Surf Review

Donnie Trumpet and the Social Experiment’s Surf is the quintessential summer album- a feel good romp through island vibes spearheaded by frontman Chance the Rapper.

Donnie Trumpet and the Social Experiment is a band highlighted by Chance on vocals as well as Donnie Trumpet. Unfairly thought of by many as mostly a Chance the Rapper side project, Trumpet does his far share of contribution despite his lead singer drawing most of the attention. His use of the well, trumpet, is something that seems to compliment Chance’s high-energy style of vocalization better than any other sound. Surf is at its best when both of these artists play off each other’s strengths, creating great harmony in the process.


The album is split into two kinds of tracks- those that Chance the Rapper appear on and those in which Donnie Trumpet takes center stage, usually being jazz instrumentals.

The most memorable moments of the LP are by far the ones that feature heavy emphasis on Chance. His trademark infectious energy is put on full display here, making tracks not only superb-sounding but fun to listen to as well. These’s just a great aura of positivity surrounding most of these songs and you’ll want to throw wild rooftop parties just to hear them in the setting they seemed to be made for. A lot of that feeling is due to the high level of emotion Chance uses at every corner. Anytime he’s given the chance (no pun intended) to have his voice heard, he uses that time to form a strangely strong connection with the listener, selling himself as an artist who has a genuine want to create meaningful music. Highlights of these Chance-centric songs include “Slip Slide”, “Wanna Be Cool”, and “Familiar”. The subject matter on each is also ripe with cheeriness, with a central focus on various forms of social acceptance. These tracks and others include heavy use of guest rappers, but they’re all welcomed additions and pick up on the light tones of the album. Artists like Big Sean, Busta Rhymes, and KYLE seem to truly be having a great time while recording their verses, further pushing the listener to buy into the good vibes.


To counter the insane amount of excitement most of the “Chance tracks” bring, Donnie Trumpet’s solo-focused songs take a step back and provide a moment of calming relaxation. But while Trumpet is a technically good player, the melodies his trumpet shoot out aren’t captivating enough to warrant a second listen. After a few of these songs its obvious as to why Chance gets most of the credit in the group, but Donnie still provides a sonically great backdrop for every song.

Surf manages to entertain in almost every area you’d want an album to and has a distinct charm to it you’d be hard-pressed to find elsewhere. But while some tracks shine, others falter a bit in comparison. Nonetheless, the songs that shine do so in an incredibly bright manner, raising the LP to a highly memorable state in the process. It’s meant to be played on beaches, vacations and parties so do yourself a favor this summer and give it a few spins.



At. Long. Last. A$ap. Review

After a two-year break that seems like a decade ago, A$ap Rocky returns with his sophomore project At. Long. Last. A$ap.– a record that sounds great sonically, but suffers lyrically.

Starting out with the good, At. Long. Last. A$ap is a diverse collection of songs that shows Rocky’s versatility. The chopped and screwed, slowed sound that the rapper become famous for is here, and Rocky is definitely most at home on them. The production across the board is top notch, and even the more traditional trap-style tracks sound fresh. My favorite of these has to be “Electric Body” featuring Schoolboy Q. While the verses are about what you’d expect and don’t offer much, they do their job. The chorus, however, is fantastically catchy. It alludes heavily to 90’s house party music and hits such as Bell Biv Devoe’s classic “Poison”. The Kanye West-produced track “Jukebox Joints” also stands out for it’s soul-sampling, but suffers from an extremely phoned in verse form Ye. While the beats shine, Rocky himself doesn’t exactly deliver. His flows are on point, but he constantly shifts from uninspired laziness to focused aggression. This inconsistency is highlighted via his bravado that, while valuable in short doses, oversaturates his delivery. Just when you think he’s about to kill his next verse, he throws you for a loop and makes you wonder why the few exceptional verses can’t be more reoccurring.


