JOVM pays tribute to G.U.R.U. on what would have been his 59th birthday.
HHBTM Records · Wesdaruler – Fuck Trump America
Wesdaruler is an emerging Athens, GA-based producer, beatmaker and emcee. His latest single “FUCK TRUMP AMERICA” finds the Athens-based artist teaming up with Linqua Franqa, Dope KNife, and Louie Larceny on a fiery, anti-Trump anthem: each emcee spits defiant and boldly pro-Black verses that tell Trump and his supporters to go fuck themselves over a minimalist production around a swinging double bass line and boom bap beats. Every day I feel this way — and you should too: Fuck Donald Trump! Fuck Trump America!
“We didn’t push for any big exclusives or anything like that,” the Athens-based artist explains. “This track just needs to be shared and posted. The message is loud and clear in the lyrics, no statements need, the track is the statement.”
Last week Public Enemy — Chuck D., Flava Flav and DJ Lord — released a fiery DJ Premier-produced anti-Trump banger, “State of the Union (STFU),” a track that simultaneously continues the act’s long-held reputation for hard-hitting politically charged work, and their legendary frontman’s reputation for addressing and challenging Trump’s policies and rhetoric.
Last night, the legendary hip-hop act helped kick off the 20th Annual BET Awards with an updated rendition of their seminal anthem “Fight The Power,” that features guest verses from a who’s who list of dope emcees that includes Nas, Rapsody, Black Thought, YG and JAHI. 30+ years have passed since its original release and the members of Public Enemy are middle aged but the song is still relevant, necessary and power — and will be until there’s equity and equality for all.
The video which features each of the performers in various locations is intercut with protest footage. The clothing may have changed a little bit but the protests and the sentiment is still the same: BLACK LIVES MATTER!
Public Enemy’s legendary frontman Chuck D. has addressed Trump’s policies and rhetoric over the past several years with through his work as a solo artist and with Prophets of Rage. Recently Chuck D. reunited with Flava Flav on the DJ Premier-produced single “State of the Union (STFU).”
Sonically, the track is dope, golden era hip-hop: DJ Premier’s soulful yet tweeter and woofer rocking production paired with Chuck D and Flav spitting righteous (and necessary) fire. And unsurprisingly, the track is an unflinching statement on the destruction and divisiveness the current administration has unleashed on the country, its people and the rest of the world. Continuing the act’s long-held reputation for speaking truth to power, “State of the Union (STFU)” urges the listener to fight against racism, injustice and oppression with their voices — and most importantly their vote. (If you’re not registered to vote, your informed vote is needed to get rid of this administration. Please register and then vote like your life depends on it — because it does.)
“Our collective voices keep getting louder. The rest of the planet is on our side. But it’s not enough to talk about change. You have to show up and demand change,” says Chuck D. “Folks gotta vote like their lives depend on it, ‘cause it does.” “Public Enemy tells it like it is,” added Flavor Flav. “It’s time for him to GO.”
Shot in a gorgeously cinematic black and white, the recently released, David C. Snyder-directed video was, according to Public Enemy was shot “in secret, in the dead of the night.” It’s split between footage of the members of Public Enemy — Chuck D., Flavor Flav and DJ Lord — in an abandoned factory space, and on the streets; DJ Premier doing this thing; and of course recent imagery of riots and unrest and division.
JOVM shows love to Tupac Shakur on what would have been his 49th birthday — a day late but still . . .
Yudimah is a Bordeaux, France-born and-based emcee, singer, beatmaker, pianist and engineer. Influenced by Kanye West, Ryan Leslie, Masego, Anderson .Paak and others, the French artist taught himself English inn order to reach the widest possible audience for his uplifting and conscious lyrics.
The French emcee, singer, beatmaker, pianist and engineer’s latest effort Light Soul EP was released a few days ago. The EP’s latest single, the self-produced “Catchin’ The Vibe” is an upbeat track centered a slick and self-assured production featuring skittering, twitter and woofer beats, thumping 808s and an infectious hook reminiscent of Kendrick Lamar’s “Alright.” And at its core is a positive message that encourages the listener to live in the current moment, despite a society (and world) full of distraction and bullshit.
With yet another senseless, televised police murder of a black person, I’ve felt angry and exhausted, demoralized and depressed. When will this nightmare end of unnecessary death end? When will we be free of this?
It just felt necessary to post one of my favorite Mos Def songs, off an album I turn to whenever racism and injustice seems to hurt me to my very core — “Umi Says,” off Black on Both Sides.
Simply put, I want all my black people to be free. Black lives matter. All the time. Every single day.
Over the past few months, I’ve spilled a quite a bit of virtual ink writing about this site’s latest mainstay, Eivind Øygarden, an acclaimed Telemark, Norway-born, Oslo-Norway-based emcee, best known as Ivan Ave. The acclaimed, Norwegian emcee’s third album Double Goodbyes was released earlier this year through Playground Music/Mutual Intentions.
Deriving its title from a Seinfeld references, Double Goodbyes finds the acclaimed emcee leaving the sample-heavy behind sound of his previously released work and moving towards a broader — and at times more soul influenced — sonic palette. The album also marks the first time that Øygarden took up production duties, producing the majority of the album’s material himself.
