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With  their debut album, 3001: A Laced Odyssey, the Flatbush Zombies give their loyal fans exactly what they want – even if the group’s signature sound does not come off as fresh as it used to be. The Flatbush Zombies have gained a cult following since dropping their first mixtape D.R.U.G.S back in 2012. They became part of the Beast Coast Movement, a collective of talented rappers from New York City that shook the hip-hop community. Joey Bada$$ and Pro Era, the Underachievers and the Flatbush Zombies brought life back to the New York rap scene with their incredible mixtapes. But that was four years ago, and a lot of the great Beast Coast acts have moved on to newer sounds. Joey Bada$$ and his Pro Era crew were largely labeled as a 90s boom-bap revival group when they started out, but recent releases from members Nyck Caution and Kirk…

Kendrick Lamar’s greatest gift is the clarity and brevity in which he raps. He has the ability to fire off rhymes with quick succession and after each line you have just enough time to soak in the weight of his words. The spotlight is currently on Kendrick and he is well aware of his position in hip-hop. Lamar has seen and done many things, both good and bad; the burden of his past choices are all too evident in his music. He frequently raps about the duality of his life, a hero for all of hip-hop, but also a man with faults. These faults are visible in his music, every boastful line of success can be accompanied by a line declaring his fear of judgement. Lamar released, untitled unmastered, on Friday as a surprise release. It was well known that Lamar had a wealth of material stashed away after the…

Sex sells. This has held true for centuries. Pin-up girl themes, Playboy magazines and pornography are proof of that. Every genre of music takes this into account and artists regularly exploit it; whether it is in a classy and appealing way or a dirty and almost vulgar way is subjective. The Weeknd is the perfect mix of both. Abel Tesfaye as The Weeknd has been around for years, but only in the past year has he worked to become a household name. In a distant, erotic but sweet dream, The Weeknd released “Earned It” as an accompaniment to the BDSM-themed film Fifty Shades of Grey at the end of 2014. The song was a testament to the crooner’s ability to dominate not only in his usual genre but also on the pop charts. The vocals by themselves can be appreciated by all types of fans but the entire package comes…

“Find Your Wings” is the mantra and overall theme of Tyler the Creator’s third official album, Cherry Bomb. This simple quote  encapsulates the entire body of work that Tyler and his Odd Future cohorts have produced up to this point in their respective careers. The obvious question to ask next is where does Tyler go with his music, his themes and his audience?  Does he continue to latch onto the shock value raps that helped him gain his current level of fame or will he choose to create a record that shows signs of progress?. On Twitter, Tyler stated that Cherry Bomb had taken two years to produce and that it was the first album he had actually focused on with great detail. The album opens with “Deathcamp,” a track that condemns the celebrity life that Tyler now inhabits. A jarring guitar sample is looped throughout the track with a…

Music history was indeed made when the reggae hipster known as Protoje took the stage for his debut show in New York City on March 15 at the legendary SOB’s night club. The artist was in town for the week launching his latest album, titled Ancient Future. From the moment that the InDiggNation band took over for DJ Max Glaser of Federation Sound and Micro Don in entertaining the capacity crowd with roots music, all attention for the next 75 minutes was commanded by the stage. Appropriately introduced by noted author, DJ and MC, Dutty Bookman, who inspired the term “reggae revival” in 2011, the energy in the room soared as the bespectacled, tam-crowned revolutionary artiste, Protoje, popped up from the audience and cooly sauntered on stage. It was refreshing to see that the jam-packed crowd was comprised of many generations of reggae lovers. The music that Protoje supplies to…

Lupe Fiasco spent some time being a misunderstood figure in the hip-hop community. While he was trying to portray himself as a pseudo-intellectual artist, tackling complex social issues, the genre was evolving, becoming what it is today. After his critically acclaimed sophomore album, The Cool, Lupe’s work failed to connect with the audience he was trying to reach, causing his limelight to dwindle for some time. LASERS was a project that did not match Lupe’s style of hip-hop while Food & Liquor 2 had an overwhelming number of Lupe-like ideas that failed to synchronize. However, Lupe’s latest release, Tetsuo & Youth, is an album that seems to have finally found balance between conscious hip-hop and a well-executed concept. The first track, titled Summer, is a minute and a half long instrumental.  The next track, Mural, starts with a light setup of vocals and a sample with jazz drums before Lupe…