SZA Weaves Dreams on ‘Z’

sza

Words by Chelsea Whitaker

I have been following SZA since she first appeared on my Soundcloud feed, and I have been hopefully watching her career from the first TDE cosign to her performance with Kendrick Lamar at the Grammys. She is the type of artist who is unique enough to root for, and down to earth enough to relate to. Her debut album, Z, has been anticipated as both a continuation and expansion of her trademark sound. And without fail, SZA’s done just that with the mixture of her soulful vocals and eclectic selection of guest emcees; Z is a genre bending journey that excels at transporting my mind to a dreamy and emotional space at any given moment.

The project is filled with buoyant and lilting soundscapes, with much praise due to the creative, diverse, and layered production. Features from her TDE family abound, with Isaiah Rashad and Kendrick Lamar making appearances. One of the best pairings is with Chance the Rapper for “Childs Play”, where SZA sings “Ripping the heads off of my barbie dolls, toss em to the side” over an XXYYXX sample. We all know that feeling, and Chance punctuates her poetic lyrics with allusions to Pusha T: “Keys open doors when the keys are albino”. Their combined effect is a song that feels like a faded Polaroid of a relationship.

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Danny Brown and Bodega Bamz Bring Detroit and Spanish Harlem to LES

Danny Brown

By Chelsea Whitaker

Danny Brown made an impact on the rap world with his album Old, released late last year. The innovative, grime influenced beats mixed with a lyricism and an attitude true to his Detroit roots struck a chord with both hipsters and hip hop heads.

Bodega Bamz has similar blend of creative production and locally influenced lyrics, but instead of Detroit, Bamz showcases Spanish Harlem to the world. He found his own niche among fans of New York hip hop ever since his 2012 mixtape Strictly 4 My Papis blended trap with Latino culture. Cosigns from A$AP Mob and Peter Rosenberg helped cement him as part of the new New York.

Both Danny and Bamz have created their own branded cliques – Bruiser Brigade for Danny, and Tan Boys for Bamz. These reference specific lifestyles while allowing fans worldwide to connect to each artist on a deeper level. Both Brusiers and Tan Boys were in the building for the Bowery Ballroom show in NYC, creating a blend of cultures that is totally NYC. Zeelopers opened the show by spitting nerd-rap verses over trap beats. The crowd responded graciously to his nostalgic references and constant energy.

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Amanda Seales and Kris Bowers Discuss Upcoming ‘Mo’ Betta Wu’ @ LPR, NYC – April 10

Words by Korby Benoit

In 1994, the Wu-Tang Clan emerged as a collective of nine gifted emcees from Staten Island, NY. Their musical contribution has been unparalleled and this year marks the 20th anniversary of their seminal release, Enter The 36 Chambers. Undoubtedly the Wu-Tang style, slang and sound has left a permanent impression on hip-hop fans across the globe.

Amanda Seales is an artist known for her various work as a television host, visual artist, DJ and vocalist.  She is also someone with an appreciation for Wu-Tang’s cultural impact. This week, Seales will perform a show entitled Mo’ Betta Wu at (Le) Poisson Rouge in New York City. Together with pianist Kris Bowers and additional band members, she’ll be performing an assortment of jazz standards over reworked and reinterpreted Wu-Tang classics.

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