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Kanye West – DONDA Album Review

After many a speculation and many a postponement, Kanye West has returned in notable fashion with DONDA.

His tenth studio album after 2019’s JESUS IS KING, DONDA comes with controversy, speculation and ample amounts of doubt whether or not it would actually be released at all.

But it dropped this Friday just gone. Whether or not Kanye agreed to the release or not – as it was later confirmed he had no hand in it after the label Universal themselves released the 27-part exploration – certainly puts a big question mark on Kanye’s mindset, creativity and mental state as he ventures into this album.

With no pre-released singles amping up the album itself, the arrival of the esteemed album was hyped up as it is, especially as Kanye reportedly lived inside Atlanta Stadium to finish off DONDA with many avid, life-long producers abandoning West mid-production as he had become simply unbearable to be around.

The uncontrollable mess of affairs that led up to this album, is certainly prevalent when first listening to this one. Truth to be told, it’s an album that is okay. With a fairly similar trope of skipping through songs at the end, DONDA have a few stand-out songs that brings out back the Yeezus Kanye of our time. A particularly dark and ambient feel throughout, DONDA features the eutrophic choral anthems that we heard a lot through JESUS IS KING in 2019.

Marked as a gospel album or not, there are some songs that spark a flair of the brilliant from West and certainly a worthy tribute to his late mother, which the album is named after.

Jail, Hurricane and Jonah become first favourites for me, as Kanye looks to God more and more as his personal life seemingly crumbles around him. But, Kanye isn’t just a music artist. He is a critically lauded artist who creates movements. Movements in every aspect of music, culture and entertainment. Whether or not it discourages you from listening to Kayne again, it’s certainly worth the listen. Maybe even starting to understand Kanye again after his most recent divorce with Kim. Since he professed his love to her in Yeezus, it has clearly shook him up good.

This elusive work – although features many more trap beats than Kayne would normally allow past first – is a marvellous gorge into Kayne’s creativity-process. Get to know every chapter so far. All 27 of them.

DONDA RELEASED BY UNIVERSAL WITHOUT MY SAY, ARTIST CLAIMS.

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Happy World Music Day 2021!

21st June: Happy World Music Day!

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Link: The unsung musicians of India

As a day to encourage young musicians and young learners from every community and every city to perform outside, World Music Day has returned today on the 21st June. Celebrated with over 120 countries worldwide, it’s a fantastic sight to see as musicians across the globe pick up their instruments, sharpen their vocals and simply play, perform and just enjoy themselves simply for the love of music.

Despite the pandemic restricting a lot of events to showcase our love of music outside, there’s been plenty of community collaboration and live performances done solely online. Emphatic music works have been going on since the early hours of this morning and despite us being confined to our time zones witnessing live music first-hand, we are undoubtedly drawn together with our love for music.

So, despite the often rare fanatic exploration of World Music annually, take some time out today – no matter how long you have left of the Monday – … and enjoy some music that is culturally, and artistically, inspiring.

You can view some fantastic performances below!

Thanks folks x

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The Brit Awards 2021: What Happened?

Weak punchlines, awkward moments, chaotic introductions and female artists stealing the show, the Brit Awards 2021 had all types of funny and momentous occasions.

Despite popularity trumping musicality with these award shows, it’s still a good laugh and a watch from all things current in the music industry.

With the controversial work of Jack Whitehall returning to host the show again for the third year in a row, the show was flux with jokes that failed to hit the mark, jokes that trump a snort or chortle, or jokes that didn’t catch on at all. But despite the awkward moments with the socially distanced audiences, and flight-testing COVID-friendly live performances, the award show allowed us to delve a little deeper into what we should expect post-lockdown for our live music industry.

Lapping up the fame and notoriety of powerful women in the music industry, Dua Lipa, Little Mix, Taylor Swift, Billie Eilish and HAIM all made stellar appearances for Best British Group, Best British Album, Best International Group and International accolades that trifled a new domination, the Global Icon award, where previous winners have been Bowie and Elton John.

As they fed off male counterparts with the likes of The 1975 and Biffy Clyro, they made a point to prove for their cultural impact with their music – and rightly so.

Swift and Lipa also both discussed within their speeches, the power of stepping up and rising against resistance from those before them. The iconic moment captured, and taken aboard as every single woman up and down the country effortlessly echo and agree their words.

After the sham of The Grammys, Awards for the Brits wanted to get on the good side of chart-topping electro-pop maestro, The Weeknd as he collected his Best International Male Artist while singing in the rain with his song, Save Your Tears, pre-recorded due to the inability to fly outside the Green Zone into and out of the United States.

