A few years ago, we got really into a young singer named Skyler Stonestreet, who was running the table in several of our monthly channels and ended up winning the opportunity to track a song, “Out to Sea,” at L.A.’s Sanctum Sound Studios.
Stonestreet has now joined forces with another great talent, Kat Ostenberg, to form SIREN. The duo signed to Warner Bros. this summer and debuted their single “I Think I Like You.”
Today, they dropped “Kanye,” a tremendously infectious single produced by The Chainsmokers, whose own track “#SELFIE” became a big smash earlier this year. “Kanye” is actually released as The Chainsmokers feat. SIREN.
If you like your sweet indie pop with a lot more hip-hop, you are going to love this shit.
Amid the avalanche of criticism aimed at Kanye West’s over-the-top, obviously green-screened, naked Kim Kardashian-featuring, fake motorcycle-riding new video for “Bound 2,” is one common complaint that just keeps recurring: the video is too damn cheesy.
And, yes, it is. Yes, it’s the visual equivalent of a romance novel you’d find in the supermarket checkout line, or a drunkenly ill-conceived artistic partnership between Lisa Frank and Thomas Kinkade. But, of course, when a video is this incredibly kitschy, it’s usually a signal that the people who created it must have done so intentionally. Other than a basic lack of self-awareness on the part of the director and star, how else could you explain why an idea so cheesy is executed so gleefully and without restraint?
And if you look at it as intentional, then maybe it’s possible to see the the video as a deliberately corny ode to the feeling of falling in love, to the understanding that the cheesy and stupid emotions that you never thought would ever possess you can be both surprisingly real and frighteningly in the driver’s seat when it comes to your decision-making; that the cheesiness of those emotions actually isn’t fabricated, but real, and might in fact be the only thing really worth championing in a world where so much else is fake and manufactured. This might explain why cheap green-screening takes the center stage in the video: as the visual equivalent of the inherent corniness that real, uncool, stupid-looking human love entails.
But, of course, according to Kanye, that’s not what he means. In an interview yesterday with The Breakfast Club on New York’s Power 105 FM, Kanye stated straightforwardly that his intention with the video was “to show you that this is The Hunger Games. I want to show you that this is the type of imagery that’s being presented to all of us, and the only difference is a black dude in the middle of it. Admittedly, this is a pretty vague statement, but his remarks later on in the interview clarify his position a bit, as he goes on to say: “We’re enslaved by brands¦We’re controlled by peer pressure. We’re controlled by the desire for a particular car.”
Kanye West showed up and gave a quick talk to students at Harvard University’s Graduate School of Design before a show in Boston over the weekend. He was accompanied by Virgil Abloh, creative director of DONDA, Kanye’s experimental design agency, which is sponsoring a lecture series.
Few people have the knack for sounding this thoughtful and completely off-the-wall at the same time. First, he gives everyone tickets for the show, which is nice, and then goes on to say that he believes the world can be saved through design, which, sure, obviously, and then expands upon that idea, extolling the virtues of independent thinking:
I believe that utopia is actually possible when we’re led by the least by the least knowable, the least dignified, the least tasteful, the dumbest, and the most political…so…in no way am I a politician…I’m usually at my best politically incorrect [LAUGHTER] and very direct. I really appreciate you guys’ willingness to learn and hone your craft, and not be lazy about creation.
Kanye is magical. Here’s video.
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Nobody can talk about grassroots success like Canadian hip-hop artist Classified, who has been blazing his own independent trail since 1995. The emcee and producer has toured with the likes of Nas, Wu-Tang Clan, and Busta Rhymes, and has sold over 100,000 albums in Canada alone. Oh, and that awesome song in Madden ’12, “That Ain’t Classy?” Yeah, that was him. We sat down with one of the biggest names in Canadian hip-hop to chat about the Nova Scotian scene, his production styles, and his love/hate relationship with Kanye.
OS: What’s the Nova Scotian hip-hop scene like?
Classified: The scene is very Nova Scotian [laughs]. If you’re down here and you’re involved in the scene, you know what’s going on. You can go to the shows and check it out. But besides me and maybe two other guys, there aren’t many guys getting past just Nova Scotia to even the rest of Canada. We’re very secluded. We don’t get as many shows as they draw in Montreal or Vancouver. But it’s a dope scene. There’s been great artists coming out of here since ’95, when I started. People putting out albums, putting out their viral videos and stuff. It just still seems like a lot of people in the rest of the world haven’t been exposed to it because a lot of the artists aren’t pushing their stuff that hard. But really dope scene, great DJs, breakers, graff writers, emcees. (more…)
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