Rocky’s signature cockiness that once made him stand out from the crowd now seems played out. When his career was first getting off the ground, the confidence and charisma he displayed was welcomed, especially coming from a New York-based rapper. Most of this was the result of rap fans just wanting more representation from NY- a town that was once the mecca for hip hop royalty. New Yorkers were ready to anoint a fresh new face to pit against the likes of LA’s Kendrick Lamar and North Carolina’s J. Cole. While Rocky never really delivered on that hope, he at least did a good enough job at carrying New York swagger. On his newest record, though, this charm is rarely seen; instead replaced with boring and meaningless brags about traveling to France or designer clothes. It’s understood that Rocky has always been associated with the finer fashionable things in life, but the consistently flat subject matter on this LP makes him even more unrelatable. There are only so many times you can rely on pure swag to sell records, and the lack of innovation really hurts his music. This guy is supposed to be one of NY’s best? These verses are what the greatest streets in the world have produced? This type of view is one of the reasons New York rap hasn’t been taken very seriously in recent years by hip-hop heads, and when you go from Nas and Jay Z to French Montana you begin to agree with them.

To be clear, this is a not a huge shot at Rocky, but New York rap in general. Its mostly dead state is the reason why these criticisms come about. Music fans are just so hungry for the next great NY rapper, they hold each attempt to a higher standard. I’m one of those people, but if I lowed my expectations for this latest project and not seen Rocky’s potential;, I would have thought its a pretty good follow up to Long. Live. A$ap. It’s got bangers, it features several great flows by Rocky, a couple notable features, and shows off some pretty exceptional beats that he isn’t particularly known for. But alas the depth just isn’t there. Especially considering the projects his peers have put out since his debut. Making the switch from To Pimp a Butterfly to this newest record, for example, reveals just how far behind it sounds. People want realness and emotion mixed in with their ignorant-type singles, and unfortunately A$ap only offers the latter.


To Pimp a Butterfly Review

Since Kendrick Lamar’s Compton-based come-up, he’s been seen as one of hip-hop’s brightest young MC’s- mixing a street smart grit with a level of self awareness and introspective lyricism. With his latest release, To Pimp a Butterfly, he’s secured his spot in the history books with an album that pushes the limits of the genre.

The record tells the tale of a now-successful Kendrick following the struggle he faced in his last album good kid m.A.A.d city. This older more experienced artist is dealing with his fame, struggling with his roots as a kid from the streets, and feeling the pressure that comes with being such a recognizable figure. Despite his success, he feels detached from his roots and seeks a balance of acceptance when it comes to his life. Even though the focus of this project is arguably less street-oriented, the sound is much rawer than its predecessor. This is due to the fantastic production that makes each track come alive. Lamar opted to rely heavily on live instruments this time around, giving the album an authentic jazzy tone that holds throughout. It’s tight, precise, and just self-aware enough that it can get away with using funk-like grooves while dealing with social issues. The sound feels like no other hip-hop record of recent memory and hopefully will spark a new trend within the genre. One of the highlights of this freshly funky sound is definitely the radio-friendly King Kunta, as Lamar looks to quiet the critics and reestablish his rap dominance.


The before-mentioned production is the perfect outlet to show off the heavy portions of the album- most notably those dealing with depression, regret, and racial issues. Kendrick uses it as a stepping-stone to show an angsty, depressed side. One that is so unflattering, almost all rappers steer clear of anything close to it. Despite this, Lamar pulls it off and just adds to the realness of the record. This is a man that’s frustrated with both himself and his people and wants you to know it. One of the best examples of this comes in the track u– as Lamar screeches his way through his displeasures about himself and the route society is seemingly headed.

But perhaps the real genius of this record is the presentation. The album is a concept from start to finish: showing a clear beginning to Kendrick’s thoughtful madness as well as a gripping ending. One aspect of this storyline involves Kendrick, who is now a superstar, traveling to his hometown of Compton and performing his radio hit i. However, the crowd starts booing the young MC and forces him to stop and talk to them from his heart. This was an outstanding way to look at radio singles and the often insincere, corporate-influenced ways they are created. When i first came out, I was weary of it and thought Kendrick was heading in the wrong poppy direction. But it turns out this was intentional and all I had to do was wait a few months to see Kendrick’s genius vision take form in the context of the album. The album climaxes on possibly the dopest ending of any rap album- an interview between Kendrick and Tupac fuckin’ Shakur. Turns out every track was actually a poem Kendrick was explaining to Tupac about his struggles, wondering if the deceased rapper can relate and offer guidance. But just when Shakur is about to give his final take on the matter he disappears, letting Kendrick come up with the solution himself. I’ve never come across such a thought provoking ending to an album and it gave me chills thinking of the time and effort it must have took to fit that conceptual message into such a brilliant musical piece. Instant classic.