Recorded last year in Los Angeles and Oslo, and featuring guest spots from Sasac, Bryon The Aquarius, Joyce Wrice, and others, the album was recorded during a period of personal struggle for the JOVM mainstay, where the work became both the focus and the therapy. “I needed to start from scratch in my life and rebuild it step by step, the music was part of the healing process.” Interestingly, some of the aesthetics of the Home Shopping Network and late ’80s and early ’90s new age influence some of the album’s material. ‘“It’s easy to mock, due to some of its pompous cheesiness,” Ivan Ave says in press notes. “But as I’m getting older, experiencing life’s ups and downs, the essence of it feels genuine.” (It shouldn’t be surprising that A Tribe Called Quest’s and The Midnight Hour’s Ali Shaheed Muhammad once described the acclaimed Norwegian emcee’s work as “deeply therapeutic” on his podcast.)
“Double Goodbyes is a product of just making music that moved me, in a phase of my life where I was building from scratch emotionally,” the acclaimed Norwegian emcee explains in press notes. “I found healing in producing and singing these songs, without necessarily putting my usual rappety-rap hat on. But as the album title suggests, a lot of times we find ourselves bumping into the exact things, people and habits that we thought we had left behind. So my hip-hop roots shine through once again, in this weird blend of RnB, AOR and synth sounds. Sasac was my main co-creator on the record, along with some dope music friends such as Kiefer, Mndsgn, Byron The Aquarius, Devin Morrison and more.”
I’ve written about a handful of the album’s singles, including “Triple Double Love,” “Phone Won’t Charge” and “Guest List Etiquette.” And while sonically, the material is a silky smooth and slick synthesis of 80s and 90s synth-led R&B J. Dilla-era hip-hop, the songs themselves reveal a wizened self-awareness that comes from hard-fought personal experience, through narrators, who have come to recognize that they’ve been unintentionally and unwittingly repeating patterns that have made them miserable — and/or unfulfilled. But it ain’t all serious. There’s a playful self-deprecating humor throughout, especially on “Guest List Etiquette.” a track that focuses on a common dilemma for artists across the globe: everyone hitting them up to get on the guest list for their show.
The album’s fourth and latest single the Thundercat-like “Hope/Nope” is a dreamy song centered around a sinuous bass line, shimmering guitars and atmospheric synths and an infectious hook. But unlike the album’s previously released material, the song finds its narrator vacillating between hope and despair. Can one hold onto hope when things seem so bleak, uncertain and dystopian? Shit, sometimes it’s just so fucking hard to be human.
“This is the daydreamer’s anthem on the record, part escapism, part war cry. The rap verse came out sweet but dystopian,” Ivan Ave explains in press notes. “Sasac saves the day on the last verse, with a medieval guitar solo that makes me hopeful again. Hope seems to be the most important overarching theme of the album when I listen back to it. I’ve learned to respect cognitive dissonance as a weapon, a survival instinct maybe, in Darwinian terms. Double edged sword though.”
Directed by Mats Christian Rude Halvorsen, the recently released video for “Hope/Nope” is a contemplative and eerie fever dream — centered around a dream-like logic while evoking the eerie sensation of someone, who’s been in isolation for some extended period of time, walking out into the world. “The video for Hope/Nope came about right after the initial phase of self isolation here in Oslo,” Øygarden explains in press notes. “Mats, Thomas and I really wanted to get out of the house and create something, but we of course had to wait until restrictions were softened up enough. I think we brought that energy into the execution of Mats’ ideas. I think the song is a good fit with that energy. That restlessness combined with a dreamy slumber.”
Tennin · The What – The Notorious B.IG, Method Man [Tennin Remix]
With the release of a handful of singles that received attention from InRocksLab, Radio Nova, Earmilk and Afropunk, the rising Paris-based alternative pop artist Tennin quickly exploded into the international pop scene in 2015. The Paris-based artist ended a momentum building year by performing at La Cigale, as part of a showcase featuring rising female Parisian artists.
The following year, Tennin built upon her growing profile through tours across France, Germany and the UK. Adding to a relatively young career of big career highlights, the French pop artist’s single “Heal You,” catches the attention of acclaimed, trip hop pioneer Tricky, who signed her to !K7 Records. She then contributes a track to the Test of Time compilation, which featured tracks from Saul Williams, IDLES and others.
Additionally, last year saw her becoming a finalist of the Afropunk springboard but she also opened for the likes of Dope Saint Jude and Muthoni Drummer Queen at Les Cuizines — and she played the final show at Les Etoiles. She ended the year with a live interview and session for Radio Campus Brussels.
Earlier this year, the rising French pop artist signed to renowned Parisian electronic label Kitsune Music, who released her first single of this year “Guys in Tears.” Interestingly, Tennin posted a cover/remix of The Notorious B.I.G.‘s “The What,” feat. Method Man on Instagram that received such positive reactions that she decided to record and release a full-version. While retaining the original’s memorable beat, the addition of Tennin’s vocals adds sultry, Aaliyah-like air to the proceedings. Naturally, while being a shoutout to Golden Era, East Coast hip-hop, the song is also a vital reminder that hip-hop is the lingua franca of kids across the globe.