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MUSIC: The Dream featuring Gary Clark Jr.

Thursday, May 30, 2013

Earlier this week The Dream dropped his album IV Play. For all your Roman numeral illiterate peoples, I'll wait while you google... got it? Good.

A co-worker of mine went to a listening session a few weeks ago and told us that this album was not to be slept on (did I listen? No. I mean it's The Dream, I've got "eh" feelings about him). She did mention that it was part babymaker part stripperdance music. When I finally saw the featured artist list a week or two ago I almost cried "Why would Gary Clark Jr. do something like that to taint himself?!" but little did I know, this combo was going to sound like this:

Granted, it's not THE BEST lover's track in hip hop, but I am proud of the sound and the lyrics aren't bad. All in all, I'm not mad at this one bit (and I've officially added it to my Spotify star list). 

I have yet to listen to the rest of the album, but this as an introduction was mmm mmm good ;} 

MUSIC: B*tch Don't Kill My Vibe - The Sweetlife Edition

Tuesday, May 14, 2013

K Dot was a firecracker on stage and iPhone's shutter speed isn't exactly quick enough for all that energy, but I still had a chance to take some great photos at this year's SweetLife Music Festival.

Let me just start off by saying that I had a blast and I owe a big shoutout and thanks to my partner in crime - Latice (@lemonnotes) - who was a great concert companion and not only enjoyed every second of the shows with me, but also stayed up through the long car rides! :}

Since Kendrick dropped his video for "B*tch Don't Kill My Vibe" yesterday I wanted to put him in the spotlight and say that I respect Kendrick for being that other voice in the mainstream rap game that counters a lot of the foolishness that for fame's sake a lot of other rappers support in their music. I think the video was powerful and did exactly what was intended.

At the festival, he performed songs mostly from his good kid, m.a.a.d. city album.  At times he'd pause and restart a song when he felt the level of enthusiasm wasn't where it needed to be - he said something like "Hold up hold up hold up, this is like a level 6. I'm going to let you guys recharge (turns to DJ) play some smooth sh*t ... you guys thirsty? anybody thirsty? (hands out bottles of SmartWater)." His interaction with the crowd was refreshing to witness (and be a part of).

Festivals have this different kinda vibe to them - all kinds of fans are there and you watch your favorite artists interact in ways you might not at a show where it's solely their fans. All of the artists at the festival did a great job of connecting with the people there - I appreciate that. I wonder if they do some sort of screening when choosing festival artists - these festivals always seem to be on point!

Stand by for more photos of #SweetLife2013

MUSIC: SweetLife Food & Music Festival 2013

Friday, May 10, 2013

It's time to get this music concert and travel ball rolling!

Tomorrow I'm heading out with a few coworkers to cover this year's SweetLife Music & Food Festival at Maryland's Merriweather Post Pavilion! - Focusing on performances by Kendrick Lamar, Solange and (*cue fangirl scream*) Gary Clark Jr. /swoon!

There will be other amazing bands I haven't had the pleasure of seeing live yet (Phoenix, Passion Pit & the Yeah Yeah Yeahs), so I'm pretty stoked to get the chance to experience their sets as well.

To prep, I've been drowning myself in the music, including Gary Clark Jr's latest music video for "Numb" (dropping just in time!)


FASHION: H&M Features Size 12 Model In New Ads

Thursday, May 9, 2013

Jennie Runk - size 12 model for H&M

I'm not sure this deserves any kind of major applause or award (more like an "about damn time!") but it certainly shouldn't go unnoticed. I'm glad that H&M is finally planning to incorporate an averaged sized model into the advertising campaign of its Summer collection.

As a lady who tends to shop among the double digits it's exciting to see brands (besides Torrid, Lane Bryant & other plus size labels) actually acknowledging and embracing the beauty of their other consumers. What bothered me, however, were H&M's responses to comments about their decision.
However, brand reps seem to be downplaying Runk's body type by saying she was simply the best pick for the ads. "Our aim is not to convey a certain message or show an ideal," H&M spokeswoman Jennifer Ward tells, "but to find a model who can illustrate this collection in an inspiring and clear way." More photos below.
I'm not sure I understand what Jennifer Ward means, were they NOT able to find ANY OTHER average size model, before now, that could represent the brand or any of their previous collections the way they envisioned?

Sounds like they don't want to admit that before now they've been discriminating in the way they've represented themselves.

What do you think?

(source: Adweek)

MUSIC: The Lauryn Hill Focus.

Tuesday, May 7, 2013

Last Friday Lauryn Hill dropped a new track, which of course was refreshingly critical in spitfire fashion. But you wouldn't have much of a chance to direct your focus in that direction, what with all the tabloid-like focus on Hill's three month sentence for tax evasion. ( Can we please get back to the music? )

All over the interwebs, people (individuals or groups, take that as you will) are "celebrating" her return. It's certainly been interesting to see the "how."

Perez Hilton does nothing to actually review the song in his insultingly short article titled:
Lauryn Hill's Angry New Single Couldn't Save Her From Jail! Hear Neurotic Society HERE!
 And then goes on to add this tidbit:
"We're happy Lauryn is back blasting bad-ass new tunes, but it doesn't sound like any of those lyrics are coming from a place of love...It sounds she just recorded the track for some quick cash, hoping she'd be able to pay back Uncle Sam by crunch time and avoid jail!"
Since when is music expected to come solely from a "place of love"? Save the hippie bullsh*t for someone else Perez. ( Breathe, breathe, breathe.) I guess it's only disappointing if I actually expected something from him.

Luckily we've got articles like the one on MTV News that actually digests Lauryn's song and goes beyond the "copy-n-paste, add tabloid headline" angle.  In it James Montgomery writes:
"So, yes, Hill was coerced into releasing the song, either by her new label, her legal woes, or both. But as she's proven time and time again, if folks are going to force her hand, well, she's going to give them the finger...
 But if you think Hill's concerned with that, well, you haven't been paying attention. Like she said in her note, "Neurotic Society" was also released in memory of her former labelmate Chris Kelly who succumbed to the societal ills she's vivisecting on the track...
More importantly, the song's sonic and lyrical heft remind us that Hill is a positively vital artist, the kind of mercurial talent capable of disappearing for a decade, then re-emerging to serve notice that she's been watching us all along, and she doesn't like what she's seen. If she has to play the game, she's going to do it on her terms, by her rules. Don't try to fit her into a box, because she's just not going to fit."
Not that I've touched on that piece, let's get back to the music, "commercial-free"! 

MLH's New Joint. 

A recent favorite. Although it's an older track, its message remains relevant.
"Knowing my condition is the reason I must change. What you see is what you get and you've seen nothing yet."

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