What For? Review

Toro y Moi’s What For? attempts to fuse chillwave with psychedelic rock but misses the mark, often feeling like a Coachella-inspired parody in the process. Toro y Moi is best known for his relaxing sound mixed with indie production, but on this latest record the rock influences are clearly visible. The precise guitars and drums on most tracks are accompanied with a funk-infused sound- like a mixture of a garage and jazz band. However while the production is the best thing about this album, it feels so constrained, almost as if Toro was keeping tabs on how “chill” his music needed to be. I was waiting for that triumphant moment when the chains would be lifted off the instrumentals but that never happened. Instead, I was treated to more of his docile and unassertive vocal stylings.

To say Toro y Moi’s singing on most of the tracks kills their potential is an understatement. Take “Lilly” for instance which starts out with a funky 70’s style beat, but once Toro starts his singing it becomes a watered-down track not even the cast of That ‘70’s Show would vibe to. Even when the singing makes sense in the context of a song, the instrumental is usually so much more notable that it completely outshines him. This overpowering of the vocals is something that could sound favorably immersive if done right, but unfortunately that isn’t the case here. If you’re looking for something to put on while doing homework give it a spin but if not then pass.

Rating: 4/10

Dark Sky Paradise Review

Throughout Big Sean’s music career, he’s never been looked at in the same light as his contemporaries like Drake or Kendrick Lamar. Instead, the Detroit product has found himself in the “middle-tier” group of rappers who’ve attainted commercial success, but haven’t hit a cord critically. In his latest effort Dark Sky Paradise, Sean sets out to prove he belongs with the best but ultimately falls short yet again.

Let’s get this out of the way first: the production on Dark Sky Paradise is the best part of the LP. Kanye West executed-produced this latest offering and it shows. His, as well as others like DJ Mustard and Key Wayne’s touch on these tracks make them what they are- carrying Big Sean along with them. The name of the game here is upbeat bangers, with a hard-hitting yet club friendly vibe that is meant to be felt throughout. Standouts include the primarily West-produced “All Your Fault” which he also features on.

This brings up the next point: the features on this album outshine Sean almost every time they appear. E-40, Lil Wayne, and the before-mentioned West all overshadow Sean, who tries his best to draw attention towards himself. But while Sean’s flow is superb and one of the best in the rap game, his lyrics leave much to be desired. There just isn’t much substance in what he’s saying, making the album feel like a compilation of singles rather than a cohesive listening experience.

Rating 6/10

Why You May Need to Switch to Tidal and What it Means for the Music Indus

Jay-Z’s newly acquired (for a cool $56 million) music streaming service Tidal is beginning to gain steam- with a worldwide launch expected today. But what does it mean for the future of the music industry?

Tidal is offering consumers a better sound experience when listening to music. This “high fidelity” sound is supposedly a much better experience quality-wise then its direct competition Spotify. But the major drawback for most is the price. With better sound comes a lighter wallet- $20 a month to be exact. That’s a huge increase when compared to Spotify’s $10 a month ($5 for students).  While there is a $10 option that emulates Spotify to a tee, it seem pointless to switch. Not to mention the added data usage that “hi-fi” sound will eat up.

So assuming you don’t really care for sound difference and are happy with Spotify, why bother considering a switch? The artists that could be available.

Jay-Z is just as good as a business man as he is a rapper (“I’m not business man I’m a business, man”) and he knows people may be reluctant to migrate. That’s why he’s assembled a star-studded array of artists to support the service including Beyonce, Kanye West, Nicki Minaj Jack White, Daft Punk and Madonna. You may be asking yourself what the big deal is, since those artists are already available on Spotify. The answer is you’re correct- for now.


