Let’s Talk About Hip Hop – Lyrics For The Soul


With the hip hop making it’s way into mainstream popular culture, the overall view of hip hop can easily be centered around a few themes in music. Hip hop today can feature lyrics and stories about Guns. violence, pimping, and selling drugs. As well as, having a difficult childhood and becoming rich by “making it” in the rap game.

Being a fan of the hip hop genre for as long as i can remember, I always grew up hearing the same songs over and over again on the radio. During the early 2000’s, rappers like Lil Wayne, Rick Ross, and J Cole dominated the radio waves. However, there were two artists that stood out as outliers to the mainstream audience; Kid Cudi and Lupe Fiasco.

Kid Cudi’s “Day ‘N’ Nite” was a hit single off of his breakout mix tape “A Kid Named Cudi” that was released by a New York City street wear brand named “10.Deep” and it was also pushed at released by an independent record label “Fool’s Gold Records” founded by the legendary DJ A-Trak  in 2008.

During that era of hip hop and rap in 2008, Day ‘N’ Nite was a very original sound, that had a nostalgic feel to it almost. The first time I herd the song, I felt so attached to it. I replayed over and over, just to  vibe to the overall sound. It wasn’t till about my senior year, that I connected the lyrics to my own hardships and the song had a deeper meaning to me.

“I look for peace but see I don’t attain” ( Kid Cudi, Day ‘N’ Nite).

Just hearing that one line as a teenager struck me in a way that no song has ever done before up until I came across this song. I feel that for a lot fans who were teenagers at the time of this release felt the same way. When I was finishing up my high school career, I didn’t really have the same motivation as the other seniors in my class to go to college. Whenever my friends and I would talk about what’s next, it was always so depressing to know that most of us just couldn’t afford it at the time. But through music, dance, and just HIP HOP, we bonded. We “embraced the suck” as our friends called it. It was almost as if my friends and I could all agree that we could all relate to this one specific song.

Looking back at this song, I don’t think there was another artist that was around during that time who dared to make a song with this kind of sound. Kid Cudi was able to rap about depression and mental health through his lyrics and I think that is one of the main reasons why a lot of fans became so attached to this song.

Overall, I think Kid Cudi is one of biggest advocates for mental health in the rap community. Even in his current work, his song with Kanye West “Reborn(Kids See Ghosts)”, Kid Cudi goes back to his melodic flow as he sings about finding his peace within his self. The same flow and almost the same feel that fans haven’t herd since his earlier songs.

NBA All-Star Weekend, What About It?


With the NBA All-Star Weekend behind us, I thought I’d share my opinion on the annual All-star weekend.

Now let me start off by saying that I don’t consider my self an NBA fan. I watch NBA for pure entertainment value. I grew up tuning into All-star weekend for the side events, specifically, the Slam Dunk Contest.

This years dunk contest was more hype than last year. Hamidou Diallo jumping over Shaquille O’Neal, to dunk elbow deep in the rim before revealing a Superman logo under his jersey was one of the craziest things I’ve ever seen. Mind you Shaq’ is 7′ 1″!

However, with only 4 participants I think the league should expand to at lease 7 each year. Not to say that the dunk contest is stale, but for a casual fan like myself, I’d be more entertaining to watch a variety of different dunks being showcased.

While I didn’t care much for the skills competition, I found the 3-point shot contest entertaining. Granted I didn’t know every single player during  this segment of the All-star break, it was still fun to watch.

Overall, I could see why the die-hard fans of the NBA can appreciate the All-star break. It’s seen as a celebration for all of the talent in the NBA, as well as a break for the athletes. I also think that across all professional sports, having an All-star break is healthy for their respective leagues.

On the flip side of things, I fallow Esports pretty heavily. The League Of Legends Championship league specifically. Their version of All-stars is typically heavy catered to the fans.  Fans vote in their favorite players to represent their country and participate in a number of special games modes. I think it’s interesting when Esports titles try to replicate traditional sports broadcasts but that’s a discussion for another day.

Let’s Talk About Hip Hop


When fans of music talk about Hip Hop and Rap, most people will start to think about who’s the hottest rapper, or who has the best selling records on the charts. Hip Hop fans can also be quick to tell you their opinion on the newest sneaker releases and juicy celebrity gossip in the scene.

Many popular social media outlets that look to bring hip hop culture to a more mainstream audience, like New York-based Complex, never really seem to talk about the essence of Hip Hop culture.

The Zulu Nation along with Afrika Bambaattaa were one of the original pioneers to ever speak about the four elements of hip hop culture. I would be surprised if the generation of today’s hip hop fans can name the 4 elements that make up hip hop culture that date back the the early 90’s, so I’ll list them here for you:

DJing

Image courtesy of DJ AM

Any club-goer, or hip hop fan would know that DJs are responsible for keeping the crowd moving. That’s done either by playing a set before a rapper comes on to perform, or maintaining the pace while rappers take stage like the legendary DJ A-trak, who toured with Kanye West during the early 2000’s. Another great example is the famous DJ Adam Goldstein, best known as DJ AM, who was one of the first pioneers to bring celebrity status to the DJs of today.

