Interview: Joomanji’s Amir Oosman


JoomanjiAmir Oosman is a drummer, producer, engineer and manager for the hip-hop/soul group . He and the Los Angeles-based band are currently touring California, recently playing at Sacramento State’s Wednesday Nooner series, in support of their most recent album “Manj.”

Speaking with Oosman, we covered the origin of Joomanji and his place in the band and the music world.

Emiliano: Has drumming and production been a life-long pursuit for you or is that something you started with Joomanji?

Amir Oosman: As far as drumming goes, that started earlier in life. Probably around when I was 12. I started on a drum set and basically played in school groups through college, and Joomanji was actually one of my first passionate projects. It’s a band I pieced together with a couple of other guys I went to school with. Them being, Robert Finucane on keys and Jonah Christian who is also a keyboard player/beatmaker. The three of us formed the group in undergrad during – Jonah and myself – our sophomore year.

On the production side of things, Jumanji actually influenced me to produce. I didn’t actually start producing till a little later on when I was maybe 20 or so. I started to learn some more programs on the computer, Jonah put me onto Ableton and then in grad school I made a point to take a lot of engineering classes for ProTools and started engineering sessions for other bands. It now has come to a point where it’s great that all three of us can contribute production, engineering and mixing, as well as the compositional side of the music.

E: What do you think it was about Joomanji specifically that made you so passionate?

A: I think it was just very different for me. I just started to get a little bit more comfortable in my own skin as a drummer and Jonah and Rob both opened my ear up to hip-hop, soul and funk. Rob has a really incredible taste in the classic 70’s type of music and Jonah has a really great variety of Jamaican music/90’s hip-hop music that I’d never heard, including producer J Dilla, The Roots and Erykah Badu. There was all this music coming my way between the two of them that I really gravitated towards.

The way we really started was Jonah had his beat tape with maybe 10 or 12 beats that he had made through the course of high school and college and I had never heard anything like it. So, we started to preform them live as a trio around our college and then just slowly added musicians and singer. The core knit of the group was just this organic, grass-roots, ‘let’s just try stuff, let’s just experiment.’ Nothing forced, just everything natural. That’s why I think we’ve stayed together this long and that’s why we continue to feed off of each other and influence each other. It’s a big part of why I think the group works well together.

E: You guys also tour around California as Joomanji correct?

A: Yeah, definitely.

E: When you’re on the road, what are you guys listening to in the car when you’re together?

A: Recently, on the car ride up [to Sacramento], we had been listening to the new Kendrick Lamar “untitled unmastered.” We try to circulate something new as well as old playlists that Rob puts together or something that Jonah might have put together. Classic tracks, like Jill Scott or Erykah Badu. Most of the time on the car rides, if there is a new record out, we try and grab that and really engage ourselves. I remember a few tours back when “To Pimp a Butterfly” had come out, by Kendrick Lamar, we all quietly listened through it top to bottom and it was interesting to experience it all together, you know what I mean? You all kind of talk about your experiences with your first listen. It’s fun and engaging to see how everyone else reacted to it.

E: Do you think that helps inspire your passion in music when it becomes a more communal experience?

A: Definitely. That’s a huge part of why we respect each other so much; we’re open to each other’s critiques and each other’s opinions verses being closed off. We all care about each other and want to know how everyone thinks and how everything effects each of us as far as the music goes, and writing goes and shows go.

E: On Joomanji’s most recent album, “Manj,” you guys worked with Carlitta Durand of the Foreign Exchange on the song “Divided.” How did that collaboration come about?

A: That was all through Jonah. He had found a channel to reach out to Carlitta, maybe through a mutual friend online and she responded to the track and fortunately enough recorded on it. That was a unique collaboration where we broke out of our shell and went for some guest artists.

The entire record, “Manj,” that full length you can see track-to-track there is a lot of different vocalists and that really showcased – there’s a cohesive sound but there are a lot of different vocal arrangements going on around the production and around the instrumentation. We still kind of keep that hip-hop, jazz, soul vibe going on throughout but tying it all together with different vocalists is still a challenge. We still work with a lot of guest vocalists, but now when we tour we’ve really honed in on Lindsay Olsen and Austin Answan as our vocalists. It makes people identify with the group a little easier now that we have a core group.

E: Do you have a favorite track off of “Manj”?

A: Honestly, my favorite track off that album is “Around the World.” It’s always kind of been, mainly because of the way we recorded it. The experience of writing and recording that track was definitely something I won’t ever forget.

E: Could you explain that experience?

A: Basically, Jonah came down to LA to visit me, before we had all moved permanently down to Los Angeles, Austin and myself were going to school at the California Institute of Arts. Basically, we were in the studio; I booked out an entire weekend just to see what we could come up with. Jonah came through and we just started fiddling around and he just started playing this piano line, and we looped it, and then I went and recorded a few drum lines over each other. The sketch of the track was there, we kind of took some breaks but we didn’t really leave the studio.

The real magic had happened when we found this loop Jonah had done in Ableton of live instrumentation. I called Austin over and he wrote a really great hook and a great verse and it kind of just started turning into cold calling musicians, like, “Hey, I want sax. Hey, I want flute. Cool, I went to school with someone who did that. Do you know anyone who speaks Portuguese or French? Do you know any keyboard players, bass players?” It was one after another and it turned into this twenty hour session where every thirty minutes were just like a big party. People were coming in to add to the track but in their own unique way. It really ties in with the song.

 

Joomanji has “a multitude of new music” coming within the month of April and over the summer, which can be found on their Soundcloud and Facebook pages. KSSU

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Blockbuster – Block B in the USA 2015 Tour


Block B

Yo yall, life man, seriously… life is so good!! LET. ME. TELL. YOU WHY!!!

Block B!! I loved them since they first debuted in 2011. I’ve been following them and they’ve seriously grown immensely with their music, especially Zico, who’s my top 3 bias of all biases! My boo! *swoooooon* ANY WHO! What drew me to them was the mere fact that they weren’t your typical kpop-“pop”-group. They were more hip hop! That was completely new to me, because during that time hip hop wasn’t that big in Korea as it is now, so the music I’ve listened to was mostly pop songs. Although, I’ve always been into American Hip Hop/Rap, I just never ventured to that genre when listening to k-pop.

So KPOP like to do this thing where they like to spring on their fans that they’re coming to the states with very little time for anyone to prepare….mentally and financially. It gets pretty chaotic when news break out that the groups I love are coming… like its a combo of whirlwind-hurricane-earthquake-volcano eruption in my mind and heart.