Artists are currently upset over their pay when it comes to Spotify. They feel like they aren’t getting their fair share. Artists like Taylor Swift have long been against the service, even going as far as to take her entire catalog off of it. And that is exactly what many artists may do. If huge artists become exclusively available on Tidal, people may be more persuaded into making the switch. They may even go so far as to release new albums that can only be streamed on the service, which could be a major draw for fans of these artists.

Hov might be making these moves quickly, since Apple have reportedly been developing their own streaming service for years. Apple is widely regarded as the leader for music distribution (iTunes) and when their service drops, people will certainly take notice.

As of right now I think the better sound price-point is a bit ridiculous, and I’ve been a satisfied Spotify Premium costumer for a few years. Spotify made all my music readily available for a very reasonable price. But of course I knew it was too good to be true and wouldn’t last forever. Now I’m not too familiar with the contract situations of these artists regarding their record labels, but it seems like the power is in the artists’ hands at the moment. Whether this theory becomes a reality remains to be seen (since the service is just in its infancy) but if it does happen, the music industry will be forced to adjust.

All Day Review

Yeezy Season has officially arrived, with Kanye West dropping “All Day” (featuring Paul McCartney, Allan Kingdom, Theophilus London)- the latest single from his upcoming album So Help Me God. “All Day” is dramatically different from his previous two singles (“Only One” and “FourFive Seconds”) and my God does it go hard.

Ever since he performed the song at the Brit Awards last week, the hype for this track has been felt throughout the Internet. West somehow finds a way to defy expectations, bringing just as much energy and passion to the studio version as the live one.


“All Day” has West going back to his rapping roots- as he effortlessly flows over an unconventional beat that mixes traditional rap with UK’s grime scene and classic rock. It’s a strange mixture on paper but works well, especially when considering that the guitar riff which is featured throughout is the most piercingly beautiful use of a guitar the radio has seen for a long time. That specific riff was highlighted in an even better light when it was discovered that Paul McCartney actually created that melody decades ago. It was a Beatles throwaway, making this the first hip hop song to officially feature a sample from the legendary band. Check out the original tune here:

Using that melody, West recruited Allan Kingston and Theophilus London to add haunting, Reggae-esque vocals. Their performances are short but sweet, and actually sound like samples on their own. West could have easily sampled these parts but his decision to have the two young talents record their own stylings adds to the authenticity of the single. This move shows Kanye’s embrace of the UK grime scene and just underground hip hop in general. These two up-and-comers aren’t particularly well known but soon will be after this track. West seems to understand the modern Soundcloud/Tumblr generation and his appeal in the Internet age won’t be going away anytime soon.

The single sounds brash, yet genuine. In your face, yet reserved. The multiple dimensions and transitions that are featured within the approximate 5-minute run time are both impressive and fresh. Anyone that listened to West’s last album Yeezus will instantly find the tone recognizable. Yet, there is a certain pop element/hip hop edge that was missing from that album which “All Day” nails. The Yeezus comparisons come to an all-time high as the track’s outro features McCartney singing through various distortions over a cluster of high energized electronic sound.

“All Day” marks West’s triumphant return to rap, innovating the whole game at the same time. This will surely be an instant hit and will be added to the list of classic Kanye singles. Plus he managed to get a former Beatle on a hip hop track, how sick is that?

Rating: 9/10

The Best Candidates for Marvel’s New Spiderman

Unless you’ve been living under a rock for the past week, you know that Spiderman is back where he belongs at Marvel, although Sony will still hold the power on final decision making. Corporate greed aside, this is a huge win for Spidey fans and comic book fans in general. But with a change of scenery comes the change of a hero- as Andrew Garfield will not be back in the suit for the upcoming movies. Maybe it’s just because I’ve been told I look like him, but I loved Garfield’s portrayal as the web-slinger and thought he was more than adequate to continue his role. However, finding a new actor to play Peter Parker is necessary to keep things in check within the Marvel Cinematic Universe. With that in mind, here are a few names that I think would be perfect for good ol’ Web Head:

Honorable Mention: Donald Glover


Way back in 2011 when a second Spiderman film series was in development, fans clamored for Glover to get the part, and in doing so sparked a huge internet campaign to get him the job. As we all know that didn’t happen, as Glover has gone on to star in Community  and find success as an artist, becoming Childish Gambino. Since then, Miles Morales, an African-American version of Spiderman, has become very popular within the comic book community.While it’s already confirmed that this new film would feature Peter Parker- if Morales were ever considered to come to theaters, the man otherwise known as Bino would be the best choice. Casting Glover would be a departure from the previous films- distancing these new films and giving audiences a fresh new take on a tried and true formula. Although he’s certainly older than a high school teen, Glover’s comedic timing and acting chops, as well as his relevancy in today’s pop culture would make him an ideal fit.

#4 Joseph Gordon-Levitt


Even though Marvel is supposedly looking for a teenager-esque actor to fill the suit of Spidey, if they went with an older college approach Gordon-Levitt would be perfect. Like most of the choices on this list, he knows how to handle both drama and action, as evidenced by his roles in 500 Days of Summer and The Dark Knight Rises. In the latter, he played Robin, but that was only teased at the very end, highly disappointing many including myself. There’s just something extremely likable about Gordon-Levitt and his appeal as Spidey would be obvious from the start. His screen presence and ability to nail any type of scene thrown at him are just some of the many reasons for why he should play an older Peter Parker if Marvel ever goes in that direction.

#3 Taron Egerton


This up-and-coming star appears in Kingsman: The Secret Service and would already be familiar to the action movie genre. He would also bring the street-smart, witty, and rugged approach to Peter Parker that would make a middle-class kid from Queens all the more believable. He’s voiced his desire to play the superhero before, telling MTV, “If I could play any superhero….my favourite is Spider-Man. Andrew Garfield is wonderful at doing it to the point I don’t think I should play it.” The only thing left is for Egerton to shed his English accent and in take on a Queens one,  then he’d certainly be a good Spidey.

#2 Logan Lerman

'Noah' Germany Premiere

With the new Spiderman films rumored to be going back to high school, the Perks of Being a Wallflower star would play a great Peter Parker. He showed in Perks that he shines in dramatic situations and can create a strong emotional bond with the viewer. Plus, he knows how to handle being the center-point of a franchise due to his role in the Percy Jackson series. If the new films retread the classic origin story, Logan’s reaction to Uncle Ben’s death, his romantic relationships, and his attachment to Aunt May could be the best we’ve seen from all Spiderman films. He would would make Spidey easy to root for throughout his tenure, and his role alongside Brad Pitt in Fury proved he can handle tough action sequences as well. I definitely wouldn’t be disappointed if Lerman got the part.

#1 Dylan O’Brien

Dylan O’ Brien would without a doubt make the best Spiderman out of all possible names. Before I say anything else, do yourself a favor and check out this video:

Convinced yet? O’Brien would bring all the charm, charisma, comedic timing, and presence that Peter Parker is known for. Just imagine him making quick quips at villains before dodging their frustration-fueled attacks, or haggling with J. Jonah Jameson over his paycheck. He would work as both Spiderman AND Peter Parker- something that Garfield did so well. That balance between the two is what Marvel should look for first when choosing the next Spiderman. Recent rumors have suggested that Marvel is deciding between either Lerman or O’Brien, but if it were up to me I’d pick the latter any day.

‘If You’re Reading This It’s Too Late’ Review

Throughout his career, Drake has been a hot topic of discussion- most notably over whether or not he’s “too soft” to compete with hip-hip’s heavy weights. It seems he’s struggled with this notion, and some of his music released recently has been hard-hitting rap tracks as a response to these claims. Still, as much as he’s questioned, his music is extremely successful and along with producers Noah “40” Shebib and Boi-1da, he has created a unique sound that’s both recognizable and easy to bump to. With his newest surprise project, If You’re Reading This It’s Too Late, Drake isn’t the same person who made songs like “Marvin’s Room” and he desperately wants you to know that. Just take his word for it on “No Tellin'”, “Please don’t talk to me like I’m that Drake from four years ago, I’m at a higher place.”

