Saturday, February 8, 2014

Top 5 of February 2-8, 2014

By: Abbie Doyle, Copy Editor

1. Cities Aviv: Come to Life
by Sam Kayuha

Cities Aviv has to know that Come to Life is not coming anywhere near the Billboard charts—it is not going to earn him a seat next to Bey and Jay at next year’s Grammys, either. And after the fiasco that was this year’s The Heist over Good Kid, m.A.A.d. City for rap album of the year, that is a good thing--an album as creative and ahead of its time as Come to Life would never be in contention. Stocked full of heavily layered synth and sample-driven beats, Come to Life seems to predict what rap will sound like in ten years. Well aware that he is better known for his airy, atmospheric instrumentals than his lyrics, Cities drops his vocals low in the mix, so this LP can be enjoyed as much more than just a rap record. Cities Aviv’s music exists almost exclusively on the Internet—who knew such good music existed on this thing called the World Wide Web.

2. Isaiah Rashad: Cilvia Demo
by Xavier Veccia

This writer is about five minutes away from getting “TDE” tattooed on his rib cage. It was one thing when Top Dawg Entertainment had the likes of Kendrick Lamar, Schoolboy Q, Ab-Soul and Jay Rock on the label. But now that it’s evident that their two newest signees, Isaiah Rashad and SZA, are just as good as the rest of the label, there’s no ceiling for the group.

Cilvia Demo is Rashad’s first release with TDE and it did not disappoint. The youngster of the litter fits right in, with mellow, jazzy beats and deep, personal lyrics. Songs like “West Savannah” and “Heavenly Father,” which both feature fellow newbie SZA, deal with topics like suicide and masculinity that one would be hard-pressed to find in many rap songs. Screw Southernplayalistic, like Rashad mentions in “West Savannah,” I want to fall in love with Cilvia Demo playing through the night.

3. DMX vs. George Zimmerman

The trial of George Zimmerman, alleged murderer of the now famous Trayvon Martin, garnered a huge amount of press coverage in 2013. Nearly all corners of the United States were following this trial, hoping to whatever deities that may be out there that Zimmerman would receive just punishment. When Zimmerman was found innocent, outrage was everywhere. The trial is just another example of the injustice prevalent in the US’s judicial system, so rapper DMX is serving his own form of just punishment: he’s entering the boxing ring with Zimmerman and he’s out for blood. For some completely asinine reason (Guilt? Has his conscience finally awoken?), Zimmerman issued an open challenge against anyone who wanted to take him down, and DMX was selected from 15,000 eager applicants. Just Google the two men and place your bets, please. It’s a bit unorthodox, but hey, if the American “justice” system isn’t going to hand Zimmerman’s ass to him, someone else definitely should.

4. Sasquatch!’s tear-inducing lineup

Man oh man would it be unbelievably rad to live in the state of Washington. The Sasquatch! Music Festival, which occurs over Memorial Day weekend and Fourth of July weekend, just released its line-up and, like almost all music festival lineups, it hurts the souls of those who are unable to attend (such as myself). Outkast, The NationalM.I.A., Soundgarden, and Queens of the Stone Age will all be playing the festival, along with Broken Bells, Neutral Milk Hotel, Tegan and Sara, Local NativesSpoon and Mutual Benefit, an Athens favorite. It’s going to be rad as hell in Washington and a hell of a bummer to remain in Ohio, watching all the shows on the interweb instead of in real life. But you can’t always get what you want, so I suppose it doesn’t hurt to be happy for (but actually secretly jealous of) those who will attend. If you are one of the lucky ones who is able to go, tickets are on sale now!

5. Illmatic is back in season!

Nas recently revealed that he's going to reissue his classic debut, Illmatic. Now this is an album nestling comfortably in my iTunes, but I'd never given it a listen until I heard he was reissuing it (I have an incredible knack for jumping on bandwagons about 20 years late), and hot damn. Not the style I typically indulge in, but this is only because I am a fool. The reissue is set to include previously unreleased songs and bonus tracks, and to promote it, Nas is heading for the road. Old and new fans may find it in their best interests to scope out a nearby venue that will be hosting the rapper, because this is an event you're not going to want to miss.

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