When SubKulture announced that they were bringing Block B to the states I screamed, then I panicked. In the last span of 6 months I’ve been 5 concerts! 5!! They’re not cheap!! KPOP IS EXPENSIVE YALL!! Yes flowers are ridiculously expensive. So out of those 5 concerts, I did see them at KCON, but it just wasn’t enough. I sat so far away and they only performed a few songs. I needed more Block B, More Zico!

Sadly, my wallet wasn’t having none of it. As it coughed up dust with a dead moth inside, it was like “Ha-ha-ha have you seen your money?! Because I haven’t.” *cries*

Then last week Zico dropped his new single “Boys and Girls” and I’m like.. Is this a sign?!!? Should I go?! I kept asking pestering my friend Sue, who loves Zico as much as I do, (I don’t mind sharing biases, I’m nice like that lol) if we should go, but she was in the same situation as I was, poor-ness. I told her that a lot of the time, when it gets closer to the concert date, people start selling tickets for dirt cheap. She said if it was cheap enough, she’d be down.

So I found a group on Facebook and asked around to see if anyone was selling cheap tickets.

A girl posted saying that KORE was selling tickets for 40% off. I was like Oh my gah.. perfect! However she messaged me and told me to email an employee from SubKulture with how many tickets I wanted and which section. So on Monday, I did as instructed.

Tuesday morning I woke up to a reply from SubKulture saying that they’ll give me two comp tickets to GA and just pick it up from Will Call!!!

HOLY MOTHER OF KPOP!!! I SCREAMED SO LOUD AT 7AM!! I. COULD. NOT. BELIEVE!!!!!!

Like YALLL!!!!!! I was freakin out!! LIKE I HAD A SMILE PLASTERED ON MY FACE ALL DAY!!!! I felt like I was walking on cloud nine! I was like, this was meant to be! Zico and I were meant to be. This is how we’d meet and he’ll fall in love with me. We’d get married and have little rapping babies. Perfect. Just perfect.

The day of the concert we went and lined up 3 hours in advanced since it was GA. They were letting will-calls in one by one to pick up their tickets… as I got to the front, I said my name and THEN the girl handed me my ticket and said, “Here you go,” then she pointed at another table, “go towards the prize tables to see if you won.”

I was like … “Wait what?”

She said, “See if you won photo opp, hi-touch, or other merchandise.

I almost fell to the floor, literally! I was like “WHAT?!?! THERE’S A CHANCE FOR ME TOO?!” I thought it was only for those who had bought their tickets. Sue and I started hopping over to the other tables like excited minions. I didn’t want to expect much because the free tickets were ALREADY  too much for me to handle, I couldn’t imagine getting any more because life doesn’t work like that… not for me at least.

Sue handed her ticket over. They were quiet and shook their head apologetically, “Sorry, you didn’t win.”

My hands shook a little as I handed my ticket.

“You got Hi-touch!”

“What?” I thought I was hearing things.

“You got hi-touch.”

I dropped to the ground and then I screamed as I popped back up!!

LIFE IS TOO AMAZING!!!! UGH!

I WAS GOING TO MARRY MEET ZICO!!!

The concert was so lit! From their first song, “Very Good” to their Encore songs!! Their stage presence and vibe was pure fire. I’ve been to two shows at the Warfield before for Got7 and Epik High, but man, Block B’s stage set up was just WOW!! The stage itself is pretty small, but you would never have guessed after seeing Block B’s bright TV screen and lightings. I got lost in their music. I personally loved that it wasn’t a packed house! I was able to stand in front of second level of GA and was able to see them perfectly. I’m 5’1 so I hate GAs, but it was just perfect, where I stood. We danced and hopped around so much because where we stood, barely anyone was there, so I wild out to my heart’s content! I’m limping today because my calves are on fire, just like the show — HAH! They’re so freakin amazing live. All the energy that you feel watching them in videos just don’t do them justice, but I knew that! Their songs always pumps me up when I listen to it, but hearing them live and seeing them that up close was a whole new crazy awesome experience. 

When Zico performed “Okey Dokey” though, I went nuts!

Zico is life.

I wished I could brag about Hi-Touch more, but unfortunately I wasn’t prepared for it. I knew it’d go fast and it did. Like herds of fast moving cows, as quickly as we got up on the stage to Hi-five them, we got off. It took no more than 5 seconds for the whole thing. I’m shy… so when I saw Zico… I couldn’t even look at him or anyone else for that matter. Honestly, I would’ve needed weeks to prepare for those 5 seconds. A few hours just wasn’t enough, but I regret nothing.

All in all, great concert! Just UGH! AMAZEBALLS! I came with literally no expectations except enjoy the awesome music and walked out feeling blessed.

Seriously. LAST concert of the year. LAST!

My heart is concert-ed out.

….unless they’re free, again.

DJRONAROCKSS is a DJ with KSSU

Show/NFL Preview


Hello blog readers, my name is Noah Alvarez and I am a new Volunteer DJ for KSSU radio this semester. I am a HUGE sports fan thus, my show will be formatted as a Sports talk show. Since I will talk about nothing but sports…I’m thinking of naming my show the “No.B.S. Hour” (acronym for Nothing But Sports of course). But I am still unsure about it.
A little background on myself, I was born in Santa Ana, CA and lived my whole life in Southern California. I went to Golden West JC where I declared to be a Communications major. After 2 1/2 years there I was able to transfer to Sacramento State University & am currently on my 2nd semester here.
I was always busy playing sports growing up as a kid. Football, karate, basketball, soccer, baseball, swimming, etc. any sport you can think of, I probably tried it, but I stuck with Football & Baseball  the longest. I played football through my freshmen year at Golden West and I am currently playing baseball still for the Sac State Club Baseball team (no not the D1 team but it is still competitive). Playing sports my whole life and following in my dad’s footsteps, I developed a strong passion for following professional sports.
Sports was not the only influence my dad had on me. my dad’s music also caught my attention as a child. One of my dad’s favorite genres of music(and mine as well) are Old School Hip Hop & Funk. Everything from Run DMC, Lakeside, NWA, George Clinton, Earth Wind & Fire, Prince, Public Enemy and many more were constantly played throughout my childhood. So during my show I plan on playing a couple of songs from that era as a tribute to my dad.

