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Lei Takanashi

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One of hip-hop’s greatest tastemakers or a culture vulture? It is a question that has followed Drake for years. The Canadian superstar has used his influence to help artists, like U.K. rapper Skepta, become household names in the United States. Other times, he’s been accused of using a new artist’s song or sound to simply elevate his own career. On his latest project “More Life,” we see Drake taking the role of a curator, crafting a 22 song playlist and Drake’s ability as a tastemaker, or if you prefer culture vulture, in full effect. “More Life” adds new layers to the long, heated debate of whether Drake is a rapper or a singer. Drake transitions between being a London roadman, a Jamaican rude boy, an Atlanta trapper and then back to regular old Drake throughout the entire album. Unlike previous albums, “More Life” isn’t shifting between pop and rap, but…

David Deng carefully brushes his fifth layer of hard ground, a waxy material that allows drawings to be etched, onto a rectangular copper sheet. Next to him is an unplugged pair of earbuds and a milk chocolate almond Hershey’s bar. While other students in the class are making simpler etchings for linoleum prints, Deng seems to have the most thought-provoking one. It depicts a man with a mask laughing while attempting to hold multiple masks in one arm. On the table he has the initial sketch, a mock-up print and the image he was inspired by.: an humorous internet meme where a man is laughing as he struggles to hold onto a pile of limes in his hand. However, Deng gives this image his own twist. “Each mask is a personality and when you are in different social situations you need to put on a different facade,” he said. Deng…

At 60 miles per hour everything looks like a blur outside the window of a speeding Long Island Rail Road train. The Port Jefferson line cuts through the Island’s thick foliage and creates waves of green, with grey houses and highways cutting into the mix. But as the train begins to slows down into each station, one can’t help but notice the few bits and pieces of graffiti seen on buildings from station to station. Names like JOEY and LAMEO appear suddenly and fade away once the train hits the platform. Impressively, they show up again miles apart from their last location. “It’s very suited to the environment. Painting track spots or trains roots back to the beginning of writing graff. Its has a lot of exposure to the general public who use mass transit to get from A to B, allowing your work to be seen by an endless…

Another great word from the large dictionary of New York City slang has died. Deadass is officially dead. The internet has seized the word like real estate vultures in Hunt’s Point. It had a good run but I’m sorry to say that deadass has been harambe-ized. New York took a lot of L’s this past year thanks to the viral nature of the internet. Everyone knows what a chopped cheese is and Timberlands have turned into the male Uggs. And with the rapid rise of New York memes, it is safe to say that we are losing another pillar of New York culture. “Deadass,” isn’t a word that is taken lightly. Deadass is a word that means one of three things. 1.That you are extremely serious about doing something. “Deadass, I’m going to make him pay up for that.” A way to make a statement that isn’t a…

Stony Brook University’s Graduate Student Organization brought in rockers Speedy Ortiz and Rick from Pile earlier this month for the first Stony Brooklyn show of the semester. Rick from Pile opened the show at the LDS Center with a great solo set performing some of Pile’s best cuts and some new solo material. Speedy Ortiz headlined the show and played a powerful hard rock set with songs like “Dvrk World” and “Tiger Tank” from their past two albums Foil Deer and Major Arcana. After a great show we were fortunate enough to get a chance to sit down with Sadie Dupis of Speedy Ortiz with our friends at WUSB. You can check out the interview and pictures below. Question: For making Foil Deer, you locked yourself up for like a month in your mom’s house, apparently? Sadie: And it wasn’t like a dungeon set. I did go visit my…

A new art exhibit just landed at the Simons Center for Geometry and Physics at Stony Brook University, inspired by this year’s discovery of the existence of gravitational waves in space. The exhibit “RESOUND” held its opening reception last Wednesday and is on display until Oct 28. It features work from six different artists with pieces that blend the lines between fine art and science. “People usually think of art and science as polar opposites, but they share a lot of commonalities,” Lorraine Walsh, Art Director and Curator of the Simons Center said.  “They both involve process and research ignited by curiosity.” The exhibit was curated by Walsh and two others, Margaret Schedel and Joo Yun Lee. The curators were searching for a topic that could combine technology and art, and decided on the subject shortly after researchers announced the discovery of gravitational waves last February. The six artists were…

Almost 20 years after releasing his first album at the age of 14, Andre Levins Jr. stops and looks at where it all began from the parking lot of the Adams Court projects in Hempstead, N.Y. Levins points to a small window on the second floor of one of the apartment complexes in Adams Court. This was his old room, and Levins said he used to stick a speaker out the window to blast his music into the parking lot so the older guys could hear his music. He notices how the neighborhood has changed since he was a kid. The Parkside Garden projects have been renovated into townhouses, and there is a heavy iron fence surrounding Adams Court. Levins points out what used to be known as “the shacks,” a row of houses across the street that used to be brown but are now painted over. He also noted…

Another semester brings another attempt by USG to try their absolute hardest to bring a relevant musical act to perform at Stony Brook. And with the choices for Brookfest this year in the form of Fetty Wap and RL Grime, it is clear that the USG hasn’t updated its music library in the past two years. Although RL Grime’s last album came out two years ago and Fetty Wap’s hit singles have faded away in the sea of new trap rappers, Stony Brook was undeniably hyped and packed the floor of the IFCU Arena. A science fiction-themed light and graphics show accompanied RL Grime’s set that featured remixes of popular rap songs such as “Power” by Kanye West and newer hits like “I Got The Keys” by DJ Khaled. RL Grime’s bass and hard trap influenced beats had kids raging and even moshing so hard that security had to make…

It is well established fact by historians and those that were there that 1970’s New York City was no fairy tale. Yet, that is what Netflix’s newest series, “The Get Down,” is attempting to portray. In 1975, New York City was on the brink of bankruptcy with more than $11 million in debt. Unable to even cover basic operating expenses, the city turned into a crime ridden environment. The police were taking bribes, gangs fought over burned-out apartment lots in the South Bronx and a gunshot could mean certain death when emergency services took drastic cuts to their funding. The funniest paradox of the collective memory of 1970s New York City is how almost everyone,especially those who weren’t actually there, loves to look back at it with a rose-colored lens. They see the rose that grew out of the blood-stained concrete. The invention of hip-hop, the explosion of graffiti, punk…