Music, Review

Picking up..Shy Girls

February 22, 2017 • By

While his stage name sounds like a tag that may appear at the bottom of an article in Cosmopolitan, singer-songwriter, and producer Dan Vidmar is anything but shy. His debut album Salt is full of the same intimacy and seduction as his 2013 EP Timeshare, but with noticeably more confidence in his vocal abilities. This is immediately made clear, giving listeners a hint of what’s to come, with the melodious humming on ‘Intro’ and later, on full view, with a wailing falsetto that brings ‘I Am Only A Man’ to a fantastic finish.

A mixture of Pop, R&B, and Electronic, this album has something for everybody. Songs like ‘Trivial Motion’ and ‘Say You Will’ have distinct pop influences. While both songs are catchy and just the right amount of fun, they aren’t anything spectacular that we haven’t heard from the genre before. On the other hand, ‘What If I Can’ is an energetic mix of electronic and R&B with sultry lyrics on top. However, Vidmar also knows how to slow it down with songs like ‘Time (Hell Won’t Wait for Us)‘ and ‘You Like The Pain Too’. The former is a somewhat nihilistic song that focuses on the theme of time and its fleeting nature, while the latter is an earnest love song about the ways we hurt one another to keep our dying relationships alive.

As for debuts, Salt is pretty solid. Of course, there could be some improvements. At least two of the ten songs, while not bad to listen to, are repetitive and the album doesn’t seem to climax at any point. However, the beautiful piano verses, dramatic synths, moody atmosphere, and Shy Girls’ delivery creates a comprehensive 33-minute album that sounds more like a long poem that can be listened to over and over. It’s an honest and revealing piece of art that’s indicative of a promising future for Shy Girls.

Listen to it for yourself on Spotify.

everyday thoughts, Sports

We Talkin Bout Practice?!

February 17, 2017 • By

“I mean, listen, we’re talking about practice. Not a game! Not a game! Not a game! We’re talking about practice. Not a game; not the game that I go out there and die for and play every game like it’s my last, not the game, we’re talking about practice, man. I mean, how silly is that? We’re talking about practice. I know I’m supposed to be there, I know I’m supposed to lead by example, I know that. And I’m not shoving it aside like it doesn’t mean anything. I know it’s important. I do. I honestly do. But we’re talking about practice, man. What are we talking about? Practice? We’re talking about practice, man!”

Allen Iverson’s mid-2000’s post game rant was deeper than rap if you do your research. His outlook on practice was very direct because more important things were occurring in his life at that time. But no matter what the issue is, a practice can never be overlooked. After all, it’s the foundation for a successful journey.

In an 82 season game, NBA stars have thousands upon thousands of practice sessions. This isn’t including training, conditioning, and tedious film sessions. All of this “practice,” for 82 games. The mere act of practice builds confidence and it ensures that in case anything goes wrong, the blueprint is there to go back over again. Don’t overlook practice. It’s a necessary evil if you’re on the quest to become a master at your craft.

Even if we’re only talking about practice.





Art, Fashion, Interview, Photography

Pictures Worth a Thousand Words: Bree Gant

February 15, 2017 • By

Bree Gant is a renowned photographer who has been featured in Fader Magazine, Metro Times, Essence Magazine and more. She is known for her projects like Lost and Crowned, work with Rock City Lookbook, and helping many artists ideas come to life.

With an eye for fashion, a creative will, and a drive to bring beautiful diasporas to life, Gant has not only been making a mark in the photography world but every art world in between. She has a plethora of amazing ideas and is not afraid to do whatever she has to, including riding with Aunt Ddot to do so. Gant continues to show the world the beauty she sees within her camera lens, and personally, I cannot get enough.

What inspired you to become a photographer?

My dad got me a pink Fujifilm point and shoot digital camera when I graduated from Cass. I got to Howard and never put it down. A friend at the University paper suggested me for the photo department and within the semester I was Photo Editor. I started blogging portraits of students on campus, and the opportunities just kept coming. I found not just an audience, but a mutual support system in women of color across the diaspora, and the world. We were in need of a new reflection of ourselves. My photos allowed me to communicate across time and space. I felt so powerful and when other Black women told me they felt the same just experiencing my work, I knew I could never give this up.

You are also a stylist; does that make your job as a photographer easier or harder?

I’m not a stylist. I’m glad you mentioned this because a lot of people think I am. I love aesthetics and adornment and fashion. I’m actively exploring my style, and even doing a little sewing these days. Having an eye for fashion definitely helps when shooting, though–especially with portraiture. It also really helps to work with dope professionals like Stephanie Blair and Lord Tini 🙂

You are a black female who is also openly queer, how do you think those elements of yourself influence your work?