Now onto the second part of this blog post, a 32 NFL team preview. With the NFL season coming up I wanted to talk about what I like and dislike about each team and there chances this year. Lets get started…

Kansas City Chiefs: The Chiefs past couple of years have had a really great defense and incredible run game headed by Jamaal Charles, but they’ve lacked the ability to really stretch the field vertically with Alex Smith at Quarterback. New WR Jeremy Maclin is a great deep threat but Alex Smith failed to throw a TD to any WR last season so Maclin might not get many targets. Like I stated earlier, Chiefs have a very strong defense that gets safety Eric Berry back from his battle with cancer. With dangerous offensive weapons in Jamaal Charles, Travis Kelce, & Jeremy Maclin the Chiefs are a real threat to win 10 or 11 games and possibly the AFC West.
San Diego (possibly LA??) Chargers: The Chargers got a little younger this offseason drafting rookie RB Melvin Gordon to fill the hole at the position after Ryan Mathews left for the Eagles. Philip Rivers loses long time target Eddie Royal so it will be up to Keenan Allen & Malcom Floyd to really step it up at WR. Rivers still has old reliable in Antonio Gates at the tight end position. The Chargers have a solid defense this year with a strong secondary led by Saftey Eric Weddle. But in years past, the defense has just been average for the most part, nothing spectacular. We all know that Philip Rivers is capable of playing really great…but also really bad at times as well. If we see good Philip Rivers for the majority of the year, Chargers will be in contention for a wild card spot in the AFC this season.

Denver Broncos: Last few years Denver has easily been one of the best NFL teams but do not have any Super Bowl victories to show for. They still have WRs Demaryius Thomas & Emmanuel Sanders but lost stud TE Julius Thomas to Jacksonville. New Head Coach Gary Kubiak will employ more of a run heavy style of offense than Denver has had in the past, in hope to take some of the workload off an aging Peyton Manning. Denver still has a star studded defense led by players like Von Miller, TJ Ward, Aqib Talib & Demarcus Ware. It will be interesting to see if Peyton can deliver a Super Bowl championship to Denver this season knowing that his career is coming to an end…
Oakland(maybe back to LA) Raiders: The Raiders are my candidate for Most Improved Team this upcoming season. Derek Carr in his 2nd year as starting Quarterback has new weapons at WR in Michael Crabtree & Amari Cooper. The RB position will be manned by Latavius Murray & Roy Helu Jr as former 3rd overall draft pick Trent Richardson did not make their 53 man roster. The Raiders defense looks to be very strong this year as young Linebacker Khalil Mack continues to take the league by storm. The secondary does still need some work but I think the Raiders this year are going to turn some heads and 8-8

.

Arizona Cardinals: Cardinals the past couple of years have been plagued with injuries. Carson Palmer, Tyranna Mathieu, Darnell Dockett, Andre Ellington, & John Abraham just to name off a few impact players that missed chunks of last season with injury. When healthy though, the Arizona Cardinals are a really good team. They lost genius Defensive coordinator Todd Bowles this offseason as he took the Jets Head coaching position, but I am sure their defense will not take a dip in production. They have one of the most elite secondary groups which allows them to play man coverage a lot & blitz more rushers with confidence. As long as Carson Palmer & Andre Ellington can stay healthy this year and give some balance to that offense they can easily win 10 to 12 games. But being in the same division as the Seahawks, that might not be enough to win the NFC West.

Seattle Seahawks: Seattle was literally INCHES away from winning back-to-back Super Bowls last postseason, but I am sure Seattle fans have forgotten about that and are looking forward to this upcoming season. They still have Beast Mode (Marshawn Lynch), they still have the crafty Russell Wilson, they still have the Legion of Boom (Sherman, Chancellor, & Thomas), they still have an elite front 7, AND they just traded for Jimmy Graham this offseason…well, the rich just got richer. They are most people’s favorite to win the Super Bowl and it is hard to disagree. Pete Carroll has turned this franchise around since taking over as head coach. Russell Wilson continues to impress the nation as an underdog being drafted late in the 2012 NFL Draft. Seattle this year could easily win 15-16 games and could possibly go undefeated all they way, bearing any serious injuries. This will be a scary good Seahawks team this year.

St. Louis Rams: The Rams have been getting better and better the past couple of seasons and I think this year they will fully bloom to their potential. This offseason they swapped Quarterbacks with the Philadelphia Eagles bringing in Nick Foles to lead the team. Foles is still a young Quarterback and has shown inconsistency, yes, but they were very lucky to be able to get rid of Sam Bradford. The Rams have been playin with backup Quarterbacks most of the time in their ‘Sam Bradford era’ because he just simply could not stay healthy. This year Nick Foles has some very explosive weapons around him in Brian Quick, Tavon Austin, Kenny Britt, Tre Mason, Jared Cook, and rookie RB Todd Gurley. And just like the previous two NFC West teams, they have an elite Defense and possibly the best D-line in the NFL. Chris Long, Michael Brockers, Aaron Donald, Robert Quinn & Nick Fairley are going to wreak havoc on opposing backfields this year. If Nick Foles can take care of the ball and stay healthy, the Rams could win anywhere from 9 to 11 games this year and earn a Wild Card spot. If they weren’t in the tough NFC West, they would be favorites to win almost any other division.

San Fransisco 49ers: The 49ers probably just had one of the WORST offseasons that I can remember in recent history. They lost…well pretty much almost everyone. Where do I begin: HC Jim Harbaugh went back to Michigan to coach, Frank Gore to the Colts, Mike Iupati to the Cardinals, Dan Skuta to the Jaguars, Perissh Cox to the Titans, Andy Lee to the Browns, Chris Culliver to the Redskins, Stevie Johnson to the Chargers, Michael Crabtree to the Raiders, released Aldon Smith due off field issues, & lost Patrick Willis, Jonathan Martin, Anthony Davis, Chris Borland, Justin Smith, & Marcus Lattimore all to retirement. But lets look at some positives, they did bring in Reggie Bush and Torrey Smith to provide explosiveness for the offense. In reality, 49er fans have to accept their team is going through a rebuilding phase. A key player to watch this year is Colin Kaepernick. His production has slowly declined since taking over as the starting Quarterback, as NFL defenses are starting to figure out how to defend his style of play. Since Jim Harbaugh was the one who started Kaepernick & stuck with him the past seasons and is no longer head coach, will Jim Tomsula bench Kaepernick if he starts struggling again? We all know Kaepernick has incredible speed but last season he really struggled throwing the ball to his WRs. In fact, he did not throw a 4th quarter touchdown all last season and as a team, you won’t win that many games with that happening. 49ers will be lucky to win 5 games this year as a top 10 draft pick is in their near future next offseason.