The rising scenes of drill music also made an appeareance with J Hus and Headie One making fantastic live show performances and appearances at the awards show, demonstrating just how unique and varied our music scene really is.

Fashion-favourite and pop-lovin’ soloist, Harry Styles swept up the surprises with him taking home the Best British Single with Watermelon Sugar, whilst my favourite artist from the year, Arlo Parks got the fantastic praise she deserves by winning Breakthrough Artist for the year.

My top wtf moments from this year has to be the incontrollable use of ITV’s decision to mute the audio on some explicable language – despite it being past the watermark hour of 9pm. Whitehall made them hit the button a fair few times with him celebrating the majority of the audience being made up of our key workers – and the “corporate wankers” to boot in the boxes too. Capaldi also was a favourite of the mute, as his off-the-cuff introduction speech was simply hilarious and ridiculous at the same time.

“Hello motherfuckers! Listen guys… I’m fucking sweating – it’s like a swamp down there, I’m telling you. Sweaty bollocks.”

In an attempt to follow the controversial steeds of Oasis before him, he certainly made it more entertaining to watch nearing the final strands of the 2-and-a-half runtime of the show.

All in all, it was somewhat of a showing of what British music has to offer and really shows just how iconic and varied our scenes really are. Despite the fact that there are thousands more artists who create more compelling music than those who won but … popularity trumps musicality with these awards shows.

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Embracing Change in Music

Do you ever feel like you go through the same old music catalogues, playlists and albums day-in and day-out?

Do you have that feeling of drought with your musical palette? Well, fret not, for I have a proposition.

Why not listen to something other than what you’re used to?

Be it a genre you’re not familiar with or an artist you dread, stick it on and delve into the plethora of the unknown. Even if it just for an hour and you come away with a little bit of knowledge about something you didn’t know an hour ago, that is equally fine.

For me, I’ve recently been diving into the classics of hip-hop, rap and more importantly, the mysteries with the likes of Tupac Shakur and Biggie Smalls.

Notorious in not just their alter-personas as international music artists, but notorious for their sounds they made and their power-house profile it brought to the scenes of East Coast hip-hop and “Gangsta rap”. Although they were taken from us by a scenario we’re all too familiar with, within the crevices of America, the sheer impact they had with us in the world paints us a picture how iconic these two were and are.

Of course, this led on to the mightiest who are still mighty in their corresponding leagues – Eminem, Jay-Z and Kanye.

So for today’s Sunday – where I usually request for you to take out your favourite Sunday chill playlist with your morning (or afternoon) coffee, instead, listen to something different and learn something new along the way.

Hope your week upcoming is just as prosperous, folks. Take care of yourselves.

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The Rise of UK Grime: Dave + Ghetts

From the plethora of artists, Giggs, Skepta, Stormzy, Dave and Ghetts, with mystical melancholy and lyrical anguish, the genre of Grime has blown up the UK music scene. Since the stardom of young ‘un, Dave – who made ‘PSYCHODRAMA’ the fastest streamed British rap album of all time – we soon began to see the strength of grime as a genre with the bold, brash and equally deep emotionally.

Dave‘s PSYCHODRAMA

Dave performing Black at The Brits 2020

Emphatically powerful and lyrically demanding, Dave‘s Location triumphed with the unexpected – soothing piano and trailing brass that bordered the genre of the distant cousin, jazz rap. With Black – and his performance of the same song at The Brits in 2020 – shining a sombre light on inequality and Environment telling a tragic tale on divide (as opposed to the strength of unity), Dave soon become embellished as an avid story-teller among deep, profound lyricism that was driving the elements of grime to another level.

Ghett‘s Conflict of Interest

Grime Team Up: Ghetts and Giggs

Week earlier on the 19th, we saw the depths and growth of Ghetts, as his pure talent for rich lyricism grows and shows the plausibility of breaking barriers – and breaking records. Recently signed to Warner, GhettsConflict of Interest leads the pack with rifles, Fine Wine, Dead To Me and 10,000 Tears. Now, regardless of whether the independency of Grime requires the wealth of the largest record labels to succeed, Ghetts’ unusually beautiful arrangements and diverse array of supporting cast has allowed him to develop another component into the ever-growing machine of Grime in the UK.

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“When I signed to Warner, my brudda. I was already me.”Fine Wine, Ghetts (2021)

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These two class acts show the meteoric rise and hierarchy of importance where grime falls in the music industry.

The mellow of rhymes placed from both Dave and Ghetts has allowed a more diverse array of a fanbase to listen, as opposed to their rampant spitting of angst in prior records at the start of their careers.

Stormzy. Skepta. Giggs. Dave. Ghetts. Grime has never looked so strong.

Who will be next championed in to the scene?