music was reminded in the most tragic way of the connection we share with our fans and the healing power music will always provide.”

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Bruno Mars took home the Grammy for Album of the Year with his hit, 24K Magic. Mars was nominated along with Childish Gambino, JAY-Z, Kendrick Lamar and Lorde. This was the first time in 19 years where a white man was not nominated in the category. When Mars was announced as the winner, there were some mixed reactions among viewers. Some were confused as to why Mars hadn’t previously won Album of the Year for some of his more deserving projects. Even though Mars is a person of color, some fans feel as though rappers such as Kendrick Lamar, have been denied the acknowledgment and recognition they truly deserve.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=TdcS2LMQ5Ck

By Rachel Simon

 

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New Artist Alert: "Lil Xan, Hayley Kiyoko and EDEN"

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New Artist Alert: "Lil Xan, Hayley Kiyoko and EDEN"

Here at UU, we pride ourselves on our love of music and looking for the best new talent. Each week we'll post about some new artists, which we think should make your playlists. And if you feel like we've missed anyone, drop a comment below or tweet us @universityunion!

Lil Xan aka Diego

Out of all the artists that include “Lil” in their names, Diego Leanos, also known as Lil Xan, is one that recently emerged as a fresh face in the industry at the young age of twenty-one. Although Lil Xan recently announced a desire to change his stage name to “Diego”, the Mexican-American rapper took on his current stage name as a way to advocate against the usage of the drug and drugs altogether, having been previously addicted to Xanax in his past. After dropping out of high school freshman year, Lil Xan pursued his passion for rapping through online mediums such as Soundcloud and Youtube before releasing his breakout single “Betrayed” in 2017, which in contrast to many other rap songs, speaks out against drug abuse. Its calm instrumental serves as the perfectly-tailored background for the solemnity of its addictive chorus. After signing with Columbia Records, Lil Xan is expected to release his debut album in March titled Total Xanarchy.

Haley Kiyoko

You might know her as Velma from the Scooby-Doo film franchise or the rebellious teen from Lemonade Mouth, but Hayley Kiyoko is no stranger to the music scene. Kiyoko released her upbeat debut EP, A Belle to Remember, in 2013 and illustrated her talents for a category of pop music that utilizes a unique collaboration of various synthesized sounds reminiscent of music from the ‘80s. Her following EP, This Side of Paradise, gained her further recognition as a singer/songwriter due to the single “Girls Like Girls” which became popular due to its music video for its LGBT message. Taking on a psychedelic and ethereal color to her songs, Kiyoko proves to be an artist to take notice of.

EDEN

Fresh from the release of his debut album vertigo, EDEN once more captivates his listeners with an alluring yet rough voice. His previous EPs such as End Credits and I think you think too much of me, has shown his musicality in prose-like lyrics that describes his life experiences. The twenty-one-years old Dublin artist is fearless when it comes to experimenting with various types of sounds, ranging from an acoustic guitar to synthesized beats. In his most recent release of his debut album vertigo, EDEN stays true to this distinctive tone, one that he crafted to make his own, as he sings honestly and candidly.

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