Baltimore Ravens: Now on to the AFC North which I think will be the best division in the NFL this year. Last year the Ravens surprised most people by making the playoffs despite losing their best RB, Ray Rice, to a suspension in preseason. Justin Forsett stepped up into the starting position and rushed for over 1200 yards last season. This offseason Ravens lost deep threat Torrey Smith to free agency. Now Joe Flacco’s targets include veteran (my favorite receiver)Steve Smith Sr., and bunch of young unknown WRs and TEs. Ravens this year will have a really tough time scoring the ball unless these young WRs step up big time. The Baltimore defense should be really solid this year. They lost big nose tackle Haloti Ngata but they still have great Linebackers in Terrell Suggs, Courtney Upshaw, Elmis Dumervil, & CJ Mosely. The run defense will suffer a bit but I think their linebacker core and secondary can carry the defense. Because their options are limited on offense, I only see the Ravens winning 7 to 9 games which will not be enough to sneak into the playoffs this year.

Cincinnati Bengals: Who Dey nation! Bengals the last couple of years have no trouble winning in the regular season…it’s when they get to the post season when they (and by ‘they’, I mean mainly Andy Dalton), they seem to forget how to play football. They have the best RB tandem in Giovanni Bernard & Jeremy Hill and a top 5 WR in AJ Green. But when defenses take away those 3 options, Quarterback Andy Dalton doesn’t have that good of options to get the ball too. The Bengals defense is arguably the best in the AFC North. A great D-line led by Geno Atkins, a solid Linebacking core led by veteran Rey Maualuga, and a deep secondary led by cornerback Leon Hall. This team definitely has the talent to make the playoffs again, but unless Mohamed Sanu, Tyler Eifert or somebody else on offense steps up as a solid threat, I predict another first round exit for the Bengals.

Pittsburgh Steelers: The Steelers are going to struggle the beginning part of season due to starters Le’Veon Bell & Martavis Bryant serving suspensions and center Maurkice Pouncey on IR/Designated to return. Once this offense gets all their starters back & healthy this will be one of the most dangerous offenses in the NFL. Antonio Brown tore secondaries apart last year with almost 1700 receiving yards. Le’Veon Bell is the best RB in the league (in my eyes), giving the Steelers great balance on offense meaning defenses can’t overplay the run or pass. And Big Ben…well he’s Big Ben & still one of the craftiest Quarterbacks in the league. The once “Steel Curtain” definitely has some holes now, especially in the secondary. Both Troy Polamalu and Ike Taylor retired this off-season and the defense will miss their leadership. The Steelers do have some great young Linebackers and in a couple years, Pittsburgh will return to having a top 5 defense. Due to a slow start this season, I predict Pittsburgh will only be able to win 8-10 games which won’t be enough to win the division but possibly grab a wild card spot.

Cleveland Browns: As long as Josh McCown is the starting Quarterback in Cleveland, the Browns have a really good chance to go 0-16 this season. The Browns have a solid Offensive line and brought in new WR weapons in Brian Hartline & Dwayne Bowe…but for Johnny Manziel to lead the offense, not Josh McCown. McCown had a horrific season last year in Tampa Bay turning the ball over 24 times in 11 games and finished with a QBR below 33. I know Manziel was inconsistent last season in his limited playing time as a starter, but last years Browns team had no offensive weapons for him to work with. This offseason Johnny reported to have matured as a person, and I think his upside is to big for him not to be starting over McCown. Back to the rest of Cleveland, the Browns do have a sneaky good defense this season with new additions Danny Shelton and Tramon Williams. In addition, Joe Haden has emerged as a top 3 man-to-man cornerback in this league. Having Paul Kruger & Barkevious Mingo both rushing off the edge gives Cleveland a great pass rush as well. It’s too early to have any kind of playoff hopes for the Browns but if Manziel gets a couple starts later in the season, I predict them winning 3 or 4 games.

Green Bay Packers: It does not matter who you line up at Wide receiver, if you have the best Quarterback in the NFL, you have a pretty good chance to win it all. Jordy Nelson tearing his ACL this preseason would be a huge loss, but Rodgers can make good receivers out of average ones. Eddie Lacy, Randall Cobb, Davante Adams, & (recently signed) James Jones are more than enough for Aaron Rodgers to work with. Biggest task for the rest of the Packers is going to be protecting Rodgers and giving up a  few amount of points. The defense did lose Linebacker AJ Hawk but they gained back Nose tackle BJ Raji from injury last season. This is a talented defense that has some big names such as Clay Mathews, Julius Peppers, Ha ha Clinton-Dix, Morgan Burnett, & Sam Shields. Bearing any huge injuries, this Packer team could win 12 to 14 games easily and earn that #2 playoff seed in the NFC.

Detroit Lions: The Lions were robbed of a playoff win last postseason against Dallas but they look to make some noise again this season. They still have the best WR in the NFL in Calvin “Megatron” Johnson, but the past couple years he has struggled to stay healthy for a full season. Shouldn’t matter too much because Matthew Stafford has a solid backup #2 option in Golden Tate. They lost Reggie Bush this offseason but drafted Ameer Abdullah out of Nebraska University who looks to be a promising NFL running back. The Detroit defense did take some major losses this year. Both defensive tackles Ndamukong Suh and Nick Fairley departed this offseason but they somewhat replaced that void with big Nose tackle from Baltimore, Haloti Ngata. Deandre Levy and Stephen Tulloch are both really good linebackers that make tackles all over the field. In the secondary, Safety Glover Quinn led the league last year with 7 interceptions and looks to duplicate that production. All in all, this team will go as far as Mathew Stafford can lead them. Detroit won’t have an as dominant defense this season so that puts a bit more pressure on Mathew Stafford’s shoulders. 9 to 11 wins is a realistic goal for Lions fans and that could be good enough for them to earn a wild card spot.

Minnesota Vikings: Teddy Bridgewater is the future! And guess what, the Vikings get Adrian Peterson back from  suspension last year. Remember the numbers AP put up that season after his ACL injury? Now he comes back with a whole year’s rest under his belt and looks to take back his title of best RB in the NFL. This Vikings team is going to be sneaky good. I don’t think they are ready to fully blossom just yet but in 2-3 years this is going to be an elite team. Having speed threat Mike Wallace gives Bridgewater a legit #1 target to throw too and it creates more running room for AP since defenses won’t be able to load the box. Kyle Rudolph is emerging as really good TE in this league as well. The Vikings defense was very underrated last year and is full of young players like Anthony Barr, Harrison Smith, & Xavier Rhodes, that are only going to keep getting better. Realistically this Vikings team can win anywhere from 7 to 12 games. Don’t be surprised if this Vikings team beats out your team for an NFC wild card spot this season.