If You’re Reading This It’s Too Late is being marketed as a pseudo-mixtape- it’s the length of a full length LP and can be purchased, but the overall feel of the project sounds much more like a mixtape. The songs themselves are short yet pack a punch. On almost every track Drake sounds hungry and aggressive, like he’s out to prove something.


The lyrics on this project are typical Drake- meaning they will be quoted to no end on social media sites for years. People like to take jabs at the man, but you still see them citing him in MLA format whenever they feel some type of way. And that’s what Drake is to most people- an artist that you put on when you’re feeling a certain emotion. But if you’re feeling anything other than up and on top of the world, you may want to put on another Drake album. This is because his newest project is basically all straight up ignorant type rap tracks, with Drake talking constantly about his successes and bragging every few bars. Everything from his come up, to women, to the rap game is covered here- but in a very cocky tone.

Noticeably absent are the slow, emotionally high tracks like “Doing it Wrong” and “Shot For Me” in which Drake croons over past relationships and internal struggles. Almost every song on this new album is a banger and Drake’s singing takes a back seat in a major way. Even when he does use his singing voice, its very different from his previous sound on other albums and has an intentionally brash pitch. Drake’s flow, though, is still top notch and one of the best in the business. His ability to weave through the tracks and make literally any saying sound dope is rarely matched.

This is very much a Drake focused record, but the few guests that show up (PARTYNEXTDOOR, Travis Scott, and Lil Wayne) do a great job of adding there signature elements to the tracks. Travis Scott in particular adds his superb beat making and scratchy, abrasive vocals to the track “Company”. This contrasts with Drake’s soft singing, but compliments it perfectly in a yin-yang kind of way. PARTYNEXTDOOR takes The Weeknd’s usual place on Drake records, supplying cool, mellow vocals and even gets his own interlude.


As for the beats themselves, while they are high-energy and tough, most of them are nothing to write home about. Compared to his past albums Take Care and Nothing Was the Same, the instrumentals on this new project feel simple and at times uninspired. The trap-influenced beats are supposed to turn up parties, I get that, but going from his previous beats that featured dramatic uses of vocal samples and a triumphant qualities to this seems like a step back. Noah 40 and Drake in previous years perfected a unique style that complimented the rapper’s strengths- going for a moody feel. With Too Late, even the songs that feature moody vocal samples use them sparingly.

It just seems like this project’s sound is a product of the times. While it’s great for what it is, and sounds fresh now, I doubt that it will age well. And if Drake wasn’t so commanding on these tracks it would make them grow tiresome even quicker. The energy he brings to each and every track is great and gives the hype-beast beats an even greater sense of urgency. It’s difficult to rate the production in this regard because I listened to this album early in the morning, but if I was at the club and heard these beats, everyone (and myself included) would probably go berserk.

The project, let’s just call it a “paid mixtape”, is something that is hard to sit through from beginning to end. It features songs that have little context between each other and can be played as separate entities. I believe that was the point- to create obvious bangers that can be turned up to at any time- but when viewing the record as a whole it seems lacking. If you don;t view this new project as a whole listening experience, then there’s no doubt that Drake delivered- but whether or not the kind of Drake you prefer showed up is entirely up to preference. I’d take hip-hop Drizzy over RnB Drizzy so, for me, this mixtape brought enough to the table to satisfy. Look for a large amount of these tacks to get heavy radio play, as practically every song could potentially be a hit. If you take this for what it is (fun, light club songs) and not some groundbreaking result of intense artistry, you’ll have a real good time.