MCing

Otherwise known as rapping, is one of the clearest elements of hip hop culture in today’s age of the culture. Who can forget the line; “Wu-Tang Clan ain’t nothing to f**k with!”, as well the timeless track of “Rapper’s Delight” when thinking about the early emergence of hip hop music. Sugarhill Gang’s “Rapper’s Delight” is arguably the first rap song to ever be recognized as a hit when it hit Billboard’s Hot 100, and peaked at No. 36 in 1980.

Image courtesy of SHG

Graffiti 

The overall aesthetic of the culture can be highlighted through graffiti murals. Graffiti culture is one of the most “slept on” aspects of hip hop culture. Back then, tt wasn’t just about vandalizing subway cars in New York; It was about self-expression and rebellion against cultural norms during the emergence of the sub-culture. Though graffiti is responsible for much national revenue being spent on cleaning trains and billboards, I still believe that graffiti and its art style is one of the most ignored elements. Its influence still lives on today through streetwear brands like Stussy, and The Hundreds.

Image courtesy of Stussy

Break dancing (Also referred to as, breaking)

Break dancing was a huge movement in the early days of hip hop. Music videos during the 80s almost always featured break dancing. Fast forward to the 90s and into the early 2000s and dancers became one of the highlights of music videos on MTV. When MTV launched America’s Best Dance Crew it was a huge deal both in the break dance world and the urban dance community.

Image courtesy of Red Bull

Overall, I feel like hip hop has finally made its mark on mainstream culture. With the rise of Soundcloud too, it is becoming easier for independent artists to display their talents to the world. The sneaker culture has also seen a rebirth and is making its way into the mainstream media as more celebrities are seen wearing the latest Jordan and Yeezy brand sneakers. Hip hop is here to stay, if you like or not. I just hope that as we move forward, we can appreciate its roots.

I hope to expand on each of these elements throughout the month and share with you all why hip hop means so much to me. Each of these elements have played an important role in my life through the roughest and happiest times. Stay tuned! ‘Till then, be easy.

-MiggySB

Event Review: Slander – Headbangers Ball


Don’t let the name fool you! Headbangers Ball is not what you’re thinking. MTV’s classic late-night television show is long forgotten. Instead the heavy bass duo, Slander adopts the name to headline their own US tour.

Image courtesy of Headbangers

Prior to the 2-week long campus closure, I had the pleasure of stopping by the San Jose City National Civic Center to attend their show. With it being titled “Headbangers Ball”, it did not disappoint. The show feature supporting acts by Wavedash, and Eprom. Both supporting acts were able to live up to the event’s name by spinning nothing but heavy bass tracks, mixed with melodic dub-step and even some Future House records.

The venue itself reminded me of a mini-scale Bill Graham Civic Auditorium. It featured a large floor area filled with bodies head banging all night long, and the seating up top on the 2nd floor was no different. Upon arriving I was shocked to see the diversity in the demographic of the audience. I noticed a wide variety of ages, some looking like young college students attending their first rave, while others looked to be in their early to late twenties.

After making it past ID and security check points I was pleasantly surprised to see how packed the venue was. Up first was EPROM.

EPROM was a refreshing, yet heavy sound. Most notably he dropped his own remix of Porter Robinson’s “Sad Machine” that set the tone for the rest of his set. I was most impressed by the way EPROM was able to shuffle the pace of his set by bouncing back and forth between heavy Trap and Bass sounds, to melodic dub-step and house music.

Fallowing EPROM was Wavedash. I had little to no knowledge on what kind of music this duo puts out, but I found it to be a little too heavy for my taste. Wavedash played a set filled with what felt like, all Dubstep and Trap records. Within the first two songs of his set, there were many mosh pits going on all around the dance floor. While his set was over the top for my taste, I found it to be enjoyable after retreating to the balcony to avoid getting sucked into a mosh pit.

Now let’s talk about the headliner, Slander. I have been following their music since the release of their “Nuclear Bonds” EP that featured the track “Gud Vibrations” with the artist Nghtmre. “Gud Vibrations” was the summer festival anthem for the year 2015 and since then I have fallen in love with all the remixes that they have put out. Slander is a unique combination of emotional lyricism and HEAVY drops. The stage production would switch between heartfelt images during their softer records, then would immediately switch to a darker, almost devilish themes for their harder tracks.

While Slander began his set, I sat in the balcony seats. I was in awe at the production value. The crowd had so much energy, I almost felt as if I could feel building shaking every time, I heard a bass drop from his records. Seeing the crowd collectively singing along his remix of Post Malone’s “Fall Apart” was something I’ll never forget.

Overall, the Headbangers Ball did not disappoint! Originally, I was a little worried that I wasn’t going to have a good time, but I was glad that I attended. It was such a positive way to bring in the start of my birthday.  