Chicago Bears: Remember when the Bears year after year had better defenses than their offense…well that’s not the case anymore. The Bears defense was sorry last year giving up over 6000 yards of total offense and finishing the year with a -5 turnover ratio. The low turnover ratio was all the defense fault as you can thank quarterback Jay Cutler for contributing to that number as well. Jay Cutler had a rough season last year and was benched in the last game. It looks like another rough year for Jay Cutler as he lost favorite target Brandon Marshall this offseason. New Head Coach John Fox has already publicly announced his dislike for Jay Cutler as starting Quarterback, but no team was willing to trade with Chicago because of Cutler’s extremely high contract. Sort of a lose-lose situation for both parties. The positive for this team is that they still have young pieces to build around in Alshon Jeffrey, Matt Forte, Kevin White, Kyle Fuller, Lamar Houston, & John Bostic. Bears fans may not enjoy a 2 to 4 win season, but will enjoy the upcoming off-season when the Bears get a top 5 draft pick.

Tampa Bay Buccaneers: Now onto the most “up for grabs” division in the NFL, the NFC South. Tampa Bay made a splash this offseaon drafting Jamies Winston as their new franchise quarterback. Say what you want about the guy, his off the field issues, or his work ethic, but this guy can flat out win. Tampa Bay already has a really really good defense with arguably the 2nd best defensive tackle in the league Gerald McCoy. Jonathan Banks and Alterraun Verner are both good young cornerbacks manning the outside and Linebackers Lavonte David & rookie Kwon Alexander look to be a promising Linebacker tandem. This team went 2-14 last year mainly because of one reason…McCown kept turning the ball over. If Winston can limit the turnovers and get the ball to his weapons in Vincent Jackson, Mike Evans, & Doug Martin out of the backfield, this could be a playoff team. Yes I said playoff team because honestly I believe an 8-8 record wins this division.

Carolina Panthers: Speaking of 8-8 records, the Carolina Panthers won this division last year going 7-8-1 (YES their is ties in football!). I would say the Panthers’ playoff hopes ended when star WR Kelvin Benjamin tore his ACL this preseason but all they have to do is reach 8-8. The Panthers still have a really solid & underrated defense. Luke Kuechly and Thomas Davis without a doubt are the best Linebacker duo in the NFL right now. The Panthers D-line is very deep as well but lost a big playmaker in Greg Hardy at DE. Keep a lookout for Cornerback Josh Norman to have a breakout year and emerge as a top 10 lockdown corner in the NFL. So no Benjamin this year means WR by committee on offense with guys like Jerricho Cotchery, Ted Ginn Jr, Philly Brown, and rookie WR Devin Funchess. The biggest need this offseason for Carolina was addressed as they brought in Michael Oher at left tackle. Cam Newton did not look the same last season mainly because he was under pressure so quickly and so frequently. Remember that Monday night game where the Eagles sacked him 9 TIMES! Just horrific. If Cam gets the protection, Jonathan Stewart stays healthy, & the receivers step up, Carolina can reach 8-8 and win this division for a 3rd year in a row.

New Orleans Saints: The Saints shocked the nation this offseason by trading away pro bowl tight end Jimmy Graham to the Seahawks(…of all teams) for center Max Unger. Saints wanted to transition from a passing first offense to a run first offense this offseason and made moves accordingly. They resigned Mark Ingram to a long term contract & brought in CJ Spiller to play that “Darren Sproles” role they had a few years ago. Brandin Cooks looks to emerge as the Saints new #1 WR and is poised to have a breakout year. The Saints went with complete overhaul on defense bringing in Brandon Browner, Daniel Ellerbe, & Kevin Williams to help out Cameron Jordan & Kenny Vaccaro. Jarius Byrd also returns this year from his Achilles tear last season. Other than those names I mentioned, lots of these players on the defensive side are below average & not very well known players. It will be interesting to see how the defense meshes together and if Drew Brees can successfully lead a run first  offense to an 8-8 record.

Atlanta Falcons: Matty Ice and the Dirtybirds. Matt Ryan, Julio Jones, Roddy White, and…well really that’s kind of it. Not many household names in Atlanta this season. After Stephen Jackson didn’t work out at RB last year, Falcons are going with a platoon of young RBs such as Devonta Freeman & Tevin Coleman. Rookies Vic Beasley Jr. & Jalen Collins look to make an impact on an Atlanta defense that was not very good last year. The Falcons did bring in free agents like Justin Durant & Adrian Clayborn to help out the defense but who knows if that will be enough. The key to success for the Falcons is in the trenches. If their O-line or D-line can get some sort of push that they have lacked in the past years, they can bring some balance to the offense and the team as a whole. 8-8 is the goal for Atlanta although I think they are the least likely to win the division.

 Indianapolis Colts: Really the only team worth talking about in this division is the Colts. Andrew Luck has emerged as the second best quarterback in the NFL and is poised to have a huge year. The Colts brought in University of Miami teammates Andre Johnson & Frank Gore to help the cause. Along with T.Y. Hilton at receiver, the Colts have two good options at Tight end as well in Coby Fleener and Dwayne Allen. The Colts’ defense isn’t spectacular but they do get elite pass rusher Robert Mathis back from injury this season. Vontae Davis has emerged as an elite cornerback in the NFL as well as help make the Colts’ secondary the strongest part of their defense. Maybe near the trade deadline they bring in someone else to help out that front seven. Even if they don’t, the Colts still have enough talent & potential to reach the Super Bowl and possibly win it all.

Houston Texans: The next best team in the division is the Texans but its not even a close race. The Texans do have a really good defense that contains a great front seven. Oh and don’t forget about JJ Watt. I think most people can agree he is the best player in the NFL right now. He did practically everything but play Quarterback for the Texans last year. But JJ Watt and this Texans defense can’t win many games on their own. The offense opening day will be lead by Brian Hoyer, not Ryan Mallet, as the starting quarterback. The Texans QB situation has just been a mess since the decline of Matt Schaub and Houston has not really been relevant since. Arian Foster is going to miss the first 4-6 games of the season too so they are already without their best offensive player. I think the Texans will be lucky to come away with 7 or 8 wins this season and miss the postseason for another year.

Tennessee Titans: Similar to the Texans, the Titans have been in a Quarterback carousel for a couple of years now. They hope they have found their answer in rookie quarterback out of Oregon, Marcus Mariota. Mariota is not surrounded by much talent as I’m sure he’s realized already. He’ll be sharing a backfield with Bishop Sankey & Dexter McCluster. His top targets are gunna be WRs Kendall Wright & Harry Douglas along with tight end Delanie Walker. Brian Orakpo, Jason McCourty, & Perrish Cox highlight the names they have on defense. Clear to say Tennessee is in rebuilding mode. Winning 3 to 5 games is what I predict the Titans will do.

