Headphones: Music Community and LGBT Unite

This week in music, Hip-Hop continues it’s strong 2016 with news of more anxiously awaited projects.  Earlier this week, Top Dawg Entertainment, the home of rap king Kendrick Lamar (among others), dropped the news of a new Schoolboy Q record, due out July 8th.  Schoolboy Q initially teased a ‘Crying Jordan’ album cover, but the following day the official album artwork was released (pictured above.) This comes after ‘Q’ released the single THat Part feat Kanye West with a corresponding music video last month.  More on that in this week’s music video breakdown.

Speaking of Yeezus, Kanye West just announced the official dates for his Saint Pablo tour, running from August 25th in Indianapolis and finishing up in Las Vegas’ new T-Mobile Arena October 29th.  The Saint Pablo tour is in support of his recently released Life of Pablo.  The buzz behind Kanye tours is typically bigger than any other artist, as he brings his new groundbreaking stage designs and performances with each passing tour. This marks his first U.S. shows since his highly touted Yeezus tour, which had Kendrick Lamar opening.  No opener has been announced for the Saint Pablo tour yet.

The last of our news update is perhaps the most unexpected; Childish Gambino is back. 

After mostly flying under the radar since his last album Because of the Internet, Gambino, who’s real name is Donald Glover, tweeted out a cryptic link on Friday the 17th.  Clicking it prompted you to download a new Gambino app.  The app showed you flying through space on a countdown, which finally reached zero on Sunday.  Upon hitting 0, the world found out that we will soon have new music from Gambino himself.  He will be performing three shows in support of his new album in Joshua Tree, California September 2nd-4th.  The presale begins June 24th at $99 a piece.

Album of the Week: Flume – Skin: Floating behind the scenes of radio titans like Calvin Harris and Skrillex, Flume has been a long time favorite of the EDM crowd.  Between his self-titled release (Flume) in 2012 and numerous Soundcloud remixes, he’s always shown the ability to launch himself into the same conversation as his contemporaries who routinely headline the world’s biggest festivals; he just didn’t have the catalog to back it up.  With 2016’s Skin, Flume places himself among the best.  The diversity of the album shows the growth he has made in just a few short years.  He displays his ability for radio play on songs Never Be Like You and Say It, which borrow vocals from Kai and Tove Lo.  What separates this album is the skill and versatility that Harley Streten, the man behind Flume, shows from start to finish.  Even behind the more radio savvy singles, the beats are deftly layered and easily identifiable by Flume’s ability to put the listener into a trance.  On songs like Helix and Wall F*** the listener seems to be led progressively deeper and deeper into the tiers of beats that Flume weaves.  The album itself is on a different level than most Electronic records.  More often than not, EDM albums are made in support of one or two singles to simply make a profit.  Skin is as deep as Electronic albums get, as has the sound and aesthetic of a hit summer record.

Music Videos

Pop: Selena Gomez – Kill Em With Kindness: As far as pop videos go, this one is conservative as they come.  Selena opts to Kill the camera with her seductive looks and a black and white filter.  Earlier this year, Gomez dedicated this song to victims of bullying and hate related crimes.  "There's just a lot that happens and now with social media and how much access people can have to your heart and your feelings, it's a little frightening." The video is in support of the popular single off last year's Revival album.

Hip/Hop: SchoolBoy Q feat. Kanye – That Part: Schoolboy Q doesn't 'conversate with the fake.'  Instead he recruits 'walking living legends' like Kanye, who shred this dark haunting beat with numerous scorching verses.  The video is produced by Collin Tilley, who produced the Grammy nominated video for Alright by Kendrick Lamar.  The single is in support of Schoolboy's upcoming album Blank Face, due out July 8th.  

EDM: Mike Posner – I Took A Pill In Ibiza: In a reboot effort, Mike Posner has released another single that has climbed the Pop charts.  Posner's career took off in 2009 with single's Cooler Than Me and Please Dont Go, but has been dormant since then.  In his most recent incarnation, Posner leans on an EDM backdrop and in return creates a song that should be on your playlist the rest of the summer.  

Country: Taylor Swift – New Romantics: Taylor Swift dedicates this video to the fans, "They're the reasons the shows are incredible."  The video itself attests to this fact, as it takes clips from all over her 1989 World Tour.  However, with the numerous outfits, dances, and stager ensembles, it's hard to argue that Swift doesn't play a huge part in making each show just that special.

International: Jennifer Lopez – Aint Your Mama: Jennifer Lopez tells all the ladies 'to get mad' at how they are being treated by their man.  She aint your mama, and don't expecther to do all your cleaning and cooking for you either.  Lopez leans on her pop vocals and typically skillful choreography to produce a fun, quirky video.


Honorary: Orlando: More sad news out of Orlando this week, as we sadly pick up where we left off, mourning more loss of life.  On June 12th, a rogue gunman opened fire in an Orlando night club, killing 50 and injuring 53 others.  The attack was the largest mass shooting in U.S. history.  The shooting took place in an Orlando nightclub called Pulse, know to locals as a gay bar.  Many musicians and members of the LGBT community have reached out in support to those people who are still in shock in the wake of this attack.  While accepting the award for International Artist of the Year at this year's iHeart Radio Awards, pop star Nick Jonas took the time to speak out on the issue, dedicating the award to "all the families and victims of the shootings... We love you and we have not forgotten."

Brit stars Adele and Elton John also took time recently at their own shows to share their thoughts, with the former dedicating her show in Belgium the day after  "to everybody in Orlando at Pulse nightclub."  Elton John, a longtime member of the LGBT community, found hope in this time of mourning.  While performing in Liverpool on Tuesday, he said this.  "What I find extraordinary and what really gives me strength and hope is that immediately behind that devastation came a different wave. A rainbow colored wave of love, from Istanbul to Tel Aviv, from Sydney Opera House to the Eiffel Tower to the Empire State Building and the White House."  

In that same glimmer of hope, oft silent artist Frank Ocean took the time to pen a letter to fans and members of the LGBT community.  After coming out as gay in 2012, Ocean took issue with the global wave of hate that this community has endured, saying, "Many hate us and wish we didn’t exist."  The letter, posted to his Tumblr, went on in length, stressing the importance of standing together. "We say pride and we express love for who and what we are. Because who else will in earnest? I daydream on the idea that maybe all this barbarism and all these transgressions against ourselves is an equal and opposite reaction to something better happening in this world, some great swelling wave of openness and wakefulness out here."