But seriously. What are you doing? If you have yet to catch an episode of Shark Week on Discovery Channel, at least celebrate with a shark week inspired playlist. The new playlist, released by Columbia Records, includes a variety of songs like Pharrell’s new track “Freedom” and Calvin Harris & Big Sean’s hit “Open Wide.” The playlist is sure to have you jammin’ out on the beach like Katy Perry’s Left Shark, so take a listen for yourself.
Los 5 has made it to the top without even being signed. This is a credit to their infectious sound. The Latino pop group, all born in Mexico/Argentina, began making their mark in the U.S. after releasing their single “Manaña.” If you haven’t caught Los 5’s music bumpin’ on SiriusXM yet, you have probably heard them playing live shows and opening up for large artists like Fifth Harmony. Their ear catching music and good looks are even gaining them serious fan girl attention, which is well deserved. “Manaña” is easily the top-pick jam that will be hitting all the summer playlists faster than you can say “Me encanta!”
In a sure fire summer song, check out their latest single, “Manaña” from the Latin pop group. Also we put together a small summertime playlist to get you in the mood for lounging out by the pool sipping on refreshing beverages.
At.Long.Last.A$AP is A$AP Rocky’s first album as an established rapper. In the obvious sense of that statement, the album is Rocky’s second major label LP, and first after a breakout 2013 that featuring a hugely successful album and a monster single. In another sense, this album serves as Rocky’s chance to prove that he’s not like other rappers classified under trap rap, a genre that’s hit or miss at best.
A$AP Rocky knows this, and addresses it through the first track of the album. On “Holy Ghost”, A$AP spits “Satan’s givin’ out deals, finna own these rappers, the game is full of slaves and they mostly rappers”, setting himself apart from the obvious materialism that’s associated with mainstream rap today. “Holy Ghost”, along with the next three tracks on the album, open the listener up to A$AP’s hazy, acid-soaked world; his rise to and subsequent embracement of newfound fame. “L$D”, an honest love song to a drug that heavily influenced the album, also acts as Rocky admitting his love for his new life without obnoxiously boastful lyrics.
Throughout the album, Rocky balances out this new life by addressing his past, an angle that’s becoming more and more common in hip-hop (most notably through Kendrick Lamar). The one-two-punch of “Max B” and “Pharsyde” slows the album down to a thoughtful pause as the listener wades through intense lyrics and live instrumentation. The latter, one of four tracks produced by hip-hop and rock genius Danger Mouse, features some of the album’s most intense imagery. Rocky raps “back in my younger days or razor blades with gangs who bang and never stood a chance” over an eerie beat like an aged war veteran, but as he states, “If you seen the s**t that I’d have seen in 26 years of livin’, that’s how many f**ks I’ve given”.
A.L.L.A does offer a few less-introspective and club-focused tracks. “Electric Body”, which features an intense Schoolboy Q verse, and “M’$” contrast the albums slower moments with faster and louder ones. But At.Long.Last.A$AP isn’t complete without a few missteps. A rare subpar Kanye verse on the Ye-produced “Jukebox Joints” ends a song with beautiful production and great A$AP verses on a less-exciting note. Weak tracks include “Everyday” and “Excuse Me”, which interrupt a couple of great track-runs.
And of course, it’s hard to think about A$AP Rocky without taking a moment to consider the recent death of A$AP Mob founder, A$AP Yams. The final track of the album, “Back Home” features a postmortem Yams monologue that ends with a proud, yet slightly bittersweet “A$AP B***H!”. Both a fitting end to the album and a necessary final goodbye, Rocky honors Yams’ life without focusing too much on his death.
On this album, Rocky does exactly what he needs to in order to remain relevant: he distinguishes himself and his sound, uses heavier subject matter, and continues to work with and learn from a group of legendary features and producers. While it’s not perfect, At.Long.Last.A$AP proves that Rocky is one of the more interesting mainstream rappers today, and one who’s best years are hopefully ahead of him.
With countless artists releasing new material and making waves, this year has undoubtedly been impressive for the quickly growing State College music scene. However, not many can parallel the success of Stuart Little, the hip-hop trio that just released their third single, “Let’s See.”
The story begins last year in Stuart Hall, where then freshmen floormates Joe Woodson and Mike Druhot met. They quickly began to record music together under the name Didier & SMG. With influences from Childish Gambino and Chance the Rapper,heir music began to attract attention This past October they were invited to audition for the newly formed Happy Valley Music Label (HVML), the latest addition to an ever-growing roster of music-centered student organizations in Penn State’s DIY scene. Performing with only two microphones and prerecorded music on an iPhone, Stuart Little’s sound left a lasting impression on the HVML and the duo was signed to the label.
As the year progressed, the duo continued to evolve by changing their name and developing their sound. The most notable change came in the form of singer and fellow sophomore Leah Anderson, who was added to the mix this year. Her clean and powerful vocals provide balance and contrast to Woodson and Druhot and take their sound to a new level.
Despite it being their first official show with all three current members, Stuart Little was definitely a crowd pleaser at Movin’ On’s Battle of the Bands this year. As the audience surged forward to get as close as possible to the front of the stage, any doubts regarding their future in Penn State’s music scene were quickly resolved. Since then, the trio has appeared on PSNTV and played a multitude of shows, including an event for Penn State’s Homecoming Legacy Celebration.
“Let’s See” is a step in a different direction for Stuart Little as they continue to evolve as a group. The instrumental backing has become more minimalist than in their previous work, but “Let’s See” doesn’t feel empty as the trio’s vocals take center stage. While the track is closer in style to popular radio artists than their original influences, don’t assume that Stuart Little is “selling out” by any means. “Let’s See” is proof of their versatility as artists and their potential to continue growing. The rest is up to you, but one thing is certain: Stuart Little is quickly becoming one of State College’s most promising up-and-comers.
Summer break is officially upon us, and that means summer music. I’ve compiled a playlist of what I believe to be a fantastic combination of old, new, rock, hip-hop, electronic – all the necessities. Enjoy these 50 songs.
(As an avid Spotify user more songs may be added later, stay tuned.)
Are you an up-and-coming band in the State College music scene? Well if you are, you’re in luck. Happy Valley Music Label, Penn State’s first student run music label, is looking for bands/artists to represent for the upcoming year. HVML was founded in 2014 in order to give local bands and artists the chance to get exposure both on campus and in the local community. After a successful first year, the label is looking for new bands/artists to represent. HVML is comprised of four committees: booking, promotions, A&R and a business team. These committees, whose members are all students, work to book artists in local venues, gain publicity in the campus and local community as well as oversee and help artists record their original music.
HVML currently represents some of State College’s most popular local artists. Their roster includes Keegan Tawa, Lenina Crowne, Mute Cities, Port Vue and more.
If you are interested in being represented by HVML, please visit their website!