Jacksonville Jaguars: The Jaguars too are in a rebuilding phase but are one step ahead of the Titans because they got their franchise quarterback last draft. Blake Bortles had a pretty decent rookie season considering the weapons he was given to work with. The Jaguars added another stud rookie this year in T.J. Yeldo, running back out of Alabama University. Jaguars also gave Bortles a legit threat at tight end in Julius Thomas from the Broncos. On the defensive side, not too many recognizable names. Paul Posluszny has quietly gone under the radar but is a really good middle linebacker. Jaguars would be happy to win 3 to 5 games and get another top 5 draft pick to keep rebuilding.

Philadelphia Eagles: You want to talk about overhauls, then look no further at what Chip Kelly has done with the Eagles. In 3 years as head coach of the Eagles, Chip Kelly has gotten rid of:(be ready this list is long) Desean Jackson, Trent Cole, Jeremy Maclin, Lesean McCoy, Nick Foles, Byrce Brown, Evan Mathis, Michael Vick, Kurt Coleman, Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie, Casey Mathews, Brandon Boykin, Cullen Jenkins, & Cary Williams. Phew that was a mouthful. Some Philly fans have faith in Chip Kelly trading for his own players, and others are a little skeptic and confused just like the rest of us are. Guys like McCoy & Desean Jackson I thought were perfect for that system. On to present day, the Eagles have a loaded offensive roster. Demarco Murray, Ryan Matthews, & Darren Sproles are all going to be sharing the load at running back. Sam Bradford is the new quarterback for this team and his main targets at WR will most likely be Jordan Matthews and Nelson Agholor. Miles Austin, Brett Celek, & Zach Ertz round up the other targets Mark Sanchez can throw too. Yes I said Mark Sanchez because Sam Bradford can’t stay healthy to save his life. On the defensive side the Eagles aren’t elite, but they do have a sneaky good defense. Conner Barwin, Kiko Alonso, Fletcher Cox, DeMeco Ryans, & Bryon Maxwell are some big names to keep an eye out for. Eagles will go as far as Sam Bradford stays healthy, if he plays all 16, Eagles can 11 or 12 games. But if Bradford misses significant time, I don’t see Mark Sanchez winning more than 5 games as a starter.

Washington Redskins: Remember when RG3 was good…yea neither do lots of people. It feels like ages ago when Robert Griffin III took the league by storm his rookie season. Since his ACL injury at the end of that season, RG3 simply has lost his magic and cannot stay healthy. This preseason, Redskins announced they are moving on with Kirk Cousins as their starting Quarterback. Looks like the RG3 era is done and so might be his career. Cousins has shined in some games coming off the bench and has great weapons to throw to in Desean Jackson, Pierre Garcon, Andre Roberts and Jordan Reed. If Cousins learns to stay within himself, this can be an above average offense. Washington’s defense is what fans should be worried about. They still have good Linebackers in Perry Riley Jr and Ryan Kerrigan but lost big time pass rusher Brian Orakpo. They brought in Chris Culliver, Dashon Goldson, Terrence Knighton, and Stephen Paea but the rest of this defense is still really young and inexperienced. This could be an ugly season for the Redskins. Best case scenario  I have them winning 5 games, but they should be looking forward to having a top 10 pick in this upcoming draft.

Dallas Cowboys: The Cowboys really surprised some people this off-season by not resigning Demarco Murray and not really addressing the need at the position. Looks like they have faith in Joseph Randle and Run DMC (Darren McFadden) to fill the void. This Offensive line is great, and Dez Bryant is a great WR as well, but without a balanced offensive attack I don’t think Romo can lead this team to the playoffs. On the defensive side Cowboys get back pro bowl Linebacker Sean Lee back from injury. Later in the season they also get both Greg Hardy & Rolando McClain back from suspensions. So this can be a really good defensive team in the second half of the season. They did lose cornerback Orlando Scandrick for the season which leaves a huge void in their secondary that Claiborne & rookie Byron Jones will look to fill. But without Demarco Murray I don’t see this Cowboys team winning more than 8 games. Good news for them is that might be good enough to win division depending on the health of Sam Bradford in Philly…

New York Giants: Eli Manning reminds me of Phillip Rivers (except Eli has rings), they both can be potentially really great quarterbacks but then have times where they look worse than Josh McCown. Eli Manning flat out has a really really good offense this year. Victor Cruz, Odell Beckham Jr. (who only needs three fingers to catch a football), Rueben Randle, Larry Donnell, and then Rashad Jennings, Shane Vereen & Andre Williams in the backfield. OBJ is the real deal out in New York as he took the league by storm last year. There should be no one but himself to blame if Eli can’t score 20 or more points a game with this team. New York’s defense does have some big question marks though. The front seven seems to be vulnerable especially if Jason Pierre Paul does not play for the Giants this season after a firework incident caused him to have a finger amputated. The secondary will have to carry this defense led by players like Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie & Prince Amukamara. Due to a lackluster defense, Giants win anywhere from 5-8 games this year which won’t be enough to top the Eagles or Cowboys for the Division.

New England Patriots: The AFC East should just be renamed the Patriots division am I right? Coming off a VERY lucky Super Bowl victory last season, Tom Brady and the Patriots look to duplicate their success. Tom Brady is also no longer suspended as he won his court case against the NFL for Deflate gate suspension. So the Patriots gets away with cheating (AGAIN) and have another controversial Super Bowl victory in their records. Patriots offense isn’t a concern this year and never will be as long as Brady & Gronk are still there. And minus the downgrade at Cornerback this year, the defense is still really good. I thought with Brady suspended a couple games this team would miss the playoffs, but now that he’ll be here all season, Patriots take the division (AGAIN) with 12 or 13 wins.

Miami Dolphins: I really wanted the Dolphins to win the division this year but seems unlikely now with Brady’s suspension overturned. They added  a whole lot of beef on defense in Ndamukong Suh. Add Suh to a Defensive line that already has Cameron Wake, Earl Mitchell, & Olivier Vernon…look out opposing Quarterbacks. On the offensive side Ryan Tannehill is loaded with weapons this year. I predict Lamar Miller will have a breakout year this season. Jarvis Landry, Greg Jennings, DeVante Parker, Jordan Cameron, & Kenny Stills round up the targets Tannehill will have the pleasure of getting the ball too this season. This Miami Dolphins team can win 10 games this year and possibly sneak into an AFC wild card spot.

New York Jets: Great new coach, great defense, great offesnive weapons…but no Quarterback. Geno Smith literally got knocked out by a teammate this summer that is going to sideline him until halfway through the season. So it looks like Ryan Fitzpatrick is the starter right now. He has weapons like Brandon Marshall, Eric Decker & Chris Ivory so this offense can score, but it won’t if Fitzpatrick plays like the Fitzpatrick of the past. The Jets’ defensive line is scary good and they also brought Revis & Cromartie back this offseason. With Todd Bowles as Head coach as well, this could be potentially a top 5 defense. Bottom line, Jets are only a 6 win team until they figure out their Quarterback situation out… *cough Jay Cutler cough*

Buffalo Bills: Great new coach, great defense, great offensive weapons…but no Quarterback. Sound familiar? Well it should because the Bills are almost in an identical situation as the Jets. Tyrod Taylor beat out both Matt Cassell & E.J. Manuel this preseason for the starting job. This offense is going to have a lot of speed with players like Lesean McCoy, Sammy Watkins, Charles Clay, & Percy Harvin. On defense, the only weak point is maybe at the Linebacker position since they traded away Kiko Alonso this offseason. All around, this defense has the potential to be a top 5 defense, just like the Jets, but the Bills will only win 6 games this year until they figure their quarterback situation out.

So now my playoff predictions and I’ll make this quick:

NFC Seedings: 1. Seattle, 2. Green Bay, 3. New Orleans, 4. Philadelphia, 5. Detroit, 6. Arizona.

Seattle & Green Bay in NFC Championship.

Seattle advances to Super Bowl.

AFC Seedings: 1. Indianapolis, 2. New England, 3. Kansas City, 4. Cincinnati, 5. Denver, 6. Dolphins.

Indy & Kansas City (shocks New England)

Indianapolis advances to Super Bowl.

Colts beat Seahawks in Super Bowl 26-22

 

Noah Alvarez is a DJ with KSSU Sacramento States only student run radio station.

The Ghost Inside/ Attila/ Volumes Album Reviews.


I want to take a moment and talk about some news albums that came out recently, and by recently I mean within the last six months. The Ghost Inside, Attila, and Volumes all dropped some heavy stuff and I checked out all their new albums. Holy snap crackle and pop, they were extravagant. The Ghost Inside with some hardcore melodies, Attila with their IDGAF in-your-face attitude, ad Volumes with a melodic change for the better.

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Once again, the Ghost Inside have proven themselves to be one of the leading bands in the hardcore scene. To all those who say they went “mainstream” and are not underground anymore, I say to you, screw that. If a band can make it big and get paid more so they can actually afford nice things instead of sticking to the underground and getting paid diddly squat for a run down apartment, I say go for it and get big. The first song “Avalanche” straight up pumps up the mood for everybody with a nice build up in the beginning and gang vocals to breakdown as a finisher. The debut song “Dear Youth” covers all aspects of a great song; powerful riffs, relatable lyrics, empowering breakdowns, and a harmony that is off the chain. Well done The Ghost Inside.

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First off, Attila is not a band meant to be taken as “meaningful” or important to your life goals. They are a party hard, DGAF kind of band with a new album called “Guilty Pleasure”. With a mix between brutal exhales and rapping, Fronz (vocalist) has multiple virtuoso moments throughout the song. Some tracks make me shake my head and say “what the heck is this” but tracks like “Guilty Pleasure” and “Horse Pig” get me throwing chairs and flipping tables. Again, they are not very deep and philosophical, but they kill it live. I speak from past experiences when i say they put on a fantastic show with lights, and 8O8 drops. This new album will take their concerts to the next level. I saw an Instagram video of a huge wall of death to one of their new songs and that is enough to convince me that this new album is worth purchasing.

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Last but certainly not least, Volumes. Volumes is a Djent band well-known for their breakdowns, but their album “No Sleep” was not what fans expected this album had a lot of lighter, more melodic tracks on it. Don’t get me wrong, the tracks are amazing and I am happy to hear that Volume’s use of music theory and desire to do less heavy music in their future, but Volumes received a lot of fire. In their song “The Mixture”, the lyrics say “you can have metal back” and in an interview, the vocalists said they are dropping from their label to pursue music on their own path. The album “No Sleep” is the first step in Volumes new style and wave of music, and I love every bit of it.

Thanks for reading, I am DJGingerbeard and to hear music from The Ghost Inside and Volumes (Attila is too vulgar) tune into my show “Shred the Gnar” every Thursday at 9am on http://www.kssu.com.

Ace of Spades: Venue For Great Live Experiences


So seeing the Dirty Heads live marked my eighth time going to Ace of Spades in Sacramento, Ca. Quite honestly… I am not sick of that place at all! Each experience was great and left me with no problem coming back for more. I’ve been to a wide variety of shows over at Ace of Spades, from a small crowd to sold out, hip-hop to rock, heavy to chill, indie to punk; you get the picture. Now, three and a half years and eight shows later, I want to share why Ace of Spades will always hold a special place in my heart.

5. The Layout

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Ace of Spades is essentially set up like a large disfigured diamond. With the main stage up against the corner, they utilize the rest of the floor space for good use. Facing the stage, on the left side is a 21+ section, for people that want to sit down. I haven’t been to that section due to my 21st birthday being in November, but from what I heard, it still provides a great view for those that want to be on that side. The second 21+ section is in the back, elevated on a second story. From back there, you have a bar and an overview of the whole venue. Facing the stage, on the right hand side, there’s a bar open to all. This is for the regular drinks and even the food items. A little overpriced on the food and drink items, but then again, what venue isn’t? The floor space is very open, great for crowds to go crazy and mosh or vibe to the music and chill. In the sold out shows that I went to and didn’t partake in a mosh pit, I had enough personal  space to myself. The stage itself is big enough to accommodate large bands and groups. There’s lights up top facing the stage and lights on the stage, which make for some great light shows. This might not seem like a big deal, but the bathrooms are big, and they’re always clean (at least for the times I needed to use it). The design itself is just great, with chandeliers hanging from the ceilings and red walls, the venue is appealing to the eye.

4. The Sound

aceI’m not sure if there is an in house sound person, or if every artist had their own, but Ace of Spades has been able to provide great sound either way. With some venues i’ve been to, the voice cannot be heard over the music. That or there was too much bass (I know there are some bass enthusiasts out there, but really, too much is too much). Over at Ace of Spades, the sound has always been crisp and well balanced, no matter where I was standing. Maybe I was just lucky enough to go to all the shows with great sound, but I never had a bad experience.

3. The Artists / Acts / Names

What’s great about Ace of Spades are the artists and bands that they bring to Sacramento. Without Ace of Spades, the only big artists that would come through Sacramento while on tour would be the big stadium performers, but since there’s Ace of Spades, some pretty big names have come to hit Ace. Bands such as Two Door Cinema Club, AWOL Nation, Motion city Soundtrack, Rebelution and  many more have come through. Rappers such as Snoop Dogg, Tech N9ne, Childish Gambino, Schoolboy Q, and many more has performed at Ace also. Even big random acts came to Ace of Spades such as Backstreet Boys and The Fray. It doesn’t stop either, more bands and artists will be hitting the stage soon. Just keep up with their calendar on their website!

2. Intimacy

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I hope you guys understand the context I’m using this word for. The venue is smaller than most, with high quality and big artists. Which means, no matter where you stand in the venue, you will always be close to your favorite artist! Even if you’re farther away from the stage, you’re still closer to them if you were to see the same artist at a music festival or stadium. Even then, you get to shove your way through to the front (even though that is frowned upon) if you’re a huge fan. No paid seating, no overpriced close area, every time, it’s general admission. Think about your favorite artist up close and performing your favorite song. It’s a great feeling. And the pictures/video can turn out great!

1. The… Crowd?

This might seem like a stretch and super subjective, but the crowds have always been great, and probably will keep being great. For each show that I went to, almost the whole crowd was into the show and artist, vibing out and singing along. You still have the stragglers that just stand there and do nothing, but that’s unavoidable. If you were to go to a stadium concert, you would have a good %40 of attendees not be real fans of the artists. Some would go, just to go. They would attend since it’s such a big event and they can put it all over social media.  Which means that some people have the nerve to be on their phone most of the time because they don’t really care of the live music going on in front of them. That or you’re a parent of a fan girl and/or boy. This may also be the case of attending a large music festival. You may be seeing your favorite artist live while you’re far away near people who don’t even know who is on stage. Why have all of that, when you can be close to the artist and be surrounded by fans who love them just as much as you do. It’s a great feeling, and Ace of Spades provides just that. Due to it being a smaller venue, the crowd who usually buys the tickets and sell out the show, are huge fans. At least, that’s how it was for me all the times I’ve gone..

So bottom line, if you’re near Sacramento, go to a show at Ace of Spades! If you live in Sacramento and haven’t gone yet, then well, shame on you. If Ace of Spades ever announces a new show you really would want to go to, do not hesitate and buy the tickets right away!

 

Jerel is a DJ with KSSU he plays the music and stuff.

CD Review for the “Script” by Oke Junior


So, I stumbled upon this artist in my Hip Hop music in Urban America class. Two weeks ago, in the beginning of class Oke was handing out CD’s to everyone that was walking into class or sitting in their seats. I decided to take one because I am always interested in hearing new underground music because that is one of the best ways to stay ahead of what is current in music, and secondly, I needed do an local music review for KSSU. I was very excited to listen Oke’s cd because I love hip hop music and another student in our class shouted him as good rapper, and Dj. So, I thought to myself this could be potentially a good find. On Saturday night, my boyfriend and I listen to Oke’s cd all the way through two weekends ago. Since my boyfriend and I are full time students and we both have jobs, we are extremely busy so we thought would be it better idea to listen to his cd while we were doing our homework. We listened to all of the 13 tracks on this cd, and one thing that initially stuck out to me was that all of the tracks were not clean or had profanity on each and every song that were not edited out. This was a bummer for me because I knew that KSSU cannot play his cd on the radio. Honestly, I do not mind it for my own personal taste, on the other hand up and coming artist that are trying to be successful in mainstream music needs to have some songs that are radio friendly. From what I took from his cd that he is trying to sound like mainstream hip hop or other rap artists that are pretty famous in commercialized hip hop.

I enjoyed listening to Oke’s cd because there some versatility on his cd, even though he had very mainstream sound. Some songs were pretty good for studying or driving in you car, or even for a house party playlist. I would describe his cd as a mixtape because some of his beats were borrowed from other artists and there some beats that I did not recognize, so I assumed that some beats were originals.   He choose great instrumentals to rap over, especially the beats that were from old 90’s R&B songs. I also liked his beat production choice that were originals because it seemed that he has a good ear for music and he is well versed in all types of music styles. I thought he had great flow and his lyrical content was decent. With that being said I wish his lyrical topics were more expansive and so repetitive. This is where I felt his music was going the direction being mainstream. My favorite tracks were track 3, 6, and 8. Track 3 was very mellow and easy to zone out to. However, track 6 is party song it made want to go out to a house party, the club or just dance in my room and track 8 was also a party song too. Overall Oke has talent and he is good rap artist. With more years of practice I believe he will be recognized in the mainstream hip hop world.

Well this raps up my music review for Oke, I will writing posting another music blog for Cierra Lynne next week. Thank you for reading my blog and remember to catch my radio show called Spectrum on kssu.com from 8-9pm.

Remember to stay funky in anything that you do.

Peace,

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Music Review: “Clppng” by Clipping.


clipping-clppng-2500pxLike many other genres, hip hop in its truest sense has been under a transformation over the last few years.  All genres are experiencing change.  Country has changed big time over the last five to ten years.  Indie music and culture has also changed.  It would also make sense that hip hop has changed.  But don’t get me wrong, you still have your good ole fashion hip hop out there to be had.  And much of it is still being produced, thankfully.

However, hip hop has seen a large infusion of EDM.  EDM being the flavor of the decade, it has seeped into pop music, a little bit of country, and now hip hop too. This isn’t to say that electronica just now got into hip hop, as we have always seen electronica of the old sense in hip hop.  However, if you were to listen to “Dip” by Danny Brown, or just anything referred to as trap music, you hear the new age electronica with its various elements of dubstep, house, and techno, with modern day samplings and synths all wrapped together. [Read more…]

Music Review: Buddakao – “Hand Over Hand”


buddakao_album_front_cleanEvery summer, I get be the beneficiary of being one of the primary reviewers of the music that might make its way into rotation.  In my most recent batch of music, I heard the unique sound of Buddakao, an alternative/hip hop four-piece band from Minneapolis, Minnesota.  The band is fronted by Mike Athorn, a.k.a. Buddakao.  Joining him is Tom Woodling, Alex Kim, and Matthew Keseley.

The latest album from Buddakao is “Hand Over Hand”.  They say you shouldn’t judge a book by its cover, but I always set up expectations of how good or bad an album may be based off the cover.  However, the album cover for “Hand Over Hand” really gave me no indicator on what to expect. [Read more…]

Die Antwoord


die antwoordDie Antwoord (Afrikaans: “The Answer”) are a South African hip hop trio consisting of Ninja (Watkin Tudor Jones), Yolandi, and their music producer DJ Hi-Tek. Their music producer seems to be played by various people throughout their music video’s. They released $O$ in 2009, and in 2011 they formed their own record label Zef Recordz. Zef being described by Yolandi as, “It’s associated with people who soup their cars up and rock gold and s***. Zef is, you’re poor but you’re fancy. You’re poor but you’re sexy, you’ve got style.” In 2012 they released their second album Ten$Ion.

[Read more…]