Let’s Talk About Crossovers In Video Games


In popular media, crossovers happen all the time. The Simpsons had a crossover with Family Guy. Fairly Odd Parents had a crossover with Jimmy Neutron. However, in the world of video games the concept of having crossovers is hit or miss. With some video games having guest characters being unlock able, and other games featuring characters as cameos, it is very rare to see a video game franchise pull off a successful crossover.

This morning Nintendo held another online reveal to one of its flagship titles “Super Smash Brothers Ultimate” in the form of a 40-minute web trailer. Nintendo’s ability to connect to its audience via “Smash Direct” has been notoriously famous for new characters being revealed, generating hype around who’s going to be next to join the fighting games roster.

If we take a step back and examine the titles in the past that have tried to make a collaborate effort, there are only a few that stand out. The “Marvel Vs. Capcom” series was probably one of the biggest crossovers of all time in the fighting game community. The origins of Capcom’s versus collaborations date back to 1996 with “X-Men vs. Street Fighter”. With a simple roster of just 17 playable characters featuring the core super heroes from X-men and the core group of Street Fighter, the game found its success by appealing to such a broad audience.

Moving forward, Capcom rode its momentum publishing the “Marvel vs. Capcom” series which dominated the arcade scene in the early 2000’s. The game eventually reached a level of interest that planted its roots in the Fighting Game Community for the next few years.

However, Capcom has also released one of the biggest collaboration projects when it released “Street Fighter cross Tekken” in  2012. This crossover was a huge deal for fighting game fans. The hype brought so many people to Comic Con 2010 when it initially made its announcement. As time went on, many fans began to point out the flaws the game had; an auto-blocking feature, no unique character combos, and On-Disc DLC. The community was outraged to find out that unlock able characters were already on disc data, and the fact that they had to pay to unlock this content eventually brought an end to the overall interest of the game. I guess when it comes to fighting games, you live and die by the fans.

Fast forwarding into today’s modern times, Nintendo brings a refreshing take on the crossovers in their fighting game, Super Smash Brothers Ultimate. Today’s characters reveal brought the hype. The 40-minute presentation showcased its newest batch of characters; Ken from Street Fighter, and Incineroar from Pokemon, as well as the Piranha Plant from Super Mario. Yes, the plant from that lives in pipes from the Super Mario franchise is a playable character in this game.

Time and time again, we are witnessing Nintendo showcasing their ability to generate hype to a very broad and diverse audience. There is something that everyone can enjoy in this upcoming release of Super Smash Brothers Ultimate. Whether you are a fan of the Street Fighter legacy, Metal Gear Solid, or even Pokemon. The Smash Brothers franchise is guaranteed to bring enjoyment to its fans.

I am incredibly excited to see what direction this game goes. Its competitive scene has taken the fighting game community by storm, and I hope to be able to rekindle my passion for competitive play with this game.

Any Plans For Halloween? BOO! SF 2018


With Halloween just around the corner, Insomniac Events returns to San Francisco’s Bill Graham Civic Auditorium. Historically, Insomniac Events have been known to throw some of the best parties in California all year ’round. From ringing in the New Year with “Countdown NYE”, and a Valentine’s day rave called “Crush”, you can never go wrong with buying tickets to a party hosted by Insomniac.

This year’s Halloween themed rave “BOO!” returns for another year. Much like last year, it will be a two day event. Since the line up for this year’s event has been released there has been a clear divide on the types of genres being represented this time around.

Day One features some of the world’s most celebrated House DJs and producers. Featuring the likes of Habstrakt, the creator of last summer’s festival anthem “Chicken Soup” this first day is full of bass lines and House records that are guaranteed to have you dancing all night. What I find the most interesting is that Malaa is headlining the show and is scheduled to preform right before the well known DJ Afrojack.

Image courtesy of BOO!

Malaa is signed to the label Confession, pioneered by the French electronic producer Tchami. The Confession recording label has gained a reputation of putting out a number of House records which bring the exotic and seductive sounds of Europe to the United States. Making his debut to the electronic music scene with his single “Notorious”, it is no doubt that the western rave culture has taken a liking to the Future house sound.

I have noticed that a new trend is starting to take over in the Western Electronic Music scene here in Northern California. Around the time of my first rave in 2016, I saw the Trance and Progressive house DJ ATB. In 2016 Big Room House music was trending here in California through the sounds of Calvin Harris and Swedish House Mafia.

Fast forward to present day and in 2018 I’ve noticed a number of California raves and festivals are moving away form the Big Room House sound. Instead, there seems to be a trend of Bass House and Future House talent being booked for most of the events here in California.

I am excited to finally see a whole lineup dedicated to the House genre and I am the most excited to see Malaa live, as well seeing Afrojack closing out the show. BOO! SF’s day 2 line up is more of heavy, head banging sound with GTA and Flosstradamus. Be on the look out for my Day 2 preview. Till then, keep it locked here on KSSU.