New releases create soundtrack for students
As students returned to Davis for Fall Quarter, the fourth quarter of the music industry began. This quarter saw albums from many highly-anticipated artists, giving students a background playlist for their quarter. While this quarter didn’t seem to have many popular new anthems (other than “thank u, next” by Ariana Grande and “Mo Bamba” by Shek Wes), the amount of musical content released was enough to give everyone something new to listen to every day.
September 14: Following her release of “Telefone” in July 2016, Noname grew popular for her smooth jazzy rap that often times follows a spoken word style. As a long time friend and collaborator of Chance the Rapper, and the rest of the Chicago rap scene, Noname’s first album “Room 25” was met by fans who knew her from her previous mixtapes and features. It was incredibly well-received for its cohesive depth and beautiful sound. As many students began to return to Davis, Noname introduced important new lyrics and themes in the usual understated, yet profound style (and experience) that is her music.
In an interview with Rolling Stone, Noname expressed the difference between her two albums as reflective of a more personal transition in her life.
“When I put out ‘Telefone,’” I was in a very different place in my life, Noname said. “My responsibilities were drastically less than the things I’m responsible for now. ‘Telefone’ feels very youthful and bubbly to me. This is a lot more serious than the last one.”
This album was both a personal and political expression of Noname’s emotional state when writing it, while still following the same lyrical depth and flow that Noname has always put into her music, and was thought provoking in its honesty and vulnerability.
September 21: Having released various hit singles throughout the summer, BROCKHAMPTON released the album “Iridescence,” in late September. The project featured a less cohesive and organized sound than their “Saturation” trilogy which dominated 2017. However, this album was exciting for its aggression and loudness that allows for listeners to turn it all the way up and drown out everything else. BROCKHAMPTON, a musical collective that prefers and pushes people to call them a boy band, has an extremely loyal fan base that respects and understands the importance of the rap group’s constant experimentation and pushing of boundaries. While there are mixed sentiments about this album compared to the “Saturation” trilogy, the energy and attention that it received testified to the relevance of the unique sound and style that is BROCKHAMPTON.
October 12: Ella Mai debuted her self-titled first album “Ella Mai,” after her catchy and relatable singles like “Boo’d Up” and “Trip” brought her to the attention of many listeners. As a new artist, Mai provided listeners with a similar sound that her singles had but expanded and deepened her lyrics, introducing her style in a manner that had not been displayed on her singles. Produced by DJ Mustard, “Ella Mai” provided a synthesis of ’90s R&B and pop-like lyrics that introduced herself as an artist that would have risen to fame with the likes of Rihanna and Jordan Sparks in the early 2000’s. This album was both nostalgic and present, and was an exciting debut that could appeal to many different tastes.
November 2: When Long Beach rapper Vince Staples dropped “FM!” in November, which features songs like “Feels like Summer” and “Outside,” there was an intentional element of retrospect to the album. Staples’ choice to drop what came across like a summer album at the beginning of fall is an example of his uniqueness. The album totals at 11 songs and 22 minutes, but each song, lyric and creative choice serves to highlight Staples’ rap voice. In an article by NPR, titled “Vince Staples’ ‘FM!’ Is A Potent Critique Of How We Consume Black Art (And It Slaps!),” Staples is appreciated and praised for his album as another great example of his genius in his ability to present the truth and rawness of his own experience. While Staples has mentioned many times his disregard for how his music is perceived, it’s in this honesty and individuality that ironically continues to amass a cult following for Staples.
November 16: Released in the heart of UC Davis’ two-week closure, “Oxnard” by Anderson .Paak follows his extremely popular and beloved album “Malibu” and did not disappoint fans. Anderson .Paak’s tribute to California and Oxnard is echoed and amplified with features from other Los Angeles-based artists such as Kendrick Lamar, Dr. Dre, Snoop Dogg and Sonyae Elise. Anderson .Paak’s distinct voice and funky sound, like most of the albums mentioned, confronted the current political climate with his lyrics and stylistic choices.
November 26: Signed to J. Cole’s Dreamville Records and a member of Earthgang’s musical collective Spillage Village, J.I.D released his debut album “The Never Story,” which grew popular for its raw talent and lyrical flow, back in March of 2017. “DiCaprio 2” continued the catchiness and craftiness that J.I.D is known for, further cementing him as a rapper whose career is only just beginning. J.I.D’s flow on “DiCaprio 2” is an excellent follow-up to the excitement and talent of “The Never Story” that both expands and further solidifies J.I.D’s masterful sound. This album was a great release for the end of the quarter, exciting and reminding listeners of all the new talent and music yet to come in 2018.
In December, both hip-hop and alternative music fans alike can look forward to the releases of Earl Sweatshirt’s “Some Rap Songs,” Meek Mill’s “Championships,” The 1975’s “A Brief Inquiry Into Online Relationships,” and Gucci Mane’s “Evil Genius.”
Written by: Rosie Schwarz — firstname.lastname@example.org