Rating: 8/10

The Grammys Need to Change: Why Kanye was Right to Interrupt Beck

As the 57th Grammy Awards were coming to a close, everyone was anticipating which record would be crowned Album of the Year. It seemed obvious to most that it would come down to either Beyoncé (Beyoncé) or the red-hot Sam Smith (In the Lonely Hour), who won three other awards that night. Then, when the winner was announced, something completely unexpected happened- Beck walked onto the stage for his album Morning Phase. Kanye West, trying his hand at a bit of comedy, walked onto the stage but purposely held himself back and sat down again. It may have been taken as a self-aware joke, but if Mr. West (a 21 time winner himself) actually went through with his interruption, I wouldn’t have blamed him.

The Grammys were once regarded as the pinnacle of musical success. They were seen as the quintessential display of the music industry’s talent. In my eyes, the Grammy’s always tried to differentiate itself from the “lesser” awards shows like the AMA’s and VMA’s, taking a more serious tone in attempt to reach out to a more experienced music listener. But in recent times, the Grammys have lost this shine, and its current inconsistency is both disturbing and out of touch.

To get a better understanding of how the Grammys evaluate talent we need to look at who votes for these awards. Grammy awards aren’t given to artists based on people’s choice. There is no public vote and the public plays absolutely no part in deciding who wins. Instead, each award is decided by the National Academy of Recording Arts and Sciences. This Academy is composed of those in the industry who have enough power and money to gain respect and thus, their opinion matters. Basically, the Academy is filled to the brim with old, rich, (mostly white) folk who carry with them their own ideas of what “good music” is based on the past. To say this way of voting is a disservice to artists is an understatement.

The favoritism displayed by the Academy is painstakingly obvious. One jarring instance is that every hip-hop category is completely gone from the main televised show. Instead, the awards are given out during the pre-Grammy festivities. While hip-hop is still a young genre, its influence on today’s world is perhaps greater than any other genre right now. For it not to at least get some award given out in front of a nationally televised event seems bizarre and poorly handled to say the least. Keeping with the hip-hop topic, the Grammy’s in recent memory have given the award not to the best rapper- but to the one that sells most. Look at Macklemore last year, who won four awards including Rap Album of the Year. He was widely regarded as an industry plant- someone that’s easy to sell and the “safe” choice. Before his big night, a very small percentage of the hip-hop community respected Macklemore, and after he beat the likes of Kanye West, Jay-Z, Kendrick Lamar, and Drake, there was a social media uproar.

On the flip side of the money argument, big-name artists that perform at the show seem to only be there in order to draw in ratings. Beyoncé, Kanye West, and Katy Perry were all A-list artists who were nominated and performed but didn’t win. Having music’s finest in attendance only to offer the award to someone who no one knew was even there seems like a cheap and unfair way to increase rating while also keeping the Grammy’s snobby pedigree to appease a minority.

In an interview with E! after show Kanye touched on the topic, although his words will surely be taken by the media and twisted in some monstrous way:

“I just know that the Grammys, if they want real artists to keep coming back, they need to stop playing with us. We ain’t gonna play with them no more… And Beck needs to respect artistry and he should have given his award to Beyoncé and at this point, we tired of it. Because what happens is when you keep on diminishing art and not respecting the craft and smacking people in the face after they deliver monumental feats of music, you’re disrespectful to inspiration. And we as musicians have to inspire people who go to work every day. And they listen to that Beyoncé album and they feel like it takes them to another place. Then they do this whole promotional event, that, you know, they’ll run the music over somebody’s speech, the artist, because they want a commercial advertising. Like no, we not playing with them no more. And by the way, I got my wife, I got my daughter, and I got my clothing line so I’m not going to do nothing to put my daughter at risk — but I am here to fight for creativity. That’s the reason why I didn’t say anything tonight. But y’all know what it meant when ‘Ye walked on the stage.”


While telling Beck to give his award away is definitely not right (as Beck is a vastly talented artist), West makes a strong point. Why should songs and albums that have shaped the course of the year be ignored? Why is a piece of art that defines culture pushed to the side? How come the most supported projects can lose to something that very few cared about? Because the Academy thinks the album is better? That’s ridiculously idiotic.

The Grammys have some serious work to do if they want to be taken seriously again. Until then, the Grammy’s and all other awards shows will be thought of as a game of industry politics more than a recognition of generation-defining talent.