It makes everything about politics, for one–whether I want it to or not. I remember going to an artist talk while I was in undergrad and hearing a white hipster chick who did embroidery in southeast DC say the phrase ‘art for art’s sake’ and mention how she keeps politics out of her work. I was heated. At the time, I thought it was because she didn’t use her work to make a statement and because gentrification was suffocating Chocolate City, and this white girl who landed a funded residency in the hood thought politics had nothing to do with her art. Later I realized I resented her ability to choose, or maybe her agency in choosing. ‘Art for art’s sake’ sounded like a fantasy to me. I never politicized my work. If I’m being honest I never even identified as a lesbian, even though half of campus thought I was. All I ever did was what I wanted to do, and let the pieces fall where they may. But one day I started carrying other people’s pieces…I guess the influence has been how to manage that weight, what it looks like to manage the weight of the world.

Art, Entertainment, Film, Music

What was all the Hype about?: What is Rap without Hype Williams

February 13, 2017 • By

Harold Hype Williams, who was born in Queens, is one of hip-hops most favored directors, like you can’t deny it. I feel as though we don’t celebrate him enough for everything he has done for the culture. C’mon, let’s think back to videos that demanded our attention almost immediately.  Hype gave us some of thee flyest visuals since the early 90’s. He taught us technique and used his skills from tagging to inspire his vibrant and bold ways of expression in his work.

I feel Hype Williams found his niche when he began working with fish-eyed lens and pairing it with a sort of cashy and cosmic aesthetic. The man made a trashbag look like gold in Missy Elliot’s Supa Dupa Fly video. Everything about this feature had various artist look like superheroes from the year 2046 who occasionally drenched themselves in a ton money. Being young I was able to enjoy his creations because of how animated they all were without caring to understand what was being said or depicted. Which, naturally, as time passed helped bury classics into my memory.

After a streak of very successful videos and a number of awards such as The Best Director Awards from Billboard (1996), The NAACP Image Award (1997), The Music Video Production Association Award for Black Music Achievement (1997) and more, Williams birthed Belly in 1998 and added some rawness with help of a few angles. Despite the acting, that people for whatever reason make the biggest deal of, the cinematics are strong. Williams made sure a statement was being made with every transition. Belly is like, duh, a staple in his career.

Druglord life looked crazy cool after an hour and 30 minutes. I was so close to being that same 12-year-old shortie with the empty life pushing what may end my existence. Yeah, Hype did that. Point me to the nearest bench and puffy coat.

Music, Review

Sampha Let’s Us Into His World With Debut Album, “Process”

February 13, 2017 • By

Bygone times within music tells us that while the superstar may be in the limelight, the supporting cast is just as important. The people considered to be in the “background” are masterminds in their craft. This is why the music that we hear from our favorite artists is so transparent and memorable. There would be no early Janet Jackson records without the production of Jimmy Jam and Terry Lewis. Nas was already ahead of his time, but the production of DJ Premier and Pete Rock pushed him into God MC status before he could legally purchase Hennessy. An artist is nothing without a solid music collective behind them.

This leads into the journey of British singer-songwriter, “Sampha.” While you may not recognize his name, you definitely recognize his voice. He was the person that you heard on “Too Much,” by Drake back in 2013, and “The Motion.” Also, if you listen closely, you hear him perfectly complement Solange on “Don’t Touch My Hair.”

“Process” is the name of Sampha’s debut album. It features 10 tracks that explain some of the diverse aspects of his journey over the past few years. I’ve dived into a few tracks myself and I am thoroughly impressed. Check it out for yourself.

Listen to “Process” on Spotify.


Kelis, The Underrated Legend

February 6, 2017 • By

When you hear the name Kelis, you probably associate it with her most popular songs like Milkshake, Bossy, and Caught Out There. You think of her curly hair, eccentric lyrics, and effortless swag. Truth is, barely any of us give this star the credit she deserves, though. Kelis pioneered the weird, funky, and futuristic looks and music many artists today have made popular.

Kelis found her way into our hearts by letting us know we aren’t the only ones who want to scream “I HATE YOU SO MUCH RIGHT NOW” with her cotton candy hair and haunting video where she commits domestic violence on her cheating ass boyfriend (not a good idea people, it was just a video). Her music has its own style. She almost always tuned up with the super producer group The Neptunes and created absolute magic.

Her songs like “Bossy”, “Sugar Honey Iced Tea”, and “Young Fresh N New”, could come out today and we would never know they were from albums that